Company Invests Millions of Dollars to Accelerate Young Drivers’ Racing Careers

March 13, 2014 (SEBRING, Fla.) When Mazda created the MAZDASPEED Motorsports Development Ladder in 2007, the company set out to help drivers manage one of the most difficult hurdles in racing moving up to the series above. Since 2007, Mazda has directly invested millions into the careers of more than three-dozen racers. Each driver earned a scholarship by winning a Mazda-powered championship or shootout. No other company has invested more in developing young careers across multiple U.S. racing series than Mazda.

Being a grassroots car company, we love all forms of the sport, but our heart and soul is in club racing and helping racers make the jump up to the highest levels of the sport,” noted John Doonan, director of Motorsports for Mazda North American Operations. Our latest class is another outstanding crop of young racers, and each of them are capable of winning in 2014. Over the years we have evolved our program to react to outside influences and to better serve our customers. Our recently announced Mazda SportsCar Racing Academy will ensure we remain the leader in grassroots racing.

For 2014, the seven racers who earned scholarships from Mazda Motorsports are:


Joey Bickers

Age 20, Moorpark, California Joey won the 2013 NASA Spec Miata Teen Challenge West Championship to earn his way into the Mazda Club Racer Shootout. From there, Joey beat 17 other Mazda club racing champions to earn a ride in the 2014 Mazda MX-5 Cup Presented by BFGoodrich® Tires, a feat all the more amazing when you consider he has only been racing for two years. He has signed with CJ Wilson Racing for the 2014 season. Joeys season will begin in Sebring on March 12-14.


Matthew Brabham

– Age 20, Boca Raton, Florida – Matthew broke 20 years of series records in the 2013 Pro Mazda Championship Presented by Cooper Tires, scoring 13 wins on his way to the title. Matthew will race in the 2014 Cooper Tires Indy Lights with Andretti Autosport. Matthew is a third-generation racer, son of IMSA Champion Geoff Brabham, grandson of three-time World Champion Jack Brabham. Matthews season will begin at St. Pete on March 28-30.


Luke Gabin

Age 18, Perth, Australia – Luke won the 2013 Skip Barber/Mazda Karting Shootout to earn a season of formula car racing with the Skip Barber Racing School. Luke notes that he started karting at the mature age of 13. In addition to his racing, Luke is an Information Technology student in Australia. Lukes season began at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca last month.


Scott Hargrove

Age 18, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada – Scott won the 2013 Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda to earn a ride in the 2014 Pro Mazda Championship Presented by Cooper Tires. Scott has chosen Cape Motorsports for 2014, the same team that took him to the 2013 USF2000 championship. Scotts season will begin at St. Pete on March 28-30.


Kenton Koch

Age 19, Glendora, California – Kenton won the 2013 Skip Barber MAZDASPEED Challenge to earn his ride in the 2014 Mazda MX-5 Cup Presented by BFGoodrich® Tires. Kenton has signed with ALARA Racing for the 2014 season. When not at the track, Kenton is a freshman mechanical engineering student at California State University, Fullerton where he is a member of its Formula SAE team. Kentons season will begin in Sebring on March 12-14.


Christian Szymczak

Age 40, Torrance, California – Christian won the 2013 SCCA Pro Racing Playboy Mazda MX-5 Cup having scored four wins and ten pole positions with his ALARA Racing MX-5. Christians scholarship will begin in 2015.


Aaron Telitz

Age 22, Birchwood, Wisconsin – Aaron won the 2013 Skip Barber Racing School Champions Shootout to earn a ride in the 2014 Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda. Aaron has signed to race with Wisconsin-based Arms Up Motorsports. Aarons season will begin at St. Pete on March 28-30.

About Mazda, Mazda Motorsports, and MAZDASPEED

Mazda is the number-one brand for road-racers across North America among both club racers and professionals. Thousands of Mazda powered grassroots racers compete in various classes with the SCCA and NASA highlighted by Spec Miata, the worlds largest spec class with over 3,000 cars built. The pinnacle of Mazda Motorsports is the SKYACTIV-Technology Prototype competing in the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship.

Mazda supports young up and coming racers with the Mazda SportsCar Racing Academy and the Mazda Road to Indy. Key to Mazdas success is strategic partnerships with the Skip Barber Racing School and Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca.

Mazda Motorsports is managed by Mazda North American Operations (MNAO). MNAO is headquartered in Irvine, Calif., and oversees the sales, marketing, parts and customer service support of Mazda vehicles in the United States and Mexico through nearly 700 dealers.Operations in Mexico are managed byMazdaMotor de Mexico in MexicoCity.

Consumer information can be found at

www.mazdausa.com, with press information at www.mazdausamedia.com. Racers and fans can follow the action on Facebook (Mazda Motorsport), Twitter (@mazdaracing), and www.mazdamotorsports.com