Reigning Formula Enterprises SCCA National Champion Nick Evans, of Hilliard, Ohio, will race in the 2010 SCCA Pro Racing Playboy Mazda MX-5 Cup after winning the Mazda MX-5 Cup Shootout.
From a pool of 13 Mazda champions, Evans was one of five drivers selected to compete in the third-annual shootout. The field was narrowed to five after each finalist submitted a business proposal to a panel of judges to demonstrate their potential to master the business and marketing side of the sport.
On Nov. 17, the five finalists traveled to Buttonwillow Raceway to put their race craft on display. A panel of experienced motorsports professionals carefully scrutinized each candidate's driving skill, data analysis, technical feedback, business acumen and professional poise. When the final decision came down, the panel chose 20-year-old Evans to join the MAZDASPEED Motorsports Development Driver ladder program.
"After hearing the news, I was speechless," Evans said. "All I could say was 'thank you!' I felt so relieved once I won the shootout and for the opportunity to begin my professional racing career with Mazda. I put an enormous effort into the shootout and it paid off. This is really a defining moment in my life. The MAZDASPEED development ladder is truly awesome and puts me on a path to get me where I want to go. I will soon be battling with the veterans of American sports car racing and I can't wait. Bring on 2010!"
Evans' prize is valued at more than $75,000. It includes $50,000 to run his car for the 2010 MX-5 Cup season, $10,000 in parts support, a custom Sparco driving suit and helmet, professional media training courtesy of MAZDASPEED, 10 sets of BFGoodrich tires (one per race) courtesy of BFGoodrich and 10 entry fee waivers courtesy of SCCA Pro Racing.
"This is annually one of the most rewarding yet difficult days for Mazda," MAZDASPEED Competition Manager Steve Sanders said. "We have so many talented club racers, it's a huge challenge for the judges to pick just one. We are looking forward to working with Nick in 2010 and would not be surprised to see the other finalists on the grid for MX-5 Cup in 2010, or at the shootout again next year."
Evans, a biology major and pre-med student at Ohio State University joins Andrew Caddell, Brad Rampelberg and Justin Piscitell on the list of MX-5 Cup shootout winners.
For more information on the SCCA Pro Racing Playboy Mazda MX-5 Cup, visit www.mx-5cup.com