2017 MAZDA ROAD TO INDY SCHOLARSHIP SHOOTOUT DATES CONFIRMED
The dates and location of this year’s edition of the Mazda Road To Indy $200,000 Scholarship Shootout have been revealed, with the Bondurant Racing School near Phoenix, Arizona playing host to the coveted contest on December 9/10 2017.
Following the success of last year’s inaugural Shootout, the Mazda Road To Indy Scholarship provides the opportunity for one successful driver to stake their claim on the road to the infamous IndyCar Series, with a cheque for US$200,000 made available for said driver to use towards a full season in the 2018 Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship.
The Mazda Road To Indy awaits for one lucky driver – but who will emulate 2016 Scholarship winner Oliver Askew (above)? – Photo: MRTI
Last year’s winner Oliver Askew, who also made a stellar appearance at the Formula Ford Festival last October, has proven that the Scholarship works as he as gone on to win this year’s USF2000 title. This has earned him a second Mazda scholarship as a result as he will press forward into the Pro Mazda Championship Presented by Cooper Tires in 2018.
Last year’s National FF1600 champion Niall Murray is already one driver confirmed as the rapid Irishman stamped his ticket to the Shootout by winning the Dawson Wam Northern Irish FF1600 crown. Niall has also had his first taste of USF2000 machinery as he made a guest appearance at the series’ final rounds at Watkins Glen International recently, amidst appalling weather conditions.
By the time the Shootout rolls around in early December, almost 400 drivers will have competed for their respective entry tickets across 20 single-seater and open-wheel championships and series, spanning 5 continents around the world. In particular in BRSCC circles, the contest has been fast and furious in the Britcover National Formula Ford 1600 Championship with Avon Tyres. At the time of writing this, the Championship is entering its final rounds next weekend at Anglesey where the title has to be settled once and for all.
Points leader Luke Williams holds a 57 point advantage over 2nd placed Neil MacLennan heading into the final 3 races of the 2017 season, and with 108 points up for grabs it will mean that MacLennan needs all the luck and good fortune he can get to stand any chance of halting Williams’ charge to the National crown.
That said, many drivers have won races this season with Ross Martin (now officially qualified for the Shootout as newly crowned Scottish FF1600), Jamie Thorburn, James Roe Jr, Jordan Dempsey and Luke Cooper all having taken to the top step this season. This proves that the National Championship has been one of the most competitive, exciting and successful championships in British motorsport this season, as entry numbers have constantly reached near or full capacity grids.
Should MacLennan ultimately miss out on the National title, he and the other Pro Class runners will have a chance to redeem themselves by gunning for the win in this year’s Formula Ford Festival, which has been confirmed this year as an entry point to the Shootout for the victor (provided they meet the required entry criteria). This should mean that the competition levels at Brands Hatch in October could be at their highest for several years!
The Shootout takes place at the Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park which is also home to the Bondurant Racing School. All of the Shootout finalists will test their skills over a two day competition, where they will get behind the wheel of the School’s Formula Mazda single seaters. After being assessed on and off track, the winner will be announced in the weeks following the contest.