The Mazda Club Racer Shootout is the single largest prize in club racing. Since 2007 Mazda has annually promoted one talented club racer to the professional ranks. The $75,000 prize funds a drive in the 2014 Mazda MX-5 Cup. Eighteen racers were semi-finalists, having met the eligibility criteria for 2013, each having won a recognized championship over a minimum number of competitors. Now, after each made a formal written business proposal, the field has been narrowed to five.
The 2013 Mazda Club Racer shootout finalists are:
Racer; Club/Series; Hometown
Joey Bickers; NASA Teen Challenge (California); Moorpark, CA
TJ Fischer; Worldspeed Formula Car Championship; Vacaville, CA
Zachary Munro; NASA Teen Challenge (Colorado); Granby, CO
Cal Vandaalen; Spec Miata Championship (Canada); Wellington, NS Canada
Michael Whelden; Worldspeed Formula Car Championship; Sausalito, CA
The written proposals were reviewed by a team of marketing executives from diverse business backgrounds. Scott Shelton, a former shootout winner, who works as an executive at ABC Television summed up the proposals: “In my third year of reviewing proposals, this group was by far the best I have seen. I went back and looked at my own two personal shootout submissions and can’t believe how far the proposal process has come…especially in the social media realm. The depth, quality and professionalism of the decks have skyrocketed!”
John Doonan, Director of Motorsports, Mazda North American Operations noted, “The heart and soul of Mazda Motorsports is club racing, and supporting those racers who have invested in racing a Mazda. The criteria for the shootout is to identify the aspiring professional racer who has the best range of skills required to succeed. These skills include speed, consistency, racecraft, technical feedback, and off-track business and PR skills. History has shown that a driver will be limited in success if they are lacking in multiple areas. Past shootout winners have performed well both on and off the track using this prize as a springboard for their career.”
The final shootout will be a one-day event at Buttonwillow Raceway Park on November 11, where the racers will be tested on the track for their technical skills. It is a winner-take-all event with one racer moving up to the Mazda MX-5 Cup for 2014.