F1: More than 60 trophies stolen from Red Bull Racing HQ

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Infiniti Red Bull Racing’s headquarters in Milton Keynes, England was burglarized overnight, with thieves stealing a total of more than 60 trophies won by the team over the years.

Thames Valley police were called to the factory around 1:30 a.m. local time after a group of around six men used a vehicle to smash through the front entrance. Once inside, the group ripped off the trophies while leaving the night staff physically unharmed.

According to a police statement, two cars were involved in the break-in: A silver 4×4 that was used to drive through the entrance and a “further dark colored, black or dark blue Mercedes estate car.” Both cars are believed to have foreign number plates.

Red Bull team principal Christian Horner said the team was “obviously devastated” over the loss of the trophies that took his squad “years and hard work to accumulate.”

“The break-in caused significant damage and was very upsetting for our night officers who were on duty at the time,” Horner continued in his statement. “The offenders took items that not only did not belong to them, but which represented the efforts of a group of dedicated, hard-working individuals.

“Beyond the aggressive nature of this break-in, we are perplexed why anyone would take these trophies. The value to the team is of course extraordinarily high due to the sheer hard work and effort that went into winning each and every one. But their intrinsic value is low; they would be of little benefit to those outside of the team and, in addition to that, many of the trophies on display were replicas.

“The actions of these men mean it’s likely that we will have to make our site less accessible in the future, which will be unfair on the hundreds of fans that travel to visit our factory each year to see our trophies and our Formula One car.

“We would like to appeal to anyone who knows any information on the whereabouts of these trophies or the offenders involved to contact Thames Valley Police.”

Those in the United Kingdom with information that may assist the investigation are urged to contact Milton Keynes Force CID on the Thames Valley Police non-emergency inquiry center number 101. For those calling from overseas, please dial 0044 1865 841148 to contact Thames Valley Police from outside of the UK.

If you don’t want to speak directly to police, you can contact independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously at 0800 555 111 or online at www.crimestoppers-uk.org. No personal details are taken, information is not traced or recorded and you will not go to court.

Hunter McElrea wins Mazda Road to Indy USF2000 Scholarship

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Hunter McElrea bested 18 competitors to win the third annual Road to Indy USF2000 $200,000 Scholarship Shootout on Sunday at Bondurant Racing School in Chandler, Ariz.

The two-day contest featured on-track competition in Formula Mazda cars as well as interview sessions and assessment from a panel of judges.

“I can’t believe it,” McElrea said at IndyCar.com. “This is definitely the most exciting opportunity that I have had in my racing career. I cannot thank Mazda and everyone enough for making this possible for me. The fact that I am going to be on the grid next year thanks to them is a dream come true.

“They have given me the opportunity to prove myself in such a high level that I never even thought I would be able to reach. I have to thank Andersen Promotions, Cooper tires, all of the judges, everyone from Mazda, the Bondurant Racing School and the other competitors, who literally pushed me to the limit.

“I am just so happy. It is still sinking in, but I just can’t wait to get next year started, and I’ll be representing Mazda in that nice Soul Red USF2000 car.”

MORE: Michael Carter wins Mazda Road to 24 shootout

The 19-year-old McElrea was born in California, but reared in Australia.

As a result of winning the award, McElrea will compete in the 2019 season of the Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship, the first rung of the Mazda Road to Indy development ladder.

McElrea won the Australian Formula Ford Championship this year on the strength of 13 victories in 21 races.

Early competition resulted in a final field of six drivers that included Jake Craig, Michael Eastwell, Braden Eves, Flinn Lazier and Ross Martin. They competed in a qualification session and 30-minute simulated race. McElrea won that race.

“Today was an incredible day,” said Tom Long, Mazda Motorsports factory driver and one of the judges. “There was so much talent here for the shootout. Hunter McElrea just rose to the top when it was time to shine, but our decision was very, very difficult.

“In the end, given all of the circumstances, we were able to make a pretty good decision and we are really, really proud of not only Hunter but our whole team here with Mazda to be able to grant this $200,000 scholarship for his opportunity in USF2000 next year.”