Road to Indy Shootout re­vamp

Autosport (UK) - - CONTENTS - MAZDA ROAD TO INDY SHOOTOUT ENTRIES FROM THE UK AND IRE­LAND

FOR­MULA FORD 1600 RACER OLIVER White be­lieves Amer­i­can driv­ers could have an ad­van­tage in the Mazda Road to Indy Shootout after a venue change.

This week­end’s event – where a $200,000 (£150,000) schol­ar­ship to com­pete in USF2000 is up for grabs – will take place at Bon­durant Rac­ing School with For­mula Mazda cars.

White, who reached the fi­nal stage of the Shootout last year – when it was held at La­guna Seca – and was awarded a place for this year based on his per­for­mance in 2016 and lead­ing the Wal­ter Hayes Tro­phy last month, be­lieves that some driv­ers may have ex­pe­ri­ence of the cir­cuit.

“Some of the Amer­i­cans might have driven it [the track] be­fore, which might make it harder for the for­eign driv­ers,” he said. “I didn’t man­age to do any sim­u­la­tor work, I don’t think any of the places have it [the track] on them, and that’s be­cause it’s a driv­ing school. In the end I just had to stick to Youtube, which is not per­fect.”

Kyle Kim­ball, man­ager of op­er­a­tions at Mazda Mo­tor­sports, said: “It of­fers a level play­ing field with cars and a cir­cuit where no-one has a big ad­van­tage over the oth­ers. Part of what we will be judg­ing is how well these young driv­ers adapt to an un­fa­mil­iar track in an un­fa­mil­iar car.” Matt Cow­ley Keith Done­gan Ross Martin Niall Mur­ray James Raven Jamie Thor­burn Oliver White Luke Wil­liams

Last year’s win­ner Oliver Askew – who went on to take the 2017 USF2000 cham­pi­onship – will be on the judg­ing panel, along­side Indycar race win­ner Scott Goodyear and

Mazda rep­re­sen­ta­tives.

The orig­i­nal group will be nar­rowed down into an un­spec­i­fied number of fi­nal­ists, who will then be eval­u­ated over a 30-minute race. The race win­ner isn’t guar­an­teed to win the Shootout.

Of the Bri­tish and Ir­ish en­trants, White and 2016 Bri­tish Rac­ing and Sports Car Club FF1600 cham­pion Niall Mur­ray are the only re­turnees to the event. This year’s Na­tional cham­pion Luke Wil­liams joins a host of other FF1600 cham­pi­ons from Bri­tain and abroad.

Fol­low­ing a vote by teams, the BRSCC FF1600 Na­tional Cham­pi­onship has con­firmed it will visit Kirk­istown for its sole stand­alone round next year.

The rest of its rounds sup­port TCR UK.

White (l) and Mur­ray (r) at last year’s MRTI Shootout

Niall Mur­ray com­peted in the shootout last year at La­guna Seca

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