Kiwi NZ F1600 Champion Liam Lawson will head to the US in December as the highly anticipated Mazda Road to Indy $200K Scholarship Shootout will bring 20 champions from around the globe to the Valley of the Sun as the Bondurant Racing School near Phoenix, Ariz., on December 9/10. The winner will receive a $200,000 prize from Mazda to assist in graduation to the 2018 Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda – the first step on the most effective driver development program in the world, the Mazda Road to Indy Presented by Cooper Tires.
A full list of scholarship Shootout contestants will be announced prior to the event. Four series have already crowned champions that will be part of the Shootout – Liam Lawson, 15, of Pukekohe, New Zealand representing the New Zealand Formula 1600 Championship; Niall Murray, 22, of Dublin, Ireland, representing the Dawson WAM Northern Ireland Formula Ford 1600 Championship; Olin Galli, 21, of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, representing Selectiva de kart Petrobras; and Ross Martin, 16, of Kilmaronock, Scotland, representing the Scottish Motor Racing Club Formula Ford 1600 Championship.
In 2017, nearly 400 drivers from 20 open-wheel racing championships on five continents will have competed for an entry ticket to the Shootout. Last year’s Shootout winner Oliver Askew, 20, of Jupiter, Fla., earned his entry via the Team USA Scholarship program. He parlayed his MRTI USF2000 $200K Scholarship into a second Mazda Scholarship by winning this year’s USF2000 title. He will now move another step up the ladder to the Pro Mazda Championship Presented by Cooper Tires next year.
“Oliver Askew is proof of what the Shootout can lead to for a young driver,” said John Doonan, Director of Mazda Motorsports in North America. “With very little experience in race cars, Oliver won the inaugural $200,000 scholarship and turned it into a USF2000 championship in 2017. He is the embodiment of what the Mazda driver development scholarships are all about: giving young drivers the opportunity to move up the racing ladder all the way to the Verizon IndyCar series. We can’t wait to see who the next Shootout winner will be.”
Drivers will showcase their skills on the 15-turn, 1.6-mile Bondurant main track at Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park – formerly known as Firebird International Raceway – for an intense two days of competition. The Bondurant Racing School features Formula Mazda cars powered by Mazda rotary engines on Cooper tires. Competitors will also be evaluated off-track by an illustrious judging panel to be announced in the coming weeks.
The Bondurant Racing School was launched by renowned, multi-faceted and race winning driver Bob Bondurant in 1968 at Orange County International Raceway near Los Angeles. His first “students” were actors Paul Newman and Robert Wagner who were preparing for their role in the movie “Winning.” Since 1990, the school has been at its current location in Chandler, outside of Phoenix. It maintains over 200 race-prepared vehicles, sedans, SUVs and open-wheel cars and is the largest dedicated facility of its kind in North America.
“The Mazda $200,000 Shootout represents exactly what the Mazda Road to Indy is all about, giving drivers an opportunity to compete and advance all the way up the ladder to IndyCar,” said Dan Andersen, Owner and CEO of Andersen Promotions. “Bringing champions from all over the world together in a shootout format will produce a driver who is sure to be a contender in 2018 and, with the training provided in our program, that driver will have a much better shot at a career at the pinnacle of the sport down the road. I love what Mazda, Cooper Tires and our other partners are doing to provide this opportunity and I can’t wait to see how it unfolds.”
Shootout entry tickets will be issued to champions of the following series, with an eligibility requirement that drivers be between the ages of 14 and 25 on September 30, 2017.
BRSCC Britcover/Avon Tires FF1600 Championship (England)
Pacific F2000 Championship (USA)
Formula Panam (Mexico)
Beatson’s Scottish FF1600 Championship (Scotland)
New Zealand Formula 1600 Championship (New Zealand)
MMSC MRF F1600 Indian Championship (India)
Formula Tour 1600 (Canada)
Formula Ford Super Series (England)
Australian Formula Ford Championship (Australia)
Formula Car Challenge Presented by Goodyear (USA)
F1600 Formula F Championship Series (USA)
Team USA Scholarship (USA)
Formula Ford Festival (England)
Walter Hayes Trophy (England)
Dawson WAM Northern Ireland Formula Ford 1600 Championship (Ireland)
SCCA National Championship Runoffs (USA)
Selectiva de Kart Petrobras (Brazil)
Two or three additional at-large entries will be offered at the discretion of Mazda.
“We chose Bondurant this year for a number of reasons,” said Kyle Kimball, Operations Manager for Mazda Motorsports. “Bondurant is an official partner of IMSA, a sanctioning body that Mazda is also very involved with. We like to do business with those who support auto racing, and Bondurant fits the bill, especially with their Formula Mazda cars.”
A full schedule and program of events will be announced in the near future.