After a four-day competition at Sebring International Raceway among 36 of the best young karters from around the world, it was a pair of Floridians who earned the top prizes at the 13th annual Skip Barber Karting Scholarship Shoot-out. Spencer Pigot, 16, from Windermere and Felix Serralles, 17, from Haines City, each earned a fully funded season in the 2010 BFGoodrich/Skip Barber National Presented by Mazda, courtesy of MAZDASPEED Motorsports Development and the FIA Motor Sport Safety Development Fund.
Additionally, Nicolas Costa, 18, Brazil, was awarded a half-season in the Skip Barber National while drivers Mukul Sud, 24, Emeryville, Calif., and Sebastian Ordonez, 15, Aventura, Fla., were awarded full seasons in the Skip Barber Regional Race Series with Jesus Rios, 15, Miami Beach, Fla., earning a half-season in the Regional. In all, more that $250,000 in scholarships were awarded during the Shoot-out. Drivers spent four days participating in on-track activities under the watchful eyes of Skip Barber Racing School's instructor cadre, including past National Champions Grant Maiman (2002) and Gerardo Bonilla (2005) – and off-track activities including a day of road safety exercises with the Skip Barber Mazda Driving School, media training by Barbara Burns, noted motorsports public relations specialist and principal at Burns Group Unlimited and Jeremy Shaw, motorsports journalist and co-founder of Team USA Scholarship. Drivers participated in a mock interview with SPEED Formula 1 commentator Bob Varsha and attended a sponsorship seminar hosted by John Doonan, Team Development Manager for Mazda North America.
“This year's Shoot-out field was the most competitive we've had to date,” said Todd Snyder, VP of Competition for Skip Barber Racing School. “While the scoring was extremely close, the drivers selected distinguished themselves throughout the event by being both consistently quick in the racecar and personable out of it.”
Doonan added, “Each year, the Karting Shoot-out showcases the best young racers looking to move up to racecars, and this year was no exception. We welcome Spencer and Felix to the Mazda family and look forward to seeing how they progress this season.”
The Skip Barber Karting Scholarship Shoot-out has been responsible for launching the auto racing careers of dozens of top line drivers including A.J. Allmendinger, Scott Speed, Patrick Long, Ryan Hunter-Reay and Michael Valiante, as well as numerous others who have gone on to post significant achievements in racing. Two recent champions of the BFGoodrich/Skip Barber National Presented by Mazda – Joel Miller in 2007 and Connor DePhillippi in 2009 – won scholarships at previous Shoot-outs.
The 2010 BFGoodrich/Skip Barber National Presented by Mazda opens its 14-race season with rounds one and two at Homestead-Miami Speedway March 5-7, supporting the Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series and Continental Tire Sport Car Challenge. Before the season begins, Skip Barber will run its annual National Spring Training at Sebring, Jan. 28-29.