USF2000 is the introductory rung on the MRTI ladder for drivers aspiring to reach the Verizon IndyCar Series. The middle rung is the Pro Mazda Championship Presented by Cooper Tires, with Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires atop the ladder series platform operated by Andersen Promotions under INDYCAR sanction.
"Mazda prides itself on providing the most comprehensive scholarship and ladder system for drivers in open wheel and sports cars," said John Doonan, director of Mazda Motorsports in North America. "Now, with the Scholarship Shootout, we can expand the Mazda Road to Indy entry-level opportunity to young champions from around the world."
The shootout will assemble champions of North American and international series for the first time in a knockout-style format. Each participating series will be able to offer its 2016 champion an "entry ticket" to the shootout. A total of 15 drivers will be invited, with the winner earning the scholarship to compete in USF2000. Each participating series also will be designated as an official MRTI feeder series.
Among the feeder series already confirmed to participate are: England's BRSCC F1600, Australian Formula Ford, SCCA Pro Racing's F2000 Championship Series and F1600 Formula F Championship, Skip Barber Race Series, Rotax MAX Challenge for karts and the Team USA Scholarship winner.
"The response from the various series about this new program has been incredible and we are thrilled to have them as partners as we help the rising stars of the sport take the next step in their career in USF2000 on the Mazda Road to Indy path," said Dan Andersen, owner and CEO of Andersen Promotions.