Mazda Road to Indy expands its $200K Scholarship reach
The third Mazda Road to Indy USF2000 $200K Scholarship Shootout will extend its reach to include 11 countries, from which 20 champions of junior open-wheel and karting will compete in the December event.
Drivers between the ages of 14 and 25 by September 30 of this year will be eligible to earn an invitation to the competition via a network of Official Feeder Series in both North and South America as well as Europe, Asia, Australasia and, for the first time, the continent of Africa.
This expansion means over 400 drivers will be chasing an entry ticket for the $200,000 prize from Mazda to ensure entry into the 2019 Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda.
A total of 18 champions will earn an automatic entry to the shootout from the various Official Feeder Series, which in 2018 for the first time will include the NACAM Formula 4 Championship in Mexico, the South African Investchem Formula 1600 Championship and the Toyo Tires F1600 Championship in Canada.
Oliver Askew, the 2016 winner, went on to win the USF2000 title last year, earning graduation to Pro Mazda this season, and 2017 Shootout winner Keith Donegan gets a similar chance on the first step of the Mazda Road To Indy this year.
Kyle Kimball, manager of operations for Mazda Motorsports, declared: “The level of interest in the Scholarship Shootout from around the world is incredible, and we are excited to welcome three new championships to the program. “Last year we again witnessed an extraordinary amount of talent at the Shootout. We will be following all of the series throughout the year and look forward to welcoming their champions at season’s end.”
“Mazda’s way of thinking outside the box has produced a program that truly is unparalleled in motorsports,” added Dan Andersen, owner and CEO of Andersen Promotions which runs USF2000, Pro Mazda and Indy Lights. “To have 20 champions on the grid for the Shootout from series representing 11 countries shows that while we may be separated by many miles, we all have the same goal – to help young drivers climb their way to the top of the sport.”
Toyo Tires F1600 series coordinator Brian Graham said: “We are delighted to join the many championships from around the world as an official feeder series to the Mazda Road to Indy Shootout program. What the Mazda Road to Indy has created with the scholarships is widely recognized as the best opportunity in open-wheel racing.”
The full list of 2018 Official Feeder Series includes: Australian Formula Ford Championship (Australia), BRSCC Britcover/Avon Tires FF1600 Championship (England), Dawson WAM Northern Ireland Formula Ford 1600 Championship (Ireland), eKartingNews.com (North America), Formula Ford Festival (England), Formula Ford Super Series (England), Formula Tour 1600 (Canada), MMSC MRF F1600 Championship (India), NACAM Formula 4 Championship (Mexico), New Zealand Formula 1600 Championship (New Zealand), SCCA National Championship Runoffs (USA), SMRC Scottish Formula Ford 1600 Championship (Scotland), Selectiva de Kart Petrobras (Brazil), South African Investchem Formula 1600 Championship (South Africa), Team USA Scholarship (USA), Toyo Tires F1600 Championship (Canada), Walter Hayes Trophy (England).
In addition, five series in the U.S. and Mexico will be eligible for at-large entry tickets to the Shootout, issued at the discretion of Mazda, and eKartingNews.com will continue to select one up-and-coming kart racer as the recipient of a 2018 Shootout entry ticket.
At-large entries will come from a pool comprising F1600 Formula F Championship Series (USA), F2000 Championship Series (USA), Formula Car Challenge Presented by Goodyear (USA), Formula Panam (Mexico), Pacific F2000 Championship (USA).
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