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Finalists Announced for Mazda Road to 24 Shootout

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#1
Johnny D

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Four young drivers to compete this Friday for $100,000 Mazda scholarship

 

IRVINE, Calif. (December 3, 2018) – This Friday, four young race car drivers will compete for the chance to win a $100,000 scholarship to race in the 2019 Battery Tender Global Mazda MX-5 Cup presented by BFGoodrich Tires at the Mazda Road to 24 Shootout.

 

At the Shootout, the four drivers will use Global MX-5 Cup cars and will be evaluated by an independent panel of judges. Success in a club racing championship at the wheel of a Mazda is the primary consideration for the Mazda Road to 24 Shootout, with twelve drivers invited to submit a video and written proposal to Mazda Motorsports. Based on those factors, these four drivers have been invited to participate in the Mazda Road to 24 Shootout this Friday, December 7 at Wild Horse Motorsports Park in Chandler, Arizona:

 

Michael Carter – Carter will arrive at the Mazda Road to 24 Shootout after a strong 2018 season in which he won seven races and podiumed in 18 of 20 races. On the strength of those results, Carter finished second in the SCCA Hoosier Super Tour Points Championship, but clinched the Spec Miata Challenge, earning a two-race sponsorship in the 2019 Battery Tender Global MX-5 Cup. He also added a victory in Spec Miata at the American Road Race of Champions and finished tenth in Spec Miata at the SCCA Runoffs. The eighteen-year-old is a student at the Georgia Institute of Technology majoring in Business Administration.

 

Matthew Dirks – The youngest of the finalists, sixteen-year-old Matthew Dirks captured the Spec Miata class championship in NASA’s Rocky Mountain Region and was also named the Teen Mazda Challenge champion. He captured pole position at the Toyo Tires Classic – the Spec Miata race at the NASA Nationals at Circuit of The Americas – in a field of 77 cars.

 

Hannah Grisham – Grisham finished in third place in the Teen Mazda Challenge at the Toyo Tires Classic NASA National Championships at Circuit of The Americas in Austin, Texas and finished second in the Spec Miata championship in the NASA So Cal region. Grisham, eighteen years old, attends San Diego State University and is majoring in Business Administration.

 

Loni Unser – A relative newcomer to wheel-to-wheel racing, Unser has put together competitive results in two years of racing in both the Spec Miata class of the SCCA Rocky Mountain Region and World Racing League. The twenty-one-year-old is a student at the University of Boulder, studying Environmental Design, but is also part of the CU Boulder Racing team as a driver as well as social media director. She is the latest of racers from one of America’s most famous racing families, with nine victories at the Indianapolis 500 in the Unser family.


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#2
Steve Scheifler

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Congrats to all four! Great to see a couple ladies in the mix too.

Did I miss their video applications/auditions or were those not done this year?
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#3
Jamz14

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Videos posted on YouTube. Run a search on 2018 Mazda mrt24 and they should come up.
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#4
Johnny D

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#5
Johnny D

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We have a Winnah! - Won their 1st race... Congratulations! Beta-Tester - Assisted us with beta testing the website. Donor - Made PayPal donation Bona fide - A bonafide Spec Miata driver Novel Approach - When a paragraph simply won't do... Survive the 25, NASA Thunderhill - Survive the 25, NASA Thunderhill Instigator - Made a topic or post that inspired other Make it Rain - Made Paypal donation of $100+

#6
Jim Drago

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Seems like this may be the year a female driver wins it.  I hope the most qualified wins regardless of gender.


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#7
Steve Scheifler

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They will, but of course they define “qualified”. They write and weight the list of qualifications and there is no reason to do anything other than select the driver they judge most likely to further their current goals. As it should be I think, whether the goal is to promote the fastest driver, the one with the most potential, bring in new blood from sim-racing or promoting the brand. Too bad more manufacturers don’t support such efforts.
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#8
Jim Drago

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They will, but of course they define “qualified”. They write and weight the list of qualifications and there is no reason to do anything other than select the driver they judge most likely to further their current goals. As it should be I think, whether the goal is to promote the fastest driver, the one with the most potential, bring in new blood from sim-racing or promoting the brand. Too bad more manufacturers don’t support such efforts.

 Seems like a very high percentage of females relative to the field made the final four.  I am all for females in Motorsports and these women may very well be the best candidates.. I hope so. I just hope it is based on merit and not chromosomes.    


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#9
LarryKing

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The fact that you have to say; 'I hope it is not chromosomes', means you think it's chromosomes.  :tipsy: 


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#10
lillyweld

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I don't know the others, but I couldn't be a bigger fan of Michael's. He engineered one heck of a SM season in 2018, and - in a lot of ways - not only out-drove but also out-foxed many of the veterans of that group (which, in SM, is very hard to do). He is a great young man in person and on the track, and I hope he goes far. Kudos to you, Michael.


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#11
Jim Drago

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The fact that you have to say; 'I hope it is not chromosomes', means you think it's chromosomes.  :tipsy:

Imo, it looks like that played a factor.. But I am wrong a lot :) Hopefully this is one of those times :)


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Hoosier Super Tour points Champion - Hoosier Super Tour points Champion ARRC Champion - Won the ARRC Race in a Spec Miata Series Champ - Won a points based series in a Spec Miata BFG Supertour Winner - Majors Winner - Circuit of the Americas Winner - We have a Winnah! - Won their 1st race... Congratulations! June Sprints winner  - June Sprints winner June Sprints winner  - June Sprints winner June Sprints winner  - June Sprints winner June Sprints winner  - June Sprints winner SCCA National Champion - Won SCCA Runoffs at Road America SCCA National Champion - Won SCCA Runoffs at Road America

#12
Danica Davison

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But I am wrong a lot :)

 

 

This right here.


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#13
Ron Alan

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Hmmm...I wonder if bias's could be any more obvious? 

 

What Steve wrote is all that matters...its Mazda's show!


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Steve Scheifler

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Imo, it looks like that played a factor.. But I am wrong a lot :) Hopefully this is one of those times :)


If it didn’t then it would be very interesting to know how the choices were made. I assume it did, and it would take some effort to change my mind, but I have no problem with it. Their sandbox and it isn’t as if anyone paid them a ton of money to compete for the opportunity under a specific set of rules which suddenly changed. It amounts to an invitational sponsor/promotion event with a big prize and it has always been perfectly clear that the fastest driver isn’t guaranteed to win. The videos alone make it clear that the contestants understand that.
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#15
Johnny D

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place your bets...my money's on Unser.

 

J~


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#16
Danny Steyn

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If I was in Mazda's shoes, or any business for that matter, and I was about to invest time, money and other resources into a driver, then the only thing I would care about is HOW MUCH VALUE THEY WOULD ADD TO MY BRAND, now and in the future. Its all about ROI, and so investing in a young person who potentially can commit to the brand for a long time is key.

 

IMO, drivers like Lewis Hamilton and Danica Patrick have completely changed the dynamics of ROI in motor racing  - they have shown the ability to attract a completely different market segment to a sport or brand. Remember while we see this as a sport, businesses see it as the ability to attract revenue. Hence their willingness to invest.

 

Patrick showed that you do not have to be the fastest to be popular. Sure she polarized some fans, and some say she didn't belong in NASCAR, but her ability to bring new viewers to the screens, attract big sponsors and sell massive amounts of merchandise, proved the opposite, and for her sponsors and NASCAR I am sure she was a huge success. 

 

On the other hand, Hamilton is super quick and super talented, and I am a huge fan. But it is his star appeal that cuts across so many untapped and non-aligned market segments that makes him so unique, and he is attracting a completely different set of sport stars, fashion icons, and entertainment personalities, along with their massive fan bases to the sport of F1, and I am sure Liberty Media and AMG Mercedes Petronas is very well aware of his value.

 

So while speed is one part of what I would look for in my driver, (they must have credibility), the more important component of my search would be identifying the driver that can attract the largest segment of new fans to my brand.

 

hey just my $0.02


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#17
Danica Davison

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If I was in Mazda's shoes, or any business for that matter, and I was about to invest time, money and other resources into a driver, then the only thing I would care about is HOW MUCH VALUE THEY WOULD ADD TO MY BRAND, now and in the future. Its all about ROI, and so investing in a young person who potentially can commit to the brand for a long time is key.
 
IMO, drivers like Lewis Hamilton and Danica Patrick have completely changed the dynamics of ROI in motor racing  - they have shown the ability to attract a completely different market segment to a sport or brand. Remember while we see this as a sport, businesses see it as the ability to attract revenue. Hence their willingness to invest.
 

 

Hey Danny, I can add a lot of value to your Oceannette calendar, Instagram feed, and your brand as a whole.  I may not have all the right parts, but I can change the whole dynamic of the industry, and I am sure I will be able to attract a completely different market segment!

 

Send me a DM for business inquiries.


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#18
Jamz14

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So........ Congratulations to Michael Carter!! Great job Michael, you drove very well indeed.

All of the drivers did a very good job and should be proud despite what some here would have you believe.
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If I was in Mazda's shoes, or any business for that matter, and I was about to invest time, money and other resources into a driver, then the only thing I would care about is HOW MUCH VALUE THEY WOULD ADD TO MY BRAND, now and in the future. Its all about ROI, and so investing in a young person who potentially can commit to the brand for a long time is key.
 
IMO, drivers like Lewis Hamilton and Danica Patrick have completely changed the dynamics of ROI in motor racing  - they have shown the ability to attract a completely different market segment to a sport or brand. Remember while we see this as a sport, businesses see it as the ability to attract revenue. Hence their willingness to invest.
 
Patrick showed that you do not have to be the fastest to be popular. Sure she polarized some fans, and some say she didn't belong in NASCAR, but her ability to bring new viewers to the screens, attract big sponsors and sell massive amounts of merchandise, proved the opposite, and for her sponsors and NASCAR I am sure she was a huge success. 
 
On the other hand, Hamilton is super quick and super talented, and I am a huge fan. But it is his star appeal that cuts across so many untapped and non-aligned market segments that makes him so unique, and he is attracting a completely different set of sport stars, fashion icons, and entertainment personalities, along with their massive fan bases to the sport of F1, and I am sure Liberty Media and AMG Mercedes Petronas is very well aware of his value.
 
So while speed is one part of what I would look for in my driver, (they must have credibility), the more important component of my search would be identifying the driver that can attract the largest segment of new fans to my brand.
 
hey just my $0.02


Now if only Mazda would figure out how to put their young guns on television. Their current platform of streaming MX-5 Cup leaves a lot to be desired. When I point blank asked them how many views they received so i could pass that information along to my other sponsors, my question was not answered and they made a point to tell me the ROI for my sponsors wouldn’t be achieved through any form of air time. Also, can anyone tell me what is the next rung on the ladder past MX-5 Cup. The only other active other platform is LMP2, seems like a short ladder.
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#20
Jim Creighton

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Way to go, Michael.

 

 

By: MazdaMotorsports.com | December 8, 2018 5:57 AM

 

After an all-day evaluation of four young drivers at the Bondurant Main Track at Wild Horse Motorsports Park in Phoenix, Arizona, 18-year-old Michael Carter from Savannah, Georgia was selected as the winner of the 2018 Mazda Road to 24 Shootout.

With the $100,000 Mazda Motorsports scholarship awarded to Carter, he will compete in the 2019 Battery Tender Global Mazda MX-5 Cup presented by BFGoodrich. Carter, a student at the Georgia Institute of Technology, took part in the Shootout along with Matthew Dirks, Hannah Grisham and Loni Unser.

“What a journey this has been,” said Carter. “The reason I started racing a Mazda was because of the Mazda Road to 24 Shootout. It was our one single goal all along and to finally accomplish that is surreal. The process begins next week of getting ready for next season, for the series test at Barber, and to put together a good season in the Global MX-5 Cup.”

To earn his invitation to the Mazda Road to 24 Shootout, Carter put together an impressive 2018 season in SCCA racing as he finished second in the SCCA Hoosier Super Tour Points Championship, won the Spec Miata Challenge and won in Spec Miata at the American Road Race of Champions.


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