Mazda Road to Indy have announced the details of their third annual shootout.
This year the Mazda Road to Indy USF2000 $200K Scholarship Shootout will be held at Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park, the primary race track of the Bondurant Racing School. The Arizona-based racing school is set to host the USF2000 shootout on December 8th-9th.
This year, 20 young drivers (aged between 14 and 25) from at least 11 countries around the world will take on the challenge aboard Formula Mazda cars powered by Mazda rotary engines on Cooper tires. The prize they are all aiming for is a US$200,000 scholarship from Mazda to compete in the Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship in 2019. The drivers competing will be judged on their abilities behind the wheel, along with their off-track presence and application of coaching feedback.
New Zealand F1600 champion Callum Hedge is currently the youngest entrant to the shootout. The New Zealander participated in two rounds of the 2018 Australian Formula Ford Championship (at Queensland Raceway and Wakefield Park) aboard a Spectrum. Hedge is expected to make a full-time return to Australian Formula Ford in 2019, if not successful in this year's USF2000 Shootout.
Scot Elkins will return as Shootout Director, joined by Andrew Carbonell, Tom Long, Victor Franzoni, Jan Heylen and Oliver Askew as judges for the two-day event. Askew won the inaugural Mazda Road to Indy Shootout in 2016 and went then on to win the 2017 USF2000 championship.
“The Bondurant Racing School provides an excellent platform for the Shootout and was a great host last year,” said John Doonan, Director at Mazda Motorsports.
“We look forward to welcoming our international line-up of champions there in December. We have an outstanding panel of judges on board who, based on the standings in all of the feeder series I have been following, are set for some extremely tough decisions again this year. It will be an exciting two days and we look forward to crowning a new scholarship winner.”
“I am excited to attend the Shootout and witness first-hand the talent of 20 champions on track,” said Dan Andersen, Owner and CEO of Andersen Promotions.
“Obviously, all of these drivers bring championship-winning credentials to the table and it will be rewarding to honor the best of the best with a scholarship to USF2000 next year.”
The shootout will start on Friday with a welcome reception and dinner. Three practice sessions are scheduled for Saturday, with performance feedback from the judges at the conclusion of each outing. Sunday will start with a final practice session for all of the drivers in the morning, to then continue with two qualifying rounds for the finalists, followed by a race - remembering that the on-track action will be only one of the criteria that the judges will use as a comparison.
The Australian Formula Ford Championship is one of the official feeder series for the 2018 USF2000 Shootout, awarding an entry ticket to the 2018 Australian Formula Ford Champion.
In 2016, Australia was represented in the shootout by Will Brown. In 2017, it was Max Vidau who flew the Australian flag. This year's representative for Australia is yet to be decided, with Hunter McElrea currently leading the championship as we head into the last round at Sydney Motorsport Park.
A full list of participating drivers will be announced prior to the shootout.
The full list of 2018 Official Feeder Series includes:
Australian Formula Ford Championship (Australia)
BRSCC Britcover/Avon Tires FF1600 Championship (England)
Dawson WAM Northern Ireland Formula Ford 1600 Championship (Ireland)
eKartingNews.com (North America)*
Formula Ford Festival (England)
Formula Ford Super Series (England)
Formula Tour 1600 (Canada)
MMSC MRF F1600 Championship (India)
NACAM Formula 4 Championship (Mexico)
New Zealand Formula 1600 Championship (New Zealand)
SCCA National Championship Runoffs (USA)
SMRC Scottish Formula Ford 1600 Championship (Scotland)
Selectiva de Kart Petrobras (Brazil)
South African Investchem Formula 1600 Championship (South Africa)
Team USA Scholarship (USA)
Toyo Tires F1600 Championship (Canada)
Walter Hayes Trophy (England)
*to nominate a driver from the karting ranks
Official Feeder Series for At-Large Entries:
F1600 Formula F Championship Series (USA)
F2000 Championship Series (USA)
Formula Car Challenge Presented by Goodyear (USA)
Formula Panam (Mexico)
Pacific F2000 Championship (USA)
About Mazda, Mazda Motorsports: Mazda Motorsports boasts the most comprehensive auto racing development ladder system of any auto manufacturer in the world. The Mazda Road to 24 program offers a number of scholarships to advance drivers up the sports car racing ladder, beginning with the Global MX-5 Cup series and culminating with the Mazda Prototype team. The Mazda Road to Indy is a similar program that includes Mazda-powered categories of USF2000, Pro Mazda and Indy Lights. In grassroots road racing, more Mazdas race on any given weekend in North America than any other manufacturer. Follow all of the latest news at MazdaMotorsports.com, @MazdaRacing on Twitter, and MazdaMotorsports on Instagram and Facebook.
About Cooper Tire & Rubber Company: Cooper Tire & Rubber Company is the parent company of a global family of companies that specializes in the design, manufacture, marketing and sale of innovative, great-performing tires that you can count on to last for thousands of miles, getting you where you need to go, and back again. Cooper is proud to be the spec tire for all three levels of the Mazda Road to Indy presented by Cooper Tires, a development program within the Verizon IndyCar Series. Cooper tires can also be seen on the track as a sponsor of the Americas Rallycross and short course off-road racing. Headquartered in Findlay, Ohio, Cooper, with its subsidiaries, has manufacturing, sales, distribution, technical and design operations in more than one dozen countries around the world. To connect with Cooper, visit www.coopertire.com, www.facebook.com/coopertire or www.twitter.com/teamcoopertire.