Indianapolis, Ind. – Michele Bumgarner will compete in the Pro Mazda Championship presented Cooper Tires season with World Speed Motorsports for the 2014 season. This will be Bumgarner’s first full season on the second step of the Mazda Road to Indy ladder. She has six previous starts in Pro Mazda, five in 2008 and one in 2013 with a best finish of ninth in Reliant Park Houston Race last season, also run with World Speed. Her primary sponsor is Mazda Philippines.
Bumgarner stated, “I’m really very excited about the opportunity that Mazda Philippines has made possible for me. It has been five years since I have been back in full competition mode, although the Houston event last year was a great warm-up and I have had some testing in the off-season to prepare for a return to competition, but no doubt, I have a challenge in front of me. I believe this season for me is about getting back in the game, finding the new limits on this Pro Mazda car – as it’s different than the car I drove in ’08, and really preparing myself to move up the ladder as my skills allow me to and for sure, make it to IndyCar. I mean, this is my dream and I’m really fortunate to have a shot at it.”
A native born Filipina, Bumgarner was raised in Manila. Her American father, Lee introduced her brother Mark to karting during a time when girls just didn’t race. Michele, the older of the two simply wouldn’t take no for an answer. Her father finally gave in and put her on the track as well. She went on to change the history books, not only as the first female to win events but in many cases the first Filipino to race and win on the international stage. Know as the Queen of Karting in her country, Michele now has the opportunity to proudly carry the Philippine flag into the next level of her career.
“Michele has an impressive racing background,” noted World Speed Motorsports President Telo Stewart. “She has been very focused, and did extremely well in preliminary testing in the updated Pro Formula Mazda, and also at the PMC finale at Houston last season. Michele is a consummate professional on and off the track, and we are glad to add her to our team for the 2014 season. We are looking forward to helping her achieve her goals on the Mazda Road to Indy. Bumgarner will be driving the Mazda Philippine #16 car easily identified by Michele’s signature butterfly; her symbol of beauty, strength and laughter. Used in concert with Michele’s interest to empower young women, her MB butterfly will become a powerful symbol of not only Michele, but her spirit and her mission. Also supporting Michele is the City of Olongapo, Oakley and Mark Bumgarner Fashions driven by her brother, who is now a successful and highly popular fashion designer in the Philippines. Fans can follow Michele’s season via her blog on Top Gear.ph, on Facebook at Michele Bumgarner Racing, on Twitter and Instagram @MicheleBum.