Andre Castro and Max Esterson have been chosen to represent the Team USA Scholarship for 2021. Coincidentally, both hail from New York, N.Y. They will campaign a pair of patriotically-liveried Ray GR18 cars prepared by Low Dempsey Racing in the 50th Formula Ford Festival at Brands Hatch, England, on October 30/31 and the following weekend’s Walter Hayes Trophy Formula Ford event at Silverstone.
The Team USA Scholarship has been providing opportunities for talented young American drivers continuously since 1990.
“I feel truly honored to be representing my country through the Team USA Scholarship program,” said Castro (above, left), 22, who has raced only sporadically during the past few years but has acquitted himself well this season in select Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship and F1600 Championship Series events. “This initiative has kick-started countless successful racing careers throughout the past 30 years, and Jeremy Shaw continues to provide opportunities to young drivers like myself to show what we can do in an extremely competitive international setting.
“I can’t wait to travel to England and begin working with Max, Andy Low and Low Dempsey Racing. Max has already been a huge help in sharing knowledge from his experience in these cars and I’m happy to continue learning from him as I get acclimated. I’m looking forward to simply enjoying this journey and soaking everything in as it comes, and am very grateful to the Team USA judges and sponsors for making this dream come true.”
“Winning the Team USA Scholarship really is a dream come true,” added Esterson, 18, who has been competing successfully in this year’s Avon Tyres BRSCC Formula Ford National Championship. “It’s such an honor to be part of the same program that led many American stars into successful careers. Beyond the financial support the scholarship provides, it gives a driver like myself recognition I otherwise probably wouldn’t receive. The scholarship can be a springboard for my career and open many doors, but it’s now up to me to make the most of the opportunity. Thank you to Jeremy Shaw and all of Team USA’s supporters for everything. My full focus now is to bring home some hardware from England and to be in a winning position for 2022.”
Castro and Esterson were selected from a group of six finalists following a two-day shootout on a supremely challenging 19-turn, 2.1-mile road course layout at the new Polecat Training Center in Lynchburg, Tenn. The judging panel comprised an accomplished group of industry professionals including former Team USA Scholarship winners Josef Newgarden, Andy Lally and Aaron Jeansonne; PTC principals Paul Arnold and Keith Watts; Schaeffer Oil National Sales Manager Steve Rober and Sales Representative Tara Syester; RaceCraft1 Motorsports Training proprietor Kelly Jones; PitFit Training’s Jim Leo; Honda/Acura Public Relations representative Dan Layton; author and RACER Marketing and Media editor Steve Nickless; and Team USA Scholarship founder and auto racing writer/broadcaster Jeremy Shaw.
The other finalists were Jason Alder, 18, from Cooksville, Md., Nicholas d’Orlando, 18, from Hartsdale, N.Y., Ayrton Houk, 18, from McCordsville, Ind., and Bryson Morris, 17, from Mt. Juliet, Tenn.
“I am extremely grateful to our panel of judges for expending so much effort in assisting the next generation of drivers and their diligence in making some difficult decisions,” said Shaw. “Also to all of our supporters who make this program possible. I am proud to welcome the Polecat Driving Academy, Indianapolis-based digital media marketing and video production agency CoForce and Schaeffer Oil to our roster this year alongside AERO Sustainable Paint Technology, Doug Mockett & Company, Cooper Tire, the Road Racing Drivers Club and its educational SAFEisFAST.com tutorials, Chip Ganassi Racing, The Stellrecht Company and many others from within the industry.
“Looking at the quality of drivers we witnessed at the shootout, the future of racing in this country is bright.”