The Mazda Road to Indy USF2000 $200K Scholarship Shootout is expanding to a sixth continent in 2018, with 20 champions of junior open-wheel and karting series from 11 countries taking part in the December event.
Now in its third year, more than 400 drivers will chase an entry ticket for a chance to vie for a $200,000 prize from Mazda for entry into the 2019 Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda, the first step on the unique and highly acclaimed Mazda Road to Indy Presented by Cooper Tires open-wheel development ladder. Drivers between the ages of 14 and 25 by September 30 will be eligible to earn an invitation to the competition via a network of official feeder series in North and South America, Europe, Asia, Australasia and, for the first time, Africa.
Eighteen champions will earn an automatic entry to the shootout from the various feeder series, which 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 will continue to select one up-and-coming karter as the recipient of a 2018 Shootout entry ticket.
“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.”
The dates and location of the Scholarship Shootout will be confirmed later this year. The winner will 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.
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)
“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.”