Andersen Promotions revealed a rendering of the Tatuus USF-17 chassis at the INDYCAR stage at the Performance Racing Industry trade show in Indianapolis.
The race car will serve as the foundation for a rejuvenation of the first two steps on the Mazda Road to Indy – the Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda and the Pro Mazda Championship Presented by Cooper Tires – beginning in 2017.
The prototype car will be unveiled in May at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, and a rigorous testing program commences in June. A new Dallara chassis was introduced for the 2015 Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires season.
Tatuus, headquartered in Concorezzo, Italy, has been producing open-wheel junior formula cars since 1980. Its FIA-approved composite chassis form the basis for the Formula Renault 2.0 and Formula 4 categories.
The Tatuus USF-17 will replace the tube-frame Van Diemen/Elan chassis, which has been the backbone of USF2000 since its introduction in 1999. It will be mated to the Mazda MZ-R engine. Features include a six-speed paddle-shift gearbox, a revised damper package, custom aluminum American Racing wheels, Cosworth data system, LCD steering wheel and ECU, a revised PFC brake package, and IndyCar-specific quick jack and roll hoop attachments.
The cost of the USF-17 chassis – not including engine, wheels and dampers – is $51,400. As an additional cost-benefit to teams and drivers moving up the Mazda Road to Indy, the same chassis will be used as the basis of the new Pro Mazda car, which will race for the first time in 2018.
“Although the current USF2000 car has performed well for so many years, it’s time to turn the page and provide our teams and drivers with something even better,” said Dan Andersen, owner and CEO of Andersen Promotions. “The Tatuus USF-17 will offer exceptional value and performance, and we are delighted to partner with this great car company to launch the next generation of USF2000 race cars. This car is unmatched in quality, safety and performance for its cost, and we expect it to be well-received by our teams and drivers.
“With the next generation Pro Mazda race car following this design, the value is further enhanced for teams and drivers. It’s an exciting time for the Mazda Road to Indy.”
Added John Doonan, director of Mazda Motorsports in North America: “We talk a lot about the Mazda Road to Indy being the premier open-wheel ladder system in the world, and the USF-17 chassis will only add to the many benefits for teams and drivers,” said Doonan. “We commend the long-term approach from Dan Andersen and his team as they unveil a race car that will be affordable, fast and safe for ovals and road courses. We can’t wait to see it and hear it in action with Mazda power.”