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-- Awarded full season in the 2008 BFGoodrich/Skip Barber National Championship --

February 5, 2008 (Irvine, Calif/Lime Rock, Conn.) - After three days of intense competition and evaluation by motorsports industry professionals, Connor De Phillippi was named as the champion of the 11th Annual Skip Barber Karting Scholarship Shoot-out, topping 50 of the best karters from the U.S. and abroad. Connor will now have a sponsored ride in the 14-race 2008 BFGoodrich/Skip Barber National Presented by Mazda. This prize is valued at approximately $45,000, the richest prize available to karters in North America. In addition, the following karters were awarded scholarships as follows:

  • Brett Smrz, a FULL SEASON in a Skip Barber Regional Racing Series
  • Fabio Orsolon, a HALF SEASON in the BFGoodrich/Skip Barber National Presented by Mazda
  • Maverick Bartlett, $10,000
  • Court Vernon, $10,000
  • Michael DeNino, $10,000

In total, approximately $130,000 was awarded.

The Contestants:
45 young men and five young women were entered. They came from the U.S., Canada, Brazil, Bermuda, Guatemala, and South Africa. In December, a select group of karters, based on their accomplishments, assessed potential and other attributes were awarded scholarship invitations to the Shoot-out. By virtue of being selected, 12 talented drivers were awarded a scholarship covering the cost of a Skip Barber Three Day Racing School, the completion of which is required in order to enter the Shoot-out. 11 of the 12 then proceeded to the shoot-out. The other contestants all met the requirements of having raced with an approved karting organization and having completed a Skip Barber Three Day Racing School, and the $1,595.00 entry fee.

The 50 contestants were as follow (Name, Age, Hometown):

Louis "Topspeed" Albornoz, 32, New York, N.Y.

Forrest Hull, 14, Princeton, N.J.

Nick Andries, 17, Pinellas Park, Fla.

Pedro Jacobsen, 17, Brazil

Darrick Antell, 17, Greenwich, Conn.

Cody Jolly, 16, Houston, Texas

Juan Sebastien Arenas, 18, Southwest Ranches, Fla

John Keehn, 17, Madison, Wis.

Eliot Bachelart, 15, Indianapolis, Ind.

Dale Kistler-Collins, 17, Thornton, Colo.

James Bailey, 21, Oakland, Calif.

Brendan Langlois, 15, Kamloops, B.C., Canada

Scott "Skitchy" Barnes, 23, Pembroke, Bermuda

Chelsie Lehmann, 16, Parkton, Md.

Maverick Bartlett, 17, Jackson, Wyo.

Jeremy Morales, 17, Glen Head, N.Y.

Rafe Baskin, 25, Franklin, Tenn.

Josef Newgarden, 16, Hendersonville, Tenn.

Melissa Borup, 24, Houston, Texas

Fabio Orsolon, 20, Cabo Frio, Brazil

Tatiana Calderon, 14, Bogota, Colombia

Marcio Passaneli, 17, Manaus, Brazil

Joseph Cote, 19, Madison, Miss.

Sean Rayhall, 12, Winston, Ga.

Roberto Dalton, 14, Guatemala

Josh Reaume, 17, Victoria, B.C., Canada

Conor Daly, 15, Noblesville, Ind.

Clark Sanchez-Figueras, 21, Shadow Hills, Calif.

Nick Darinzo, 17, Sherman, Conn.

Ben Searcy, 18, Tuscaloosa, Ala

Nick DeCuzzi, 15, Brunswick, Ohio

Jimmy Simpson, 15, Indianapolis, Ind.

Michael DeNino, 18, Gaithersburg, Md.

Brett Smrz, 16, Coeur d'Alene, Idaho

Conner De Phillippi, 14, San Clemente, Calif.

Kevin Tittle, 18, South Pasadena, Calif.

Hayden Duerson, 15, Gulfport, Fla.

Dennis Trebing, 15, Cape Coral, Fla.

Bobby Ellis, 16, Ashburn, Va

Dex Tuttle, 18, Charlotte, N.C.

Jarvis Gennari, 14, Boca Raton, Fla.

Cort Vernon, 15, Key Biscayne, Fla.

Wyatt Gooden, 19, Gates Mills, Ohio

Michael Vincec, 16, Stouffville, Ont., Canada

Brad Hagerman, 21, Sarasota, Fla.

Dion von Moltke, 17, South Africa

Grant Hebner, 19, Fallbrook, Calif.

Brittany Vorster, 18, Sandzon, South Africa

Cody Hodgson, 15, Escalon, Calif.

Kelly Wood, 17, Huntsville, Ont., Canada

Chris Holman, 19, Burlington, Ont., Canada



Note: The elite 11 are noted in bold

The criteria: The competition was held over three days at the famed Sebring International Raceway in Florida. The drivers were evaluated on:

  • Driving ability - fast laps
  • Driving ability - consistent laps
  • Technical feedback - Understanding and evaluation of vehicle handling, dynamics, and suspension
  • The business of motorsports - Sponsorship proposal
  • The business of motorsports - Media interview

The judges: The judges have a range of experience both behind the wheel, in the classroom, behind the pitwall, and in the office, as it pertains to motorsports. Each judge contributed to the overall rankings as well as offering constructive feedback to the entrants.

Gerardo Bonilla

2007 IMSA Lites Champion/Skip Barber Instructor

Gregg Borland

Skip Barber Instructor

Randy Buck

Skip Barber Instructor

Joe D'Agostino

Skip Barber Instructor

John Doonan

MAZDASPEED Business Development Manager

Terry Earwood

Skip Barber Instructor

Tommy Fogarty

Skip Barber Instructor/Formula Mazda/SPEC MIATA

Davina Galica

Skip Barber Instructor

Jonathan Goring

2006 Skip Barber National Champion/Skip Barber Instructor

Nick Harvey

Champ Car Atlantic Team Engineer/Skip Barber Instructor

Jason Holehous

Skip Barber Instructor

Phil Lombardi

Skip Barber Instructor/SPEC MIATA racer

Mikel Miller

Skip Barber Instructor/Formula Mazda racer

Nick Nicholson

Skip Barber Instructor

Jim Pace

Skip Barber Instructor/ROLEX 24 Winner, Mazda RX-7, 1990

Todd Snyder

Vice President of Competition, Skip Barber

R.B. Stiewing

Skip Barber Instructor

Bob Ziegel

Skip Barber Instructor

The quotes:

Connor De Phillippi, Skip Barber Shootout Champion: "I could not ask for more. My family and I really worked since last year and hard work pays off. I just went out and got more and more seat time. This is an incredible award and we really have to thank Mazda and Skip Barber for what they have done for me and all these other drivers."

George Ayres, President, Skip Barber Racing School LLC: "Skip Barber has always been about the development of talent. Our graduates succeed at the highest levels of motorsports - Last week we saw that every one of the Rolex 24 Daytona top ten finishers, including the GT winning Mazda RX-8, had at least one Skip Barber graduate or instructor on the team. Competitions like this ensure that we are doing our part to identify those with great potential. We look forward to watching the careers of this latest group of talented young men and women in the years to come."

John Doonan, MAZDASPEED Business Development Manager: "There are no two companies who care more about driver development and the Motorsports career ladder than Mazda and Skip Barber. My colleagues and I could not be happier to be able to provide Connor and all the other Mazda champions with their awards. To be able to experience the shoot out first hand with these 50 up and coming drivers was very special. Our Class of 2007 is now complete....let the racing begin."

Next Up: The 2008 BFGoodrich/Skip Barber National Presented by Mazda, begins during one of the biggest sportscar weekends of the year, the annual Sebring 12 Hour weekend, March 12th -15th
The complete 2008 race schedule is follows (14 races over 7 weekends):

Rounds 1 & 2

March 12-14 2008

Sebring International Raceway

Rounds 3 & 4

April 25-27 2008

Virginia International Raceway

Rounds 5 & 6

June 13-15 2008

Mosport International Raceway

Rounds 7 & 8

July 18-20 2008

Barber Motorsports Park

Rounds 9 & 10

August 8-10 2008

Road America

Rounds 11 & 12

August 29-31 2008

Thunderbolt N.J.

Rounds 13 & 14

October 1-3 2008

Road Atlanta

BFGoodrich Skip Barber National Presented by Mazda Background:

First organized in 1999 as a one-off championship race for the "best of the best" from Skip Barber's four Regional Series, a race won by Champ Car veteran and Rolex Sports Car Series driver Ryan Hunter-Reay, today the BFGoodrich/Skip Barber National Presented by Mazda is a 14-race professional series positioned as a primary steppingstone for young pro drivers whose next step is Star Mazda, then Champ Car Atlantics Powered by Mazda. This Mazda-driven ladder system is called MAZDASPEED Motorsports Development.

All the cars are identically prepared Skip Barber Formula 2000 open-wheel "wings-and-slicks" formula cars. The Skip Barber Formula 2000 is powered by a 2.0-litre, 4-cylinder engine, prepped to produce 150 horsepower. The chassis is a space-frame design and uses a Ricardo Engineering 5-speed sequential gearbox, and features a single-element front wing with a raised nose-box and a dual element rear wing. The tires are BFGoodrich g-Force racing slicks and wets.

The fleet of racecars used in the BFGoodrich/Skip Barber National Presented by Mazda are owned, prepared, repaired, maintained and transported by Skip Barber. Each Skip Barber F2000 is equalized through pre-race testing by professional test-drivers using timing and radar, with the objective that every car arrives on the grid within 1 mph of top-speed and 0.5 percent of lap time. Each race weekend, each National driver is randomly assigned one of the 30 Skip Barber F2000 race cars.

The BFGoodrich/Skip Barber National Presented by Mazda is the series that launched the auto racing careers of NASCAR Sprint Cup drivers A.J. Allmendinger and Scott Speed, IRL IndyCar winner and Indy 500 Rookie of the Year Marco Andretti, and dozens of other drivers succeeding in about every level of major motorsports in North America and the world. Prior to the National, Skip Barber's system was the career-starter for drivers including Juan Pablo Montoya, Jeff Simmons, Bryan Herta and Nelson Philippe.

About Mazda:

Mazda is the brand of choice for road-racers across North America. More than 9,000 grassroots racers compete in various classes with the Sports Car Club of America (SCCA) and the National Auto Sport Association (NASA). Racers who are years away from earning a driver's license can now begin their professional motorsports careers in the Mazda family. A driver can begin in karts and progress through the Skip Barber series, Club Racing Formula Mazda, professional Star Mazda and finally to Formula Atlantic, all with Mazda. No other car company has ever connected the dots this way.

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 1,500 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.

Headquartered in Irvine, Calif., Mazda North American Operations 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 byMazda Canada, Inc., located in Ontario, Canada, and in Mexico byMazdaMotor de Mexico in MexicoCity.

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