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MAZDASPEED Announces 2011 Shootout Finalists
-- One Mazda Powered Club Racing Champion Will Earn a Funded Ride in the 2012 Playboy Mazda MX-5 Cup --
November 1, 2011 (Irvine, Calif). When you have more people roadracing your cars than any other brand, the expectations are high for manufacturer support. One key way that Mazda has met that expectation is with the single largest prize in club racing - a funded ride in the SCCA Pro Racing Playboy Mazda MX-5 Cup, valued at $75,000.
For the sixth consecutive year, Mazda will assist one talented racer to make the leap from club racing to the professional ranks. That racer must demonstrate skills both in the cockpit and in the business arena, proving that they have the total package to succeed.
To be eligible for the shootout the racer must first win a recognized club racing national championship with Mazda power. Over 200 racers competed in the recent SCCA Runoffs, NASA National Championships, and the Skip Barber MAZDASPEED Challenge. From those races, ten Mazda powered champions emerged. Each was then invited to submit a business proposal. A team of invited judges reviewed the proposals and selected the finalists.
The finalists for the 2011 shootout are:
- Elivan Goulart 2011 SCCA Spec Miata National Champion
- Elliott Skeer 2011 NASA Teen Challenge (West) Spec Miata Champion
- Nathanial Sparks 2011 NASA Spec Miata National Champion and Teen Challenge (East) Spec Miata Champion
The other 2011 champions (and shootout semi-finalists) were as follows:
- Connor Bloum 2011 Skip Barber MAZDASPEED Challenge Champion
- Walter Carlos 2011 NASA PTF Champion (Mazda RX-7)
- Kent Prather 2011 SCCA GTL Champion (Mazda MX-5 Miata)
- Justin Pritchard 2011 SCCA E Production Champion (Mazda RX-7)
- Scott Rettich 2011 SCCA Formula Enterprise Mazda Champion
- Derek Whitis 2011 NASA PTB Champion (Mazda MX-5)
- Darryl Wills 2011 SCCA and NASA Formula Mazda Champion
The three finalists will travel to Buttonwillow Raceway for a one-day shootout on Monday, November 7, 2011. The shootout is far beyond just measuring "Who is fastest?" since each racer has already proven their ability to win a championship race. The shootout measures all aspects of a driver, including:
- Fast lap times
- Lap time consistency
- Technical feedback and knowledge
- The ability to write a comprehensive business plan for motorsports success
- PR and media skills
Shootout judges include driving legends and past champions, team owners, race engineers, marketing executives, and motorsports journalists.
"In the racing world, speed is critical, but the intention of this program is to see who has the other technical, business talents and communication skills necessary to succeed in motorsports long-term. Our goal remains to help support the next up-and-coming talent," noted Steve Sanders, MAZDASPEED Motorsports Competition Manager.
On any given weekend, there are more Mazdas on the road-race tracks of America than any other brand of vehicle. At the track, you'll see MX-5 Miata, RX-8, MAZDA3, MAZDA6, RX-7 and other vintage Mazda models competing, because every Mazda has the Soul of a Sports Car. In fact, the largest road-racing class in the world is Spec Miata, with more than 2,500 first- and second-generation Miatas tearing up America's racetracks, making it the most-raced production car in the world. Mazda's involvement in motorsports extends to its relationship with Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, one of the world's premier road-racing circuits, and the Skip Barber Schools for driving and racing.
Mazda North American Operations is headquartered in Irvine, Calif. and oversees the sales, marketing, parts and customer service support of Mazda vehicles in the United States, Canada and Mexico through nearly 900 dealers. Operations in Canada are managed by Mazda Canada, Inc., located in Ontario; and in Mexico by Mazda Motor de Mexico in Mexico City.