Michele Bumgarner will run the final Pro Mazda Championship race of the season – the Allied Building Products Grand Prix of Houston in support of the IZOD IndyCar Series’ Shell/Pennzoil Grand Prix of Houston – with World Speed. Bumgarner, known throughout her home in the Philippines as the popular Asian Karting Queen, has blazed a trail in the karting world winning championships, breaking barriers, and representing her country internationally.
Now sponsored by Mazda Philippines, she is looking forward to using this race as a warm up for the 2014 season, where she plans to join the Mazda Road to Indy for a full season of competition in the Pro Mazda Championship Presented by Cooper Tires.
Bumgarner stated, “I am really excited that all of this has come together. I am looking forward to getting back in the seat and getting some laps in the car. To be able to have a race this season in preparation for next year is a real gift and I want to thank Mazda Philippines for that opportunity.” Bumgarner ran a limited season in 2008.
“Michele has an impressive racing background,” noted World Speed Motorsports President Telo Stewart. “She has been very focused, and doing extremely well in preliminary testing in the updated Pro Formula Mazda, which is quite different from the car she raced in 2008. Michele is a consummate professional on and off the track, and we are glad to add her to our team. We are looking forward to helping her reach her goals on the Mazda Road to Indy.”
Bumgarner has plenty of firsts in her career, not only on the podium – but as an ambassador of her sport, her gender and her country. Bumgarner was the First Female Winner in the History of the Race Event – Rock Island Gran Prix, Tag Senior Class (2008). She was the First Female Winner in the Asian Formula 3 Series and the Youngest Female Participant (2006). She won a heat race in the fiercely competitive Suzuka Asia Pacific Championships, setting the Fastest Lap twice in the event in route to becoming the first Philippines driver to win at an outside International Kart race (2005) at the young age of only 16. A multiple winner of her home country’s Golden Wheel Award, she was named as a Goodwill Ambassador of the Philippines’ Department of Tourism for Wellness and Sports in 2006.
“It’s always an honor when you get to carry the flag and represent your home country,” stated Bumgarner. “I’ve dreamed about this for a long time and I very much appreciate the support of everyone back home in the Philippines that believes in me. It’s the Mazda Road to Indy, which means it’s a journey and I can’t wait to get going!”