M1 Racing: Horak Set to Defend His Pro Mazda Expert Class Title
 March 24, 2014| 
  • Team News

DALLAS, TEXAS — M1 Racing's Jay Horak has a brand-new AutoEnginuity car for the 2014 edition of the Pro Mazda Championship Presented by Cooper Tires, and he hopes it will take him to a second consecutive Expert class championship. The Expert class is for drivers over the age of 30.

Horak, of Mesa, Ariz., plans to compete in all of the road and street course events on the series' schedule, including the season-opening doubleheader at the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg in St. Petersburg, Fla. March 29-30.

Although he has never competed in that particular event, Horak said, "I feel very confident I can win the Expert class, and hopefully move up the pack. Getting the new car and having it fitted has made a huge difference in my comfort level. That has translated into much faster lap times. The last Barber race, I could start pushing into the pack time."

He was referring to a pre-season event at Barber Motorsports Park in Leeds, Ala. Feb. 25-26, the Cooper Tires Winterfest.

Horak also participated in two-day tests at both Firebird International Raceway in Chandler, Ariz. and Eagles' Canyon Raceway in Slidell, Texas during the off-season to get acclimated to his new car.  

"The car I'm driving is a 2014 Star race car," he added.  "The new cars' build quality and fit are so much better than anything in the past. It's going to be helpful to my push this season."

Paul Mata, M1 Racing's owner, concurred that Horak has stepped up his game.

"He worked with our team manager, Remi Lanteigne, at the Winterfest at Barber and it was like all of a sudden a switch went off in his head and he was able to immediately improve his lap times," Mata noted.  "It was exciting to see."

Horak and the other Pro Mazda drivers, which include two others for M1 Racing — Jason Bedasse and Nicolas Costa — will only have two 30-minute practice sessions at St. Petersburg this coming Friday before qualifying at 11:45 a.m. on Saturday. The first race follows at 5:35 p.m. Saturday. The second half of the doubleheader is scheduled to begin at 10:30 a.m. on Sunday, prior to the Verizon IndyCar Series season opener.

The track consists of 1.8 miles of St. Petersburg's streets and includes 14 turns. Both Pro Mazda races will be 40 minutes long.

Live timing and scoring of the practice sessions, qualifying and the races are planned for the series' Web site at ProMazdaChampionship.com.

Highlights of the St. Petersburg races are scheduled to air on the NBC Sports Network from 1:30 a.m. to 2:30 a.m. ET May 24 and on Motors TV in Europe at 6:54 p.m. GMT June 3.

M1 Racing has driver openings for other Pro Mazda events this year too. For more information, contact Mata at (214) 282-1646 or e-mail him at M1RacingInfo@gmail.com. Other info is available on M1Racing.co, the team's Facebook page and its Twitter feed.

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