Michael Self awarded Champ Car ROTAX Career Enhancement Scholarship Every racing dream starts with a Go-Kart and builds from that first step. It doesn’t matter if you are Paul Tracy, Sebastien Bourdais or Graham Rahal, virtually every driver hones their skills at a young age by competing in go-karting. The same is true for up and coming driver Michael Self of Park City, Utah who will have a chance to step out of his race kart and up to the next level, as he was awarded the 2007 Champ Car ROTAX Career Enhancement Scholarship which will provide him with a complete season of racing in one of the Skip Barber Regional Racing Series.
“I would like to thank Champ Car, Skip Barber and ROTAX for giving me this opportunity,” Self stated as he accepted the scholarship. “It’s an honor and a great privilege to have received this award and I look forward to competing in the Skip Barber series and performing at my best.”
Michael Self, a sixteen year old racing prodigy, is a junior at Park City High School. He started racing at age eleven in cadet karts at a local level and was successful from the start, finishing 3rd overall in a local track championship and taking home their Rookie-of-the-Year award. By age 12, he started racing in the Junior ROTAX class, showing his talent by finishing second in the championship while competing against kids who had over 5 years of experience. The following year, Self won the 2004 Utah State Championship in the Junior ROTAX class and started adding to his trophy case as he continued to excel in the series. In 2006, he finished 3rd at the ROTAX Champ Car Grand Nationals at Road America, which allowed him to compete in the 2006 ROTAX World Finals in Portugal. Most recently, Self turned heads at the 2007 Champ Car ROTAX Grand Nationals in Centennial, Colorado, where he overcame a 31st qualifying spot to finish in 6th position.
Self was chosen by a panel of judges, including Champ Car driver Justin Wilson who witnessed his amazing display of driving at the 2007 Champ Car ROTAX Grand Nationals. While, the panel of judges were impressed with Self’s driving throughout the Grand National competition, it was his desire, tenacity and commitment, both on the track and off, that distinguished him from more than 60 other competitors in his class. The scholarship allows Self to compete in six double race weekends including Friday practice in one of four different Skip Barber Regional Championships -- East, Midwest, South or West.
"Congratulations to Michael Self on being selected for this honor" said Champ Car President and CEO Steve Johnson. “We are excited to see how he will do in the Skip Barber Regional Series and hopefully we will see him someday in the Champ Car ranks. Champ Car is proud to be partners with the ROTAX Kart Challenge as we help drivers develop in our ladder program."
As the Official Karting Series of the Champ Car World Series, the Champ Car ROTAX Kart Challenge serves as the first step for young drivers who want to climb toward an open-wheel racing career.
Self’s scholarship at the Skip Barber Regional Series level will put him one step closer to the first echelon in the Mazda Ladder System and will allow him to compete in the largest open-wheel amateur championship in North America.
From the Skip Barber Regional Series, drivers have a chance to move on to the BFGoodrich/Skip Barber National Presented by Mazda, then jump up to the Star Mazda Championship Presented by Goodyear and finally follow in the footsteps of Graham Rahal, James Hinchcliffe and Raphael Matos and graduate to the Cooper Tires Presents the Champ Car Atlantic Championship Powered by Mazda.
"We would like to congratulate Michael Self on being the winner of the Champ Car ROTAX Kart Challenge," stated ROTAX Program Director Joe Ramos Jr. "Champ Car, ROTAX and Skip Barber have a common goal which is to foster drivers with career aspirations and give them the chance to kick-start their racing career. These incentives give them something extra to push for. By creating these developmental ladder systems, Champ Car is making talent the deciding factor in who competes at the highest level."
The Champ Car ROTAX Kart Challenge program consists of more than 200 events held through approximately 32 regional challenge series in the United States. Champ Car ROTAX invites the very best drivers from each local series to compete at the ROTAX Grand National. From the ROTAX Grand National, ten drivers will then be chosen to represent ROTAX America's Team presented by Mazda at the ROTAX Grand Finals in Dubai this December where they will compete against 60 other nations involved in the worldwide ROTAX Karting program.