Cool news from the Mazda Road to Indy announced today here at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course. See the full release below:
The Mazda Road to Indy has attracted drivers from around the globe since its launch in 2010. For this weekend’s seven rounds of competition at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, 13 countries are represented across the three development series’ grids in Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires, the Pro Mazda Championship Presented by Cooper Tires and the Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda.
Now the quest for a Mazda scholarship to enter the USF2000 ranks will have more global appeal following today’s announcement that the Mazda Road to Indy USF2000 $200K Scholarship Shootout will include the champions of select junior level open-wheel and karting series in 2016 from around the world.
The Shootout will be an unprecedented event, bringing the champions of North American and international series together for the first time in a knockout-style format. Each participating series will be able to offer its 2016 champion an “entry ticket” to the Shootout, which will be a hotly contested event in the fall of next year. The winner will be awarded a $200K scholarship from Mazda to enter USF2000 in 2017.
A total of 15 drivers will be invited to take part in the Shootout program. Each participating series will be designated as an Official Feeder Series of the Mazda Road to Indy. Series currently confirmed include:
• BRSCC F1600 (England) sanctioned by BRSCC
• Formula Car Challenge Presented by Goodyear (USA) sanctioned by NASA
• Pacific F2000 (USA) sanctioned by SCCA/NASA
• Australian Formula Ford (Australia) sanctioned by Formula Ford Association Inc.
• F2000 Championship Series (USA) sanctioned by SCCA Pro Racing
• F1600 Formula F Championship Series (USA) sanctioned by SCCA Pro Racing
• ROTAX MAX Challenge (USA) sanctioned by MAXSpeed Group
• Skip Barber Race Series Champion (USA) sanctioned by Skip Barber
• Team USA Scholarship (USA)
• SCCA Runoffs – F1600 and FC (USA) sanctioned by SCCA
“Mazda prides itself on providing the most comprehensive scholarship and ladder system for drivers in open wheel and sports cars,” said John Doonan, Director of Mazda Motorsports in North America. “Now, with the Scholarship Shootout, we can expand the Mazda Road to Indy entry-level opportunity to young champions from around the world. From an aggressive grassroots program to a well-defined ladder system to the top levels of racing in North America, Mazda strives to help develop superstars of the future.”
Current drivers who have moved up the ladder with scholarship programs from Mazda include Luke Gabin, who entered USF2000 with a $200K scholarship in 2015 after winning the Skip Barber Championship Shootout; Florian Latorre, the reigning USF2000 champion who graduated to Pro Mazda; 2014 Pro Mazda champion Spencer Pigot, who has four wins and four poles to date this season in Indy Lights, the most by any driver; and Gabby Chaves, who drives for Bryan Herta Autosport in the Verizon IndyCar Series after capturing last year’s Indy Lights crown.
“The response from the various series about this new program has been incredible and we are thrilled to have them as partners as we help the rising stars of the sport take the next step in their career in USF2000 on the Mazda Road to Indy path,” said Dan Andersen, Owner and CEO of Andersen Promotions. “I have to thank our terrific partner Mazda for thinking outside the box and opening up this opportunity to so many more drivers. It will be exciting to bring together all of the series champions and watch them compete.”
Full details on all the series involved in the Shootout and competition details will be distributed in the coming months. A current and regularly updated list of all participating series can be found on the usf2000.com website under the “About” section.
The battle for supremacy on the Mazda Road to Indy – the only driver development program of its type in the world offering a clear, scholarship-funded path to the Verizon IndyCar Series and Indianapolis 500 – is poised to come down to doubleheader title fights at the scenic and challenging Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca for its season finale on September 11-13. All three series will be in action with over $2.3 million in season-ending prizes and awards on the line.