MX-5 Cup Shootout Finalists Announced

2021 marks the 16th year of the Mazda MX-5 Cup Shootout, which will take place October 20–21 at Sebring International Raceway in Sebring, FL. 12 racers will vie for three scholarships worth a combined $260,000 to go towards competing in the 2022 Idemitsu Mazda MX-5 Cup presented by BFGoodrich® Tires championship.

To add to the top scholarship valued at $110,000, two additional scholarships were added last year and continued this year – each valued at $75,000. Of the three winners, at least one will be a female to continue its support of its women’s initiative to help grow the sport and diversity.

“Winning a Mazda Motorsports 2021 scholarship to race in MX-5 Cup helped me in ways I never expected,” commented Chris Nunes, 2020 MX-5 Cup Shootout winner.  “Not only did it assist me in reaching my professional racing goals much sooner than I ever expected, it also has given me contacts that will be beneficial to further my career within the industry.  The Mazda scholarship has also opened my eyes on how to be a successful business person, and to communicate effectively with others.  I really owe everything that has happened to me over the past year and beyond to Mazda Motorsports.”

This year’s 12 finalists were chosen from a group of 31 nominees, most top performers from SCCA Club Racing, the NASA Teen Mazda Challenge or the Spec MX-5 Challenge Series. Nominees submitted videos focused on their off-track efforts to help earn their spot in the Shootout.

Series partner Flis Performance will be on site with three MX-5 Cup cars plus engineers and data analysts. Flis will also manage the ballasting process for the cars to ensure the kind of parity that the series is known for, with hundreds of passes happening every race as well as razor-thin margins of victory.

Presenting sponsor BFGoodrich® Tires will also be on hand, providing support for the on-track activity as well as one set of tires per driver.

The MX-5 Cup Shootout Scholarship winners will be announced at the close of the competition on Thursday, October 21. Follow MX-5 Cup on Twitter (@MazdaMX5Cup), Facebook (Mazda MX-5 Cup), and Instagram (@GlobalMX5Cup) for the latest updates.

The finalists:

Aidan Fassnacht – Spec MX-5 Challenge
Alex Berg – Spec MX-5 Challenge & Spec Miata / Teen Mazda Challenge
Bryce Cornet – Spec MX-5 Challenge
Bryson Morris – Spec MX-5 Challenge / Teen Mazda Challenge
Clayton Ketcher – Spec Miata, Teen Mazda Challenge
Connor Zilisch – Spec MX-5 Challenge & Spec Miata
Grant West – Spec MX-5 Challenge
Jillian Fichter – Spec Miata
Laura Hayes – WRL
Michael Borden – Spec MX-5 Challenge
Michele Abbate – SCCA, WRL & Trans Am
Wyatt Couch – Spec MX-5 Challenge / Teen Mazda Challenge

*Due to significant professional experience, Michele Abbate is not eligible for the $110,000-valued scholarship intended to help a club racer advanced to pro racing, but is eligible for the Women in Motorsports scholarship. Note: Laura Hayes and Jillian Fichter are eligible for any of the three scholarships.