The 14th Annual Skip Barber Karting Scholarship Shootout provided a wealth of information for the 44 up-and-coming young racers in attention. The drivers learned important information regarding every day driving and highway safety, followed by some sessions on the skid pad and autocross at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. The morning of day two was focused on media training, the business of motorsport and the overall package of a driver.
Barbara Burns, Chief Executive Officer of BurnsGroup Unlimited, was the first to present, giving the young aspiring drivers vital information they will need to know in order to deal with the media as their careers continue. Karters took notes as Ms. Burns discussed the importance of media to a sport such as racing, and explained to the young drivers the various types of media and expected behavior they will encounter in their careers. She concluded her presentation with a question and answer panel with SPEED Channel personality Bob Varsha, Team USA Scholarship founder Jeremy Shaw and MAZDASPEED Communications Officer Dean Case.
Karters enjoyed the relaxed yet professional atmosphere of the panel, feeling comfortable to ask any questions. When Ms. Burns asked the young audience if they had any questions on how to use social media, Varsha, Shaw and Case were the first to race their hands, which resulted in some chuckles from the karters.
Dean Case was next to present, encouraging the karters to become “students of the sport.” Case educated karters on the history of the ladder system as well as the significance it plays on their careers today. Through this presentation, karters received tips on business proposals, resources available, and how to effectively communicate to sponsors. He also gave parents tips on how to support their child's career without being overbearing or doing the paperwork for them.
Finally, Derek Daly of the Derek Daly Academy stepped up to present. With his deep history in motorsports, including racing in Formula 1, Derek was able to provide the karters with incredibly vital information based on his own success and failure in racing. Drivers and parents can use the information he provided to properly recognize faults and strong points in order to become stronger athletes mentally, emotionally and physically.