PALMETTO, Fla. (February 6, 2018) – The Mazda Road to Indy USF2000 $200K Scholarship Shootout will continue for a third successive year in 2018, extending its reach to now include 11 countries where 20 champions of junior open-wheel and karting series from around the world will join together 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.
Well over 400 drivers will be chasing an entry ticket for a chance to vie for a $200,000 prize from Mazda to ensure entry into the 2019 Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda. USF2000 represents the first step on the unique and highly acclaimed Mazda Road to Indy Presented by Cooper Tires open-wheel development ladder, which offers the opportunity for drivers to progress all the way from the grassroots of the sport to the Verizon IndyCar Series and the Indianapolis 500.
The dates and location of the Scholarship Shootout will be confirmed later this year. The winner will secure an opportunity to follow in the footsteps of Ireland’s Keith Donegan, who will contest this year’s USF2000 season after claiming the Scholarship title last December, and Florida’s Oliver Askew, who won the shootout in 2016, went on to win last year’s USF2000 championship and, in 2018, will compete on the middle rung of the Mazda Road to Indy ladder, the Pro Mazda Championship Presented by Cooper Tires.
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.
“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,” said Toyo Tires F1600 series coordinator Brian Graham.” What the Mazda Road to Indy has created with the scholarships is widely recognized as the best opportunity in open-wheel racing. The 2018 Toyo Tires F1600 Championship grid is building for the upcoming season and now there is even more to be excited about.”
Five series in the U.S. and Mexico will be on the radar for at-large entry tickets to the Shootout, issued at the discretion of Mazda. eKartingNews.com – the authority on the karting industry – will continue to select one up-and-coming karter as the recipient of a 2018 Shootout entry ticket.
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)
Official Feeder Series for At-Large Entries:
F1600 Formula F Championship Series (USA)
F2000 Championship Series (USA)
Formula Car Challenge Presented by Goodyear (USA)
Formula Panam (Mexico)
Pacific F2000 Championship (USA)
“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,” said Kyle Kimball, manager of operations for Mazda Motorsports. “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 unparalled in motorsports,” added Dan Andersen, Owner and CEO of Andersen Promotions. “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.”
About the Mazda Road to Indy $200K Scholarship Shootout: Launched in 2016, the MRTI $200K Scholarship Shootout (#MRTIShootout) is an unprecedented event which brings together talent from select junior level open-wheel and karting series from around the world with the best-of-the-best vying for a slot on the first step of the Mazda Road to Indy Presented by Cooper Tires driver development ladder, the Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda. The Mazda Road to Indy offers scholarships for talented young drivers to progress all the way from the grassroots of the sport to the Verizon IndyCar Series and the Indianapolis 500.
About Mazda, 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 Global 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 MazdaMotorsports on Instagram and Facebook.
About Cooper Tire & Rubber Company: Cooper Tire & Rubber Company is the parent company of a global family of companies that specializes in the design, manufacture, marketing and sale of innovative, great-performing tires that you can count on to last for thousands of miles, getting you where you need to go, and back again. Cooper is proud to be the spec tire for all three levels of the Mazda Road to Indy presented by Cooper Tires, a development program within the Verizon IndyCar Series. Cooper tires can also be seen on the track as a sponsor in the short course off-road TORC Series. Headquartered in Findlay, Ohio, Cooper, with its subsidiaries, has manufacturing, sales, distribution, technical and design operations in more than one dozen countries around the world. To connect with Cooper, visit www.coopertire.com, www.facebook.com/coopertire or www.twitter.com/teamcoopertire.