In his own words: Who is Colin Mullan and how did he come to be selected as one of the this year’s Team USA Scholarship winners:
I’m extremely excited to begin my journey with the Team USA Scholarship. My passion for racing started 11 years ago, when I was just 5 years old, and today, at 16, I never thought I would be about to board a plane to the UK in order to race in the prestigious Formula Ford Festival and compete for the coveted Walter Hayes Trophy.
No one in my family has a history of motorsports, but a NASCAR race on TV caught my eye one Sunday morning and I was hooked. My dad heard about a local quarter-midget track where I could start racing at age 5 and ever since then I’ve had a passion for racing. I raced quarter-midgets for three years before moving into half-scale stock cars called minicups (pictured below).
I began racing karts in Sonoma, Calif., a few years later. I would run the occasional national race when it came to town but I never focused on racing a true national series. I won two local championships as well as the series’ Rising Star Award.
At age 14, I completed a Three-Day Skip Barber Formula School at what is now WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca, which was my first taste of a proper race car. A couple months later, we bought a Spec Miata which I practiced in and got coaching from MX-5 Cup front-runner Mark Drennan. Later that year, I was approached by World Speed Motorsports about a season with their FormulaSPEED program in the Formula Car Challenge.
My season with World Speed was a great learning year in a proper race car. I greatly improved on my driving and became more acclimated with data systems. In August 2017, I competed in a one-off F4 U.S. race with Jay Howard’s MDD team. This was my first true national race experience, and I was able to secure a top-five finish and the JRi Shocks Hard Charger Award for passing the most cars throughout the weekend.
Coming into the 2018 season, running a national open-wheel series just wasn’t a viable option for me at the time, but I was given the opportunity to race with the factory MINI JCW Team in the IMSA Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge. Due to IMSA regulations, and me being just 15 at the start of the season, I had to wait until I turned 16 for my first race. Since making my debut at Mid-Ohio in May, I’ve qualified on the front row in every race aside from my first, and my co-driver Mark Pombo and I were able to secure one win and four podiums throughout my seven races with the team. I became the youngest race winner in the IMSA CTSC as well, securing a win at Watkins Glen (below), one of the four-hour races in our season.
As one of the IMSA commentators, Jeremy Shaw took notice of me and has been watching my success in sports cars this year, referring to me as the “youngster” during the IMSA broadcasts. I was ecstatic to be one of the Team USA Scholarship nominees and get the chance to participate in the interview process at Mid-Ohio during the IndyCar race weekend.
Heading into the shootout, I was the only driver who didn’t have any experience in an F1600 car or a non-winged open-wheel car in general. Jeremy suggested that I run an FRP F1600 race at Summit Point in order to get some racing experience in the car and in a competitive field. It was an incredible weekend, and I was able to secure two wins from the three races.
The shootout which followed proved to be a very difficult test of our adaptability with changing conditions. Every session was different, and the Lucas Oil School of Racing cars were perfect to see what each of us could do in the rain, dry and everything in between.
A few weeks later I got the call to go to the UK! It’s such an honor to be selected for a program that so many talented drivers have gone through. I can’t thank Jeremy Shaw and everyone involved enough for making this program possible. Racing has been a huge part of my life for such a long time, and I’m so incredibly grateful to everyone who has supported me thus far. I can’t wait to hop overseas and get on track for the first time!