A new logo and support add to the already successful program for young racers
The Teen Mazda Challenge has been in transition for the past year after the passing of founder Ron Cortez. But a core group of enthusiasts for the series have been working hard to not only keep it going, but to make it better than ever. Designed to be a driver development program and the first rung on the ladder to professional sports car racing, the series has more contingencies, more support and even a new logo.
Drivers as young as 13 who wish to take their karting careers to the next level can sign up for the Teen Mazda Challenge and capitalize on the benefits and contingency prizes it offers, which include the Ron Cortez Memorial Awards to help get TMC participants to the NASA Championships, this year held at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, and an invite to the Mazda Road to 24 Shootout.
“Teen Mazda Challenge isn’t necessarily a replacement for karting, but it is a great way to build upon the skills these young drivers learn in a kart,” says NASA Vice President Jeremy Croiset. “This is a one-of-a-kind program that can help drivers from age 13 to 20 line up with competitors from across the country to show they have what it takes to climb the motorsports ladder. That said, if drivers want to continue karting and also race in Teen Mazda Challenge, they can do that, too. The prize packages are the same for all TMC drivers.”
Three Teen Mazda Challenge drivers – Hannah Grisham, Loni Unser and Matthew Dirks – made it to the finals of the 2018 Mazda Road to 24 Shootout, following many others who have come from the program to find success in sports car racing. The job the series has done to transition young drivers from karts to cars is one of many reasons why numerous people and companies, including Mazda Motorsports, have stepped up to support the program to ensure it prospers.
“We are proud to partner with NASA, Toyo and Hawk in Teen Mazda Challenge to provide a unique opportunity to young drivers interested in trying their hands at sports car racing,” says David Cook, business development manager for Mazda Motorsports. “Running with Spec Miata, this high-visibility series provides a proving ground of tough competition that can help propel drivers in becoming professional race car drivers. Sports car racing offers some of the best odds for becoming a career pro driver, and Teen Mazda Challenge is certainly one of the best places to start or continue that journey.”
In addition to the Ron Cortez Memorial Award, which grants up to $1,000 to help Teen Mazda Challenge competitors get to the NASA Championships, and the MRT24 scholarship potential, Hawk Brakes, Motion Control Suspension, Spec Clutches and Flywheels, Frozen Rotors, Toyo Tires and Raybestos are offering support to Teen Mazda Challenge competitors. For example, Hawk will offer contingency to the top five Teen Mazda Challenge competitors at the NASA Championships, and Toyo will offer $2,500 to the top-finishing Teen Mazda Challenge competitor at the NASA Championships, in addition to up to $1,000 for a regional championship. See https://tmc.drivenasa.com for more information.