– Open-Wheel Champions From Around the World Will Compete for $200,000 Scholarship –
IRVINE, Calif. (November 30, 2016) – Since 2007, Mazda Motorsports has provided nearly $15 million in driver development scholarships, ranging from the grassroots level of sports car racing to the top category of open-wheel racing in North America. Now, the first Mazda Road to Indy $200,000 Scholarship Shootout elevates the program on a global scale. The #MRTIShootout, which takes place December 6-7 at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca in Monterey, Calif., is a competition between 18 open-wheel and karting champions from nine countries on five continents to determine which racer will receive the $200,000 Mazda Motorsports scholarship into the 2017 Cooper Tires USF2000 Series powered by Mazda.
“We are so proud to provide this opportunity to drivers from all over the world and continue Mazda’s long tradition of helping make dreams come true for championship-winning drivers on their way up the racing ladder,” said John Doonan, director of motorsports, Mazda North American Operations (MNAO). “The Mazda Road to Indy provides the only defined scholarship path anywhere in the world for young drivers to progress from grassroots racing all the way to the Indianapolis 500 and the Verizon IndyCar Series. We have some of the finest young racers in the world in the competition, so the winner will really have to earn the scholarship.”
The event was developed with Andersen Promotions, which owns and operates the Mazda Road to Indy program that features the USF2000, Pro Mazda and Indy Lights categories. Twenty racing series in junior-formula and karting earned the right to send their championship-winning driver (if between the ages of 14 to 25 years old) to the Shootout. (Several eligible drivers are unable to attend due to previous commitments.) In addition to racing series from the US, Mexico and Canada, drivers from England, Scotland, India, Brazil, New Zealand and Australia will attend.
An all-star list of judges (to be announced Thursday) will chose a winner by assessing the on- and off-track attributes of each driver. The drivers will have two days of on-track action at Mazda Raceway in equally prepared formula cars provided by the Lucas Oil School of Racing with tires from series partner, Cooper Tires. The winning driver earns an opportunity to compete in the USF2000 series with the new Tatuus USF-17 chassis, which makes its racing debut at the Grand Prix of St. Petersburg (Fla.) in March, 2017.
Mazda Motorsports boasts the most comprehensive auto racing development ladder system of any auto manufacturer in the world. The Mazda Road to 24 (#MRT24) 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 (#MRTI) 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 MazdaMotorsports on Instagram and Facebook.