This year’s Mazda Road to Indy $200K Scholarship Shootout will take place at a new venue, with the 20 champions from across the glove coming together at the Bondurant Racing School near Phoenix, Ariz. on December 9 and 10.
The shootout will use the Bondurant’s main track, Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park, which is a 1.6-mile road course with 15 turns
“We chose Bondurant this year for a number of reasons,” said Kyle Kimball, Operations Manager for Mazda Motorsports. “Bondurant is an official partner of IMSA, a sanctioning body that Mazda is also very involved with. We like to do business with those who support auto racing, and Bondurant fits the bill, especially with their Formula Mazda cars.”
The MRTI ladder was developed as a way to progress drivers through the open-wheel ranks, eventually leading to the Verizon IndyCar Series. Drivers begin in Cooper Tires USF2000 Powered by Mazda, followed by Pro Mazda, Indy Lights and then IndyCar. Notably, the champion at each level receives a scholarship to put towards a ride at the next level.
The shootout was developed last year by Mazda to include champions from a select group of junior level open-wheel and karting series around the globe. There was an option for 20 entry tickets to be given out by series to their Champions, with the only other requirement being each competitor must be between the age 14 and 25 as of September 30. The winner of the shootout earns a $200,000 prize from Mazda to allow them to compete in USF2000 in 2018.
“The Mazda $200,000 Shootout represents exactly what the Mazda Road to Indy is all about, giving drivers an opportunity to compete and advance all the way up the ladder to IndyCar,” said Dan Andersen, Owner and CEO of Andersen Promotions. “Bringing champions from all over the world together in a shootout format will produce a driver who is sure to be a contender in 2018 and, with the training provided in our program, that driver will have a much better shot at a career at the pinnacle of the sport down the road. I love what Mazda, Cooper Tires and our other partners are doing to provide this opportunity and I can’t wait to see how it unfolds.”
Last year, Oliver Askew came away with the scholarship, and was able to turn it into a series championship this past season driving for Cape Motorsports.
“Oliver Askew is proof of what the Shootout can lead to for a young driver,” said John Doonan, Director of Mazda Motorsports in North America. “With very little experience in race cars, Oliver won the inaugural $200,000 scholarship and turned it into a USF2000 championship in 2017. He is the embodiment of what the Mazda driver development scholarships are all about: giving young drivers the opportunity to move up the racing ladder all the way to the Verizon IndyCar series. We can’t wait to see who the next Shootout winner will be.”
The following series’ champions will each be issued an entry ticket for the shootout, as long as they fit the age requirement.
- BRSCC Britcover/Avon Tires FF1600 Championship (England)
- Pacific F2000 Championship (USA)
- Formula Panam (Mexico)
- Beatson’s Scottish FF1600 Championship (Scotland)
- New Zealand Formula 1600 Championship (New Zealand)
- MMSC MRF F1600 Indian Championship (India)
- Formula Tour 1600 (Canada)
- Formula Ford Super Series (England)
- Australian Formula Ford Championship (Australia)
- Formula Car Challenge Presented by Goodyear (USA)
- F1600 Formula F Championship Series (USA)
- Team USA Scholarship (USA)
- Formula Ford Festival (England)
- Walter Hayes Trophy (England)
- Dawson WAM Northern Ireland Formula Ford 1600 Championship (Ireland)
- SCCA National Championship Runoffs (USA)
- Selectiva de Kart Petrobras (Brazil)
Four of the champions have already been crowned, with the following competitors already recieving their invites – Liam Lawson, 14, of Pukekohe, New Zealand representing the New Zealand Formula 1600 Championship; Niall Murray, 22, of Dublin, Ireland, representing the Dawson WAM Northern Ireland Formula Ford 1600 Championship; Olin Galli, 21, of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, representing Selectiva de kart Petrobras; and Ross Martin, 16, of Kilmaronock, Scotland, representing the Scottish Motor Racing Club Formula Ford 1600 Championship.
A full schedule and program of events will be announced in the near future.
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