Team USA Scholarship's Aaron Jeansonne blog: Steady prep

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Team USA Scholarship's Aaron Jeansonne blog: Steady prep

Team USA Scholarship

Team USA Scholarship's Aaron Jeansonne blog: Steady prep


Recently relocated from Louisiana to Indianapolis, Aaron Jeansonne looks forward to his first season in the Mazda MX-5 Cup presented by BFGoodrich Tires with Provision Motorsports as a Mazda MX-5 Cup Shootout scholarship winner.

Hi all. I haven’t had much time to relax and experience Indy yet, but that’s okay; I am still enjoying it. I make sure to FaceTime my family back in Louisiana every time it snows heavily because that doesn’t happen down there. But even with the cold, I am loving it up here so far.

On November 17, Mazda held its annual shootout to award a scholarship, now valued at $110,000, to compete in the professional ranks. Mazda also offered two additional scholarships, each valued at $75,000. One would be granted to the runner-up of the event, and the other to the highest performing female entrant as part of Mazda’s initiative to support women in motorsport.

After a very competitive series of on- and off-track events, I was fortunate enough to be declared the overall winner of the top prize, receiving the great honor of racing professionally in 2021 carrying Mazda’s Soul Red colors in the MX-5 Cup presented by BFGoodrich Tires. I know the other two winners (Chris Nunes and Savanna Little) will be coming prepared take their best shot at the Rookie of the Year title, so I will need to give it my very best!

With a short off-season on my hands, and receiving offers from several respected teams, I had an extremely difficult decision to choose a team quite quickly. With limited time for testing, I had to narrow my options down to test with only a couple strong options. As soon as December rolled around, I flew out to California and was very impressed with the testing I experienced with Provision Motorsports. I’ve worked with crew chief Brad Little before with the Possien-Hall racing team last season, and our chemistry has always been good. Brooks Leal, team owner and former series competitor, did a brilliant job making sure the fine details were correct and making me feel like part of the team.

Former Mazda Scholarship winner Drake Kemper is the other driver in Provision’s lineup. With his knowledge and high-level experience, I was able to learn a lot during our tests and gained lots of confidence driving these cars at the limit – not to mention the car was blazing fast and we were able to develop the setup to my liking through feedback and adjustments.

When decision time came, my faith in this team was too high go anywhere else.

Even though I’ve only been here in Indy for two months, the central U.S. location is already making it much easier to make racing part of my daily life. Other than choosing a team, I’ve worked hard to make the most of every minute in preparation for my season efforts. I’ve started a training routine at PitFit, taking advantage of their personalized driver training to enhance my physical and cognitive abilities. I’ve also been consistent with my simulator training and I’m feeling confident in beginning the season sharp and ready to go.

I couldn’t be more excited to have a full season ahead with lots of track time throughout the year. In this sport, activity is very important for performance. Consistent activity will help greatly since I have only been to three of the seven tracks on the schedule.

With the Mazda MX-5 Cup sanctioned by IMSA this season, it is carrying lots of positive momentum. The competition is shaping up to be very high and the series races will be broadcast live on and TrackPass on NBC Sports Gold, in addition to recap shows which will air on NBCSN. I’m confident our lovely Soul Red car (painted by Bobby Ybarra and detailed by Finest Detailing out of Bakersfield, Calif.) will look amazing for the cameras. Matthias Czabok at Movement Arts Concept also provided an awesome design for the car that will represent the Provision team alongside my teammate Drake.

The MX-5 Cup payouts will combine over half a million dollars with $250,000 going to the champion and the Rookie of the Year winning $80,000, which makes this series an excellent opportunity to step up the sports car racing ladder.

Next on the agenda for us is more pre-season testing with the team before our first two races at Daytona, January 28-29. Racing with IMSA on the same weekend as the Rolex 24 is something special and I won’t be taking it for granted.

None of this would be possible without the support of Mazda Motorsports and other series partners BFGoodrich Tires, Pagid Racing and Idemitsu. Thank you all, and have a great start to 2021!

Aaron Jeansonne