Spec MX-5 Shootout Finalists Ready to Showcase Their Skills

News, Racing I By Justin Cornelison I November 13, 2023
Spec MX-5 Shootout Westin Workman Noah Harmon

After an intense evaluation process, Mazda has revealed its 12 finalists who will vie for a coveted spot on the Spec MX-5 Mazda Factory Club Racing Team. The selected drivers now stand on the precipice of a transformative opportunity in their motorsports careers as finalists for the Spec MX-5 Shootout.

Nathan Nicholson

The Spec MX-5 Shootout, running concurrently with Mazda’s MX-5 Cup Shootout since 2020, was designed to facilitate the transition of young talents into sports car racing. Out of 32 nominees, the final 12 were chosen based on video proposals outlining their motivation for participating in the shootout and their plans for establishing a lasting presence in motorsports.

The next crucial stage of the competition will unfold at Carolina Motorsports Park this week, on November 15-16, where the finalists will undergo a two-day event. Each driver will be paired with one of three Spec MX-5 cars operated by Advanced AutoSports, engaging in multiple lapping sessions around the circuit while receiving coaching and detailed data analysis.

Judges overseeing the event won’t solely focus on lap times. Instead, they’ll assess the drivers’ ability to apply coaching tips, exhibit improvement throughout the event, and evaluate their attitude and personality, with a keen emphasis on a strong desire to learn.

Josh Smith, Mazda Motorsports Business Development Manager, emphasized the purpose of the Spec MX-5 Shootout, stating, “Mazda created the Spec MX-5 Shootout to produce a path from karting to professional sports car racing. The transition can be daunting without the right help, and the shootout is an opportunity to give talented drivers the tools they need to succeed.”

Spec MX-5 Shootout Westin Workman

The three drivers eventually selected for the Mazda Factory Club Racing Team will gain entry into select SCCA Hoosier Super Tour events in the Spec MX-5 class, now elevated to an SCCA National category. This comprehensive package includes a racing school, testing, a full arrive-and-drive season, and participation in the 2024 SCCA National Championship Runoffs. Covered expenses encompass entry fees, consumables, travel, car damage budgets, and more.

Historically, Spec MX-5 Shootout winners have advanced to the Mazda MX-5 Cup Shootout, which offers scholarships for participation in the IMSA-sanctioned MX-5 Cup series.

The judging panel, comprising racing professionals and Mazda Motorsports staff, meticulously reviewed the video submissions, ultimately selecting the following 12 drivers to advance to the shootout:

  1. Baley Cruze
  2. Brenna Schubert
  3. Corbin Collins
  4. Ethan Goulart
  5. Ethan Jacobs
  6. Helio Meza
  7. Hudson Schwartz
  8. Justin Adakonis
  9. Kamden Hibbitt
  10. Rafe Abdulali
  11. Rocco Pasquarella
  12. Zak Meyer

As these talented individuals prepare to showcase their skills at Carolina Motorsports Park, the motorsports community eagerly awaits the next chapter in their promising careers. The Spec MX-5 Shootout stands not only as a competition but as a pivotal platform for the development of young racing talent, solidifying Mazda’s commitment to nurturing the future stars of sports car racing.

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