Shootout Finalists Announced

Field Narrowed to Eight Racers competing for the biggest prize in club racing, the $75,000 scholarship to compete in the Idemitsu Mazda MX-5 Cup Presented by BFGoodrich.

The eight finalists for the Mazda Club Racer Shootout, which awards the biggest prize in club racing, have been named.  Since 2007 Mazda has annually promoted one talented club racer to the professional ranks through a $75,000 prize to help fund his or her quest to the 2015 Idemitsu Mazda MX-5 Cup Presented by BFGoodrich® Tires.

A record 22 racers were semi-finalists, having met the eligibility criteria for 2014: each won a recognized championship over a minimum number of competitors. New this year is the inclusion of iRacing MX-5 Cup champs, giving virtual racers the opportunity to go straight to the professional ranks. Now, after each made a formal written business proposal, evaluated and ranked by industry professionals, the field has been narrowed to eight.

The 2014 Mazda Club Racer shootout finalists are:

Racer Club/Series Hometown/Residence
Sam Adams Skip Barber Racing School (Summer Series) Hubertus, Wisconsin
Ben Anderson NASA Eastern States Championships (PTE) Minneapolis, Minnesota
Steven Diem iRacing MX-5 Cup (Season 3) Kailua, Hawaii
Joey Jordan NASA Spec Miata Teen Challenge (West) Santa Barbara, California
Kyle Loustaunau NASA Western States Championships (Spec Miata) Vacaville, California
Evan Maillard iRacing MX-5 Cup (Season 2) Nesles La Vallée, France
Zachary Munro NASA Spec Miata Teen Challenge (Rocky Mountain) Granby, Colorado
Eric Powell NASA Western States Championships (PTD) Orlando, Florida

“Each year this shootout evolves.  For 2014 we have our first simulator-racing champions, from the iRacing MX-5 Cup, and our first racers from outside of North America,” notes John Doonan, Director of Motorsports, Mazda North American Operations.  “The criteria for the shootout is to identify the aspiring professional racer who has the best range of skills required to succeed, including 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 any of these 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 at California’s Buttonwillow Raceway Park on Dec. 1 and 2. The first day will test the finalists’ communication skills, marketing plans, and other essential attributes and skill sets required to continue to climb the racing ladder. The second day will consist of significant track time, data analysis, and a few surprises to help the judges gage the finalists’ skills behind the wheel. It is a winner-take-all event with only one racer moving up the Mazda ladder in 2015.

“The diversity of backgrounds and racing experience across the competitors is truly remarkable, says Peter Calhoun, motorsports marketing manager for BFGoodrich® Tires. “The proposals reflect that diversity and highlight how social media and modern technologies are embraced by Mazda Motorsports participants at all ages and around the world. Each year the quality of competition on and off track continues to improve.  The finals at Buttonwillow should be fantastic.”