For more than 20 years, USF2000 has earned its reputation as the entry-level pro series of choice for career-minded open-wheel drivers. The story started in 1990 when Doug Powell launched the West Coast-based USAC F2000 series. Two years later in 1992, Dan Andersen (alongside partner Mike Foschi) started an Eastern version of the series, and the SCCA simultaneously introduced its own version, called the American Continental Championship. All three series utilized the same F2000 technical regulations.
During the 1994 season, the Eastern USAC F2000 series absorbed both the Western and SCCA series, and a unified series now called the USF2000 Championship debuted in 1995 under the management of Andersen’s organization. The championship blossomed, enjoying strong fields of 40-60 cars per event, and many of its alumni climbed the ladder to the top seats in open-wheel and sports car racing.
USF2000 continued to gain in strength and recognition in the ensuing seasons, and in 2001, management was turned over to Jon Baytos, who continued its operation until the conclusion of the 2006 season. For three years no events were run under the USF2000 banner, but in late 2009, with encouragement from INDYCAR, Dan Andersen resurrected the USF2000 Championship, and it operates now, in 2014, in its 22nd season of competition as the Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda, the first official step on the Mazda Road to Indy ladder system.
Throughout its existence, USF2000 has included events on three types of venues popular in North America – natural road courses, street (or temporary) circuits and ovals. To provide proper training for drivers advancing on the Mazda Road to Indy ladder to IndyCar Series careers, the three track genres are essential, and the USF2000 method includes now, as it always did, top driver coaching at all events to maximize the opportunities for drivers to be properly prepared.
The current USF2000 series benefits from significant partnerships with Mazda of North America, Cooper Tires, Van Diemen/Élan with support from Carl Haas Auto, and INDYCAR, as well as many additional associations. Its equipment package is proven with the Mazda-powered cars providing excellent reliability, and Cooper Tires providing the ultimate blend of grip and durability. The Van Diemen chassis, provided by Élan and Carl Haas, is still the state of the art in F2000 competition. With sanctioning from INDYCAR, USF2000 offers a tremendous package.
Competitors enjoy a terrific schedule of high profile events, culminating in a Mazda scholarship and prize package to ensure the champion’s graduation to the next level, the Pro Mazda Championship Presented by Cooper Tires. Highlight show television coverage on the NBC Sports Network and MOTORS TV in Europe combined with a thorough training program provided by both the series staff and the Mazda Road to Indy, make it the clear choice for aspiring drivers. The series maintains a cost-effective platform with appropriate restrictions on teams to curb any excessive spending, and the resulting competition is fantastic.
The Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda is where tomorrow’s stars race today.