The Skip Barber Racing School will conduct two 3-day ?Shootouts? at Sebring International Raceway this week. Drivers from around the world will compete for a sponsored ride in the Skip Barber Formula race series”viewed, generally, as one of the best ways to launch a professional racing career.
The first, known as the Karting Shootout, is an important development step for those who have histories of racing karts. This is generally where they”at least, some of them”will transition into racing cars. The other is the IndyCar Academy Shootout, where prior experience is not permitted. Despite the ?no experience allowed? restriction, this is indeed the first step of the Road To Indy ladder program, sponsored by Skip Barber Racing, Mazda and IndyCar. The idea is that the winner of the IndyCar Academy Shootout”including persons with no prior racing experience”may, one day, race in IndyCar.
The Karting Shootout will go from Nov. 4-6, and the IndyCar Academy Shootout will go from Nov. 6-8.
Some of the 33 drivers who will participate in the IndyCar Shootout began arriving yesterday, and indeed many of them were seen out on the track observing the second day of competition with the Karting Shootout. The age spread of the drivers for the IndyCar Shootout is 15 to 47. The youngest competitor, Harry Steenbakkers, hales from Ottawa, Canada, while the oldest competitor, Eric Sidebotham, has traveled here from Morgan Hill, California. When asked about the age issue, Sidebotham’s response was direct, ?I absolutely believe I am going to be competitive out there, and my goal in coming here is to win this [Shootout.]?
The participants will be evaluated in four 30 minute sessions on track. The driver with the lowest average lap time during a session will earn 35 points, and the driver with the fastest overall lap time will also earn 35 points. Thus, there are a total of 70 points possible per session, or 280 points for the entire competition. The instructors can award up to 20 points based on how well the driver’s respond to input, and whether the drivers show improvement over the four sessions, bringing the total possible score to 300.
Drivers for the IndyCar Shootout will get an introduction to the track this afternoon, and the competition will commence tomorrow at 9:00 a.m.