South Africa’s 2018 Investchem Formula 1600 champion will win a chance to compete in the 2018 Mazda Road to Indy shootout in Phoenix, Arizona USA in December. The award confirmed this week by both Investchem SA F1600 boss Ian Schofield and the Mazda Road to Indy spokesperson Tamy Volosky, is over and above the local series’ already healthy R200 000 cash prize and opens a lifeline to South African drivers keen on pursuing an international racing career.
“We are delighted to confirm that the 2018 Investchem Formula 1600 champion, and future champions, will now win the chance to fight it out for the annual Mazda Road to Indy shootout,” Investchem Formula 1600 boss Ian Schofield explained. “The Mazda Road to Indy program is exactly what it says — it aims to select the best young drivers and propel them into a program to see him or her competing in the Indianapolis 500 in future.
“It is a great honour to be able to set up a program that guarantees our best young South African drivers a chance to compete overseas — the Mazda Road to Indy campaign also revives a hugely successful program once run by Formula Ford in South Africa — Jody Scheckter was one of the drivers who won the Driver to Europe award in the early ’70s and he went on to win the Formula 1 world championship for Ferrari after a most successful European and US career off that award en route to F1.”
“Mazda has decided that the Investchem South African Formula 1600 championship will be included in the 2018 Mazda Road to Indy USF2000 $200K Shootout and we would like to extend an entry ticket to your series,” Mazda Road to Indy spokesperson Tamy Volosky confirmed. “The Shootout brings together champions from around the world to compete for a US $200 000 (R2.4-million) scholarship from Mazda to enter the Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda. “This year will mark the third annual Shootout with past winners being Oliver Askew and Keith Donegan.”
Investchem Formula 1600 will subsidise flights and accommodation in the US around the Mazda Road to Indy Shootout in December for the champion and a family member, friend or manager. The non transferable Mazda Driver to Indy award is open to drivers between the ages of 14 and 25 on September 30 2018. The two-day shootout goes down at the Bondurant Racing School in Phoenix, Arizona, with drivers arriving the previous day. The winner of the shootout will earn a full Copper US Formula 2000 Powered by Mazda drive in 2019.
Should the Investchem Formula 1600 champion not meet Mazda Road to Indy eligibility requirements, he or she will have the opportunity to participate at the Walter Hayes Formula Ford event in England at the end of the year, with Investchem Formula 1600 sponsoring the race weekend with a top team including entry and tyres. Investchem Formula 1600 will continue to offer its lucrative R200 000 prize fund to the winner, R125 000 to the runner-up and R62 500 to the third placed driver, over and above the Mazda Road to Indy award.
“Maybe one day one of our future Investchem F1600 champions can emulate Jody and bring South Africa a Formula 1 title again,” Ian Schofield concluded. “That is our dream!”