Pro Mazda - Mata Forms M1 Racing, Signs Acosta For Full 2013 Campaign
CRESSON, Dec. 20, 2012: Paul Mata, who served as team manager for Team GDT in the Star Mazda Championship presented by Goodyear for six years, has formed a new, multi-car team called M1 Racing that has all the ingredients of a championship contender.
He has already signed Juan Camilo Acosta as one of M1 Racing’s drivers for 2013 in the series, which was recently renamed the Pro Mazda Championship Presented by Cooper Tires.Although M1 Racing is new it has the makings of a powerhouse team. It consists of many open-wheel veterans, including not only Mata but also noted engineers Eric Purcell and Remi Lanteigne, all of whom worked together on Team GDT this year. (Team GDT’s Star Mazda operation was disbanded at the end of the season and its owner, multi-time Expert Series champion J.W. Roberts, is pursuing other motorsports interests.)
M1 Racing purchased the bulk of the Star Mazda equipment previously owned by Team GDT and AIM Autosport.
M1 Racing has established its headquarters at MotorSport Ranch in Cresson, Texas, which is about a 15-minute drive from Fort Worth. Being able to test on that facility’s 1.7-mile and 3.1-mile road courses will give it a definite advantage in its pursuit of victories in the Pro Mazda Championship, which is part of the Mazda Road to Indy program.
Mata is excited about signing Acosta and hopes to sign at least one other driver to join the 22-year-old from Cali, Colombia, on his Pro Mazda team in 2013. Funded drivers can get more information by contacting Mata by e-mail at M1Racinginfo@gmail.com or by calling him at (214) 282-1646.
Acosta drove a Star Mazda car for the first time when he participated in the Chris Griffis Memorial Test on the road course at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Oct. 10-11 with Team GDT. He set the team’s fastest lap of that test and he was fourth and fifth overall in the two practice sessions held during his first day ever driving a Star Mazda car.
Acosta made his first start in the series at the season finale Oct. 19 at Road Atlanta, finishing 13th in a Team GDT entry. His sponsors for that event, Studio F and Ela, two young women’s clothing lines, will continue to sponsor him in Pro Mazda in 2013.
Acosta also competed in a doubleheader in the Panam GP series this year, winning the second half of that doubleheader Sept. 23 at Autódromo Tocancipá, Colombia.
Acosta said he chose M1 Racing because its personnel are making him a better driver.
“When I met them I was a complete rookie driver, and in about six days they taught me a lot about how to drive a race car,” Acosta said. “I think I’ll be able to improve my driving with their help. They are a good, complete crew with very experienced guys who are very competitive. We just completed 18 days of testing and we have 16 more days planned in the next couple of months. We’re testing a lot because we want to be very competitive next year. Everybody, myself included, is working hard and we all want to fight for the championship. I think we’re going to have fun!”
M1 Racing certainly has a strong engineering department.
Purcell was John Edwards’ engineer when he won the Star Mazda driver championship in 2008. Purcell can relate to his young charges, because he was a promising open-wheel driver himself until a crash during testing ended his driving career. Since then he has become a widely regarded engineer and race car designer, working with a wide variety of young racers like Peter Dempsey, Devin Cunningham, Natacha Gachnang, Jorge Goncalves, Kyle Marcelli and David Ostella.
Lanteigne has also been the engineer of many notable drivers in Star Mazda, Formula Atlantic, Firestone Indy Lights and other series, including Helio Castroneves, Patrick Carpentier, Katherine Legge, Tristan Vautier, Conor Daly and Alex Rossi.
Lanteigne is also helping Mata with the overall team management of M1 Racing. He has been instrumental in the formation of many teams, including Andersen Racing in Star Mazda, Euro International in Atlantics, Jensen Motorsports in Firestone Indy Lights and others.
M1 Racing will also be the only Pro Mazda team with a nutritionist on staff, as that role and the role of driver coach is filled by Chuck West, the 1992 Star Mazda driver champion, a top Atlantic competitor and the founder of World Speed Motorsports.
Restart Communications based in Indianapolis will handle the team’s public relations. Its principal has also worked with many rising stars in the past, including current IndyCar drivers Graham Rahal and J.R. Hildebrand, reigning Firestone Indy Lights champion Tristan Vautier, GP3 driver Conor Daly and Andy Lally, a sports car champion who was the 2011 NASCAR Sprint Cup Rookie of the Year.
In the coming weeks M1 Racing will debut a website at M1Racing.co. Its Facebook page is at M1 Racing — Pro Mazda and its Twitter account is M1 Racing Pro Mazda (@M1ProMazda).