Neil Alberico, 18, from Los Gatos, Calif., Trent Hindman, from Wayside, N.J., who will turn 16 later this month, and Spencer Pigot, 17, from Windermere, Fla. will travel to England next month as the latest winners of prestigious Team USA Scholarships. The trio will follow in the footsteps of a long line of successful Team USA alumni including Jimmy Vasser, who won the inaugural scholarship way back in 1990, as well as Bryan Herta, Buddy Rice, Memo Gidley, Joey Hand, Bryan Sellers, A.J. Allmendinger, Charlie Kimball, J.R. Hildebrand, Conor Daly and Josef Newgarden.
The final winners were chosen from a group of 14 candidates who were selected as a result of their performances in a variety of junior categories this year.
Alberico, who also earned a nomination last year, and Hindman secured their opportunities following a shootout held last month in a de-winged USF2000 Van Diemen-Mazda run by the Cape Motorsports by Wayne Taylor Racing team at Andersen RacePark in Palmetto, Fla. The pair will drive in both the 40th annual Formula Ford “Kent” Festival at Brands Hatch on October 15/16 and the Walter Hayes Trophy at Silverstone on Nov. 5-6.
"It's an absolute privilege to be nominated for a second year in a row as a Team USA Scholarship candidate,” said Alberico, who won the 2010 Bondurant Racing Series in the U.S. and has been racing in the ultra-competitive British Formula Ford series this year. “The fact that I did not win a Scholarship last year was my true motivation to work harder than ever to make it through the elimination process for this year's team. I am extremely grateful for the opportunity and I expect to gain priceless knowledge that will surely stick with me for the rest of my career."
Added Hindman, who has impressed this year both in the BFGoodrich Skip Barber National Championship Powered by Mazda and the Ontario F1600 Challenge series in Canada: “Being selected to represent the United States and the Team USA Scholarship is quite an honor. I am extremely excited and proud to be given this wonderful opportunity to race in the UK. I know I will learn a lot from this experience both on and off the track. I am really looking forward to getting in the car and challenging myself against the European drivers.”
Pigot also was awarded a scholarship in 2010 after winning the Skip Barber National title. He made an impressive showing in last year's Formula Ford “Kent” Festival at Brands Hatch, snaring the pole for his heat race and posting the fastest race lap in the final en route to a charging drive to fourth place after an earlier incident.
Pigot this year will drive in the premier “Duratec” class at the Formula Ford Festival, which features slightly more powerful engines and slick tires. He will also contest the previous weekend's final round of the MSA Formula Ford Championship of Great Britain.
“The goal always has been to offer a ladder of opportunity,” said auto racing writer and broadcaster Jeremy Shaw, founder of the Team USA Scholarship. “There have been several instances in the past where we have been able to provide drivers with multiple opportunities, so I am delighted to be able to do so again. I am extremely grateful to all of the program's contributors who have made this possible.”
Pigot earned his bid with some impressive drives, including two race wins, during his rookie campaign in the Cooper Tires Presents the USF2000 National Championship Powered by Mazda. He was selected following an interview session held during the recent IZOD IndyCar Series/American Le Mans Series double-header at Mid-Ohio.
“Being selected for Team USA for a second year is a great honor and I'm really looking forward to going back to England,” said Pigot. “I learned a lot with my time there last year and it has helped me this season in USF2000. I'm certain I will learn even more this year and with the experience I gained in 2010 I know what to expect. I have to thank everyone that is involved in the Team USA Scholarship for giving me this opportunity.”