IRVINE, CA – The Mazda Club Racer Shootout is the single largest prize in club racing. Since 2007 Mazda has annually promoted one talented club racer to the professional ranks. The $75,000 prize funds a drive in the 2014 Mazda MX-5 Cup.
The heart and soul of Mazda Motorsports is club racing, and supporting those racers who have invested in racing a Mazda. The criteria for the shootout is to identify the aspiring professional racer who has the best range of skills required to succeed. These skills include speed, consistency, racecraft, technical feedback, and off-track business and PR skills. History has shown that a driver will be limited in success if they are lacking in multiple areas.
John Doonan, Director of Motorsports, note: “With more club racers than any other car company, we wanted to find a suitable way to bridge the gap from club racing to the professional ranks. Our shootout has become a signature event for Mazda Motorsports. Without exception, every driver who won the shootout proved to be competitive in MX-5 Cup, with several developing solid professional careers.”
Eighteen racers are semi-finalists, having met the eligibility criteria for 2013. Each has won a recognized championship over a minimum number of competitors. The next step is for the racer to submit a business presentation, which will be reviewed and scored by a team of motorsports and marketing professionals. From those proposals, the finalists will be selected. The final shootout will be a one-day event at Buttonwillow Raceway Park in November where the racers will be tested on the track for their technical skills. It is a winner-take-all event with one racer moving up to the Mazda MX-5 Cup for 2014.
The 18 semi-finalists are:
Racer Club/Series Hometown/Residence
Ben Albano – Skip Barber Racing School Greenwich, CT
Joey Bickers – NASA Teen Challenge (California) Moorpark, CA
Jim Drago – SCCA National Runoffs Memphis, TN
TJ Fischer – Worldspeed Formula Car Championship Vacaville, CA
Dennis Holloway – NASA National Championships Huntington Beach, CA
Rob Huffmaster – SCCA National Runoffs Shelby Township, MI
Andrei Kisel – Sports Car Club of British Columbia North Vancouver, BC, Canada
Jason Kohler – NASA National Championships Waterford, MI
Zachary Munro – NASA Teen Challenge (Colorado) Granby, CO
Adam Poland – NASA Teen Challenge (Texas) Mount Vernon, Texas
Scott Rettich – SCCA National Runoffs Camden, OH
Matt Schultz – NASA National Championships Portland, OR
Cherie Storms – Sports Car Club of British Columbia Langley, BC, Canada
Jon Van Caneghem – NASA National Championships Marina del Rey, CA
Cal Vandaalen – Spec Miata Championship (Canada) Wellington, NS Canada
Rob Warkocki – SCCA National Runoffs Frankfort, IL
Michael Whelden – Worldspeed Formula Car Championship Sausalito, CA
Darryl Wills – SCCA National Runoffs Houston,TX
Additional information about the Mazda Club Racer shootout and Mazda support can be found at www.mazdamotorsports.com
About Mazda, Mazda Motorsports, and MAZDASPEED: Mazda is the number-one brand for road-racers across North America among both club racers and professionals. Thousands of Mazda powered grassroots racers compete in various classes with the SCCA and NASA highlighted by Spec Miata, the world’s largest spec class with over 2,500 cars built. In 2006 Mazda Motorsports established the MAZDASPEED Motorsports Development Ladder to assist racers in moving up through the ranks. In 2010 this was expanded to include the Mazda Road to Indy. Key to Mazda’s success is strategic partnerships with the Skip Barber Racing School and Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca.
Mazda Motorsports is managed by Mazda North American Operations (MNAO). MNAO is headquartered in Irvine, Calif., and oversees the sales, marketing, parts and customer service support of Mazda vehicles in the United States and Mexico through nearly 700 dealers. Operations in Mexico are managed by Mazda Motor de Mexico in Mexico City. Consumer information can be found at www.mazdausa.com, with press information at www.mazdausamedia.com. Racers and fans can follow the action on Facebook (Mazda Motorsports).