– Mazda Taps Motorsports Experts to Help Select $100,000 Scholarship Winner –
IRVINE, Calif. (November 10, 2016) – Mazda has confirmed the judges for the 11th annual Mazda Road to 24 Shootout. This post-season shootout will award a $100,000 Mazda Motorsports scholarship to compete in the 2017 Idemitsu Mazda MX-5 Cup presented by BFGoodrich® Tires. The 2016 Shootout will take place November 15-16, 2016 at the NOLA Motorsports Park, in Avondale, Louisiana.
The judges are as follows:
• Peter Calhoun – Motorsport Marketing Manager, BFGoodrich® Tires. Among his duties, Calhoun oversees the longtime Mazda/BFG partnership.
• Andrew Carbonell – Mazda Motorsports’ factory driver competing in the Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge. Carbonell was also one of the lead test drivers in the development of the new MX-5 Cup race car.
• Robby Foley – A 2015 Mazda Road to 24 Scholarship winner, Foley scored two wins in the 2016 MX-5 Cup.
• Scott Goodyear – The retired IndyCar race winner and current ESPN/ABC TV IndyCar and Indy 500 on-air analyst also competed as a factory sports car racer for Porsche (Le Mans 24 Hours), Jaguar (Rolex 24 at Daytona) and Audi.
• Spencer Pigot – The 2015 Indy Lights powered by Mazda champion competed in his first Indy 500 in 2016. Spencer has earned multiple Mazda Road to Indy scholarships, and also joins the factory driver line-up in the Mazda Prototype in the long distance endurance races.
• Marcus Shen – The engineering director for the Mazda factory IMSA Prototype program. Shen is a Formula SAE alum from the University of Florida.
John Doonan, director of motorsports, Mazda North American Operations, said, “With the goal of selecting the best overall racer to earn our $100,000 scholarship, we needed to bring together a diverse group of judges. What better place to start in building the judging panels than from within. Factory drivers, multi-time Champions, former scholarship winners, a Prototype program engineer and a five-time IndyCar race winner. They will certainly have a challenging task deciding from among these eight talented finalists.”
Scott Goodyear remarked, “I am thrilled to participate as a judge for the Mazda Road to 24 Shootout. I spent many years driving in the junior open-wheel and sports car Championships before I reached both the IndyCar Series and factory sports car drives at Le Mans, Daytona and more. I understand first-hand what these young drivers are going through, and I’m excited to share my knowledge and experience with the stars of tomorrow as they continue to grow their careers. My son, Michael, is working towards a racing career so I understand how difficult it is in today’s market to become a race driver. I applaud Mazda for their continued and unparalleled support of the MRT24 program and their guidance to young drivers, both on and off the track.”
The criteria for the shootout have been created to identify the aspiring professional racer who has the most complete set of skills required to succeed in motorsport. These skills include speed, consistency, race craft, technical understanding, and off-track business and public relations skills.
The 2016 finalists are:
1) Michael Carter, Savannah, Georgia – At-Large Nominee – SCCA Spec Miata
2) Matt Cresci, Los Gatos, California – At-Large Nominee – NASA Spec Miata
3) Julian Garfield, Mount Airy, Maryland – At-Large Nominee – SCCA SOLO
4) Justin Hille, Ypsilanti, Michigan – SCCA Runoffs Spec Miata Champion
5) Tyler Kicera, Mount Gretna, Pennsylvania – NASA East Spec Miata Champion
6) Daniel Langon, Alamo, California – Teen Mazda Challenge Western Region Champion
7) Matthew Machiko, Wexford, Pennsylvania – SCCA Runoffs Formula Mazda Champion
8) Pablo Lopez Padin, A Coruña, Spain – iRacing Mazda MX-5 Combine Cup Champion
About Mazda Motorsports
Mazda Motorsports boasts the most comprehensive auto racing development ladder system of any auto manufacturer in the world. The Mazda Road to 24 program offers a number of scholarships to advance drivers up the sports car racing ladder, beginning with the MX-5 Cup series and culminating with the Mazda Prototype team. The Mazda Road to Indy is a similar program that includes Mazda-powered categories of USF2000, Pro Mazda and Indy Lights. In grassroots road racing, more Mazdas race on any given weekend in North America than any other manufacturer. Mazda is also the title sponsor of the renowned Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca in Monterey, Calif. Follow all of the latest news at MazdaMotorsports.com, @MazdaRacing on Twitter, and Mazda Motorsports on Instagram and Facebook.
# # #