Irish star Damien Faulkner has landed a seat in the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship. The TRG refugee has a multiyear deal in place with the new GB Autosport team, which will run a Porsche 911 GT America in the series’ GT Daytona class.
“I’m delighted to have joined GB Autosport for the 2014 TUDOR United SportsCar Championship,” Faulkner said in a release. “It’s great to sign a two-year deal that ties me to this series. This is where I want to be. I believe GB Autosport is serious about their aspirations and being the fastest Porsche will be right up there on the ‘to-do-list’. It will be interesting competing with a number of manufacturers during the course of the season and we’re hoping, with the team we have, to compete up there with the best.”
Faulkner will drive alongside Dutchman Patrick Huisman and Bob Faieta, both of whom are Porsche veterans; Huisman is a four-time Porsche Supercup champion. Faulkner won twice in 2013 in the American Le Mans Series’ GTC class, the one-make for now-obsolete Porsche GT3 Cup cars, co-driving with Ben Keating at TRG.
The GB Autosport team, run by Faieta and team manager Cole Scrogham, is new in name but has decades’ worth of experience. The team also switches its number from 20, which was its number on the initial TUDOR Championship entry reveal, to 81, which Scrogham has run with other Porsche teams in the past. Faieta has been confirmed for “selected races” beyond Daytona, but the identity of Faulkner’s full-season co-driver is yet to be determined.
Dublin, Ireland’s Keith Donegan claimed a $200K scholarship from Mazda after emerging victorious at the second annual Mazda Road to Indy Shootout. The 20-year-old Donegan earned an at-large nomination for the scholarship based on his performance at this year’s Formula Ford Festival, in which he finished second in the final, and emerged from a pack of 17 drivers from across the globe to claim the scholarship.
“It really hasn’t hit me yet,” said an emotional Donegan, who earlier in his career actually spent two years away from racing as he focused on academics. “The weekend was really good and I enjoyed it. I have to say a huge thanks to Mazda and Cooper Tires and everyone at the Mazda Road to Indy. I enjoyed every moment. Throughout the weekend we were consistent and I kept the small things in check. I didn’t make any stupid mistakes and kept my head cool and that really paid off in the end.”
The two-day shootout was held at the Bondurant Racing School in Arizona and saw the nominated drivers tackle the school’s 1.6-mile circuit in Formula Mazda race cars before facing on and off-track assessments. Donegan was selected by a panel of judges that included former driver and current Verizon IndyCar Series TV analyst Scott Goodyear, Mazda drivers Tom Long, Andrew Carbonell, and Jonathan Bomarito, as well as Victor Franzoni – the current champion of the Pro Mazda Championship Presented by Cooper Tires – and Oliver Askew, the current champion of the Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda.
Donegan was humbled to be in the presence of drivers who have won scholarships and championships previously, and added that he is grateful to have the opportunity to continue his racing career.
“You see all these champions here today that will go on to great things in the future and I’m sure the names you see here today aren’t going to disappear,” Donegan added. “They will be back up there and I’m sure I will be racing them again some day. It is an unbelievable opportunity to be given and for Mazda to provide that for any young driver. It just gives that bit of motivation that you need because the [U.S.] is where you need to go to become a professional these days. It is such a boost to my career.”
Donegan is now slated to join the 2018 USF2000 championship, with further announcements regarding the team with whom he’ll be racing to come in the future.