Skip Barber Karting Scholarship Shootout Preview
Young Karters Compete for $200,000 in Scholarships

In an age where aspiring race car drivers have to work harder than ever to find adequate financial support, Skip Barber Racing School has consistently provided scholarships over the years to assist young drivers in pursuing their dreams. In its 14th year, the Annual Skip Barber Karting Shootout is a four day event that allows young karters to strap into a Formula Skip Barber open wheel race car and compete for $200,000 in scholarships.

Judged by a panel of 12 motorsports experts including Tommy Fogarty, Bob Varsha, and Jeremy Shaw, these karters will go through a series of tests both on and off the race track. The expert panel will evaluate each driver on their on-track performance as well as how they present themselves and effectively listen to and apply feedback. “When I was with Skip Barber,” said IZOD IndyCar driver Ryan Hunter-Reay, “they really helped me understand its what you do off the race track as much as what you do on it that’ll make your racing career work. The guy has to be fast on the track and also has to represent his supporters in the right way. Skip Barber was a big help in making me understand all that, and it definitely made an impression on me.”

In 1998, 17 year old Hunter-Reay and became the one of the first winners of the Skip Barber Racing School Karting Shootout Scholarship. With the financial support to continue his career, Hunter-Reay went on to compete in the Barber Dodge Two Liter and the Barber Dodge Pro Series, then on to Formula Atlantic, and ultimately IndyCar, where he now has a two year contract with Andretti Autosport. “It was an easy choice,” said Hunger-Reay when discussing his choice to participate in the Karting Shootout.  “It was affordable compared to Formula Ford and private teams…Then you also roll in the coaching with it and the competition, it’s a no brainer.  It only got better from there. Winning the national championship got me a year in the Barber Dodge Pro Series–and they constantly rewarded you that way. If you do well in Skip Barber, it’s going to reward your career.”

Last year, thirty-six drivers gathered to compete at Sebring International Raceway in the 13th Annual Skip Barber Karting Shootout.  Florida teens Spencer Pigot and Felix Serralles went home with the biggest prizes of the event, both winning scholarships to compete for the entire 2010 season of the BFGoodrich/Skip Barber National Presented by Mazda. Pigot went on to not only win the Skip Barber National Rookie of the Year title, but he clinched the points championship as well, receiving a MAZDASPEED Motorsports Development scholarship to compete in the USF2000 2011 season. Both he and Serralles were also selected as recipients of the Team USA Scholarship, which allowed them compete at the Formula Ford Festival and Walter Hayes Trophy event.

In just four days, forty-four young, aspiring race car drivers will follow in Ryan Hunter-Reay’s and Spencer Pigot’s footsteps to gather at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca and compete for $200,000 in 2011 race season scholarships, courtesy of MAZDASPEED Motorsports Development and the FIA Motor Sport Safety Development Fund.  The two biggest prizes will be funding to compete in the entire 2011 race season of the BFGoodrich/Skip Barber National presented by Mazda. Other prizes will consist of half seasons in the Skip Barber National and full seasons in the Skip Barber Regional Race Series.

The competition for the 14th Annual Skip Barber Karting Shootout begins at 8:00 a.m. Friday, December 3 and concludes the afternoon of Monday, December 6.  This year, stay up to date on all the action by visiting www.twitter.com/SkipBarberNatl. Through twitter, LIVE photos and updates will be available all throughout the entire event, keeping followers and fans more involved and informed than before.