Following his success in the Formula Ford Festival, Keith Donegan went home with a potentially career-defining ticket to the Mazda Road to Indy USF2000 $200k Scholarship Shootout.

Donegan (left) celebrating his Mazda Road To Indy Shootout spot on the Formula Ford Festival final podium – Photo: Gary Hawkins

The Shootout will take place at the Bondurant Racing School near Phoenix, Arizona over the weekend of 9th & 10th December when the top young drivers from all over the Globe will do battle for a scholarship worth US$200K to compete in the 2018 Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship powered by Mazda.

Finishing second in the Festival Final with a family-run car was a remarkable achievement considering Donegan had a four year break from motorsport prior to this season.

Receiving the dream ticket to the Shootout, because the winning driver exceeded the maximum age limit, came as something of a surprise to Keith as he had been focussing on driving as fast as possible during the Festival weekend. In going for the big win, not much attention had been paid to the prizes on offer. Donegan loves racing no matter what spoils are handed out when the chequered flag falls.

Once Keith received the ticket however he was blown away. “I’m really grateful for the opportunity Mazda has given me,” he says, “It’s amazing the names that have come through the MRtI. In my opinion it’s the best scholarship program in motorsport.”

As the 2017 Indycar champion, Josef Newgarden, is a graduate of the Mazda Road to Indy programme it underlines what a marvellous opportunity the Shootout is.

Since receiving his invite to Phoenix, Donegan has been busy keeping himself fit – both physically and mentally. With regards to the latter, he has been working with Sports Psychologist Linda Keen who has helped him quickly get up to speed this year on his return to the cockpit.

Watching onboard videos has also been key to his preparation for the Shootout as well as visualising himself driving the track so intently that at the end of the session he feels as though he’s just stepped out of the car!

Keith heads to the States a week in advanced to give him time to acclimatise. A relaxing week with his friends who live across the Pond is planned before they join him in Arizona to offer support.

It is clear that Donegan can not wait for the Shootout to begin. “It’s something I’ve dreamed about doing but now I can make those dreams a reality. Well to be honest I’ve never lacked belief in myself. It’s key to everything in life I think. In motorsport the car is usually the biggest variable however in this case all the cars are identical and I don’t doubt that I could win. If I didn’t think I had a good chance of winning there would be no point in going. I’ve got great people around me who have upmost belief in me too.”

Everyone at the BRSCC wishes Keith the very best of luck.


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