The IZOD IndyCar Series and Skip Barber Racing School are teaming up to complete the Mazda Road to Indy driver development ladder by making Skip Barber Racing School the official racing school of the IZOD IndyCar Series and by announcing the creation of the Skip Barber IndyCar Academy.
Skip Barber Racing School has a 37-year history of training, developing and elevating the best young drivers in the world and the new Skip Barber IndyCar Academy continues that tradition which has advanced four generations of drivers to the pinnacle of motorsports. Now more than ever the Mazda Road to Indy starts at Skip Barber Racing School.
Eligibility for the Skip Barber IndyCar Academy is simple: graduate from one Skip Barber 3-Day Formula Car Racing School in 2012 . There is no age-limit to participate in the program, but individuals must meet the following criteria to be nominated for the Skip Barber IndyCar Academy:
- No professional racing experience
- No karting experience
From there, the school's acclaimed instructors nominate a select group of students from which 33 individuals will be chosen annually, based purely on their talent and potential for acceptance into the Skip Barber IndyCar Academy. The nominees then receive additional instruction and evaluation in an intense shootout elimination competition where the finalists square off for the grand prize – a fully sponsored entry in either the summer or winter Skip Barber Racing Series in 2013.
Additionally, nominees will also receive financial incentive for advanced racing activities before the Skip Barber IndyCar Academy Shootout. Competing in the Skip Barber Racing Series makes it possible to have a shot at the year-end Skip Barber shootout and a chance for sponsored advancement down the Mazda Road to Indy, which includes the USF2000, Star Mazda and Indy Lights series.
“IndyCar racing is about attracting the best to compete against the best, with the world watching,” said IZOD IndyCar President and CEO Randy Bernard. “Skip Barber Racing School, the Skip Barber IndyCar Academy and the Mazda Road to Indy presents an incredibly accessible way for talented open wheel drivers to make their dreams come true based on pure talent not cubic dollars.”
“The Skip Barber IndyCar Academy completes the Mazda Road to Indy, helping make professional motorsports accessible,” said John Doonan, director of Motorsports at Mazda North American Operations. “Mazda is excited to complete and enhance our motorsports ladder program with this announcement of the launch of the Skip Barber IndyCar Academy. This program will continue the tradition of the IZOD IndyCar Series being the place for the best drivers in the world to compete.”
“Skip Barber Racing School is committed to continue to be the launching pad for many of the world's top drivers, and the Skip Barber IndyCar Academy is another tremendous opportunity to discover those drivers who will be the next generation of the best of the best,” added Skip Barber Racing School CEO Michael Culver. “IndyCar superstars like Marco and Michael Andretti, Helio Castroneves, Bryan Herta, Ryan Hunter-Reay, Tony Kanaan and James Hinchliffe have all benefited from Skip Barber Racing School programs, and the Skip Barber IndyCar Academy is another chance for those who desire to race professionally to achieve their goals based on merit not money.”
In addition to the Skip Barber IndyCar Academy, Skip Barber Racing School also provides two other paths for drivers to enter the Mazda Road to Indy. For karters, Skip Barber Racing School conducts the Skip Barber Racing School Karting Shootout, currently scheduled for November, which allows kart racers to transition to Formula Skip Barber 2000 racecars. The winner of the Karting Shootout will win a fully sponsored entry in either the summer or winter Skip Barber Racing Series in 2013.
For individuals with prior racing experience, Skip Barber Racing School provides regional race series. Each year, Skip Barber Racing conducts 12-14 race weekends; six or seven double-race events for each of the two seasonal championships. Competing in the Skip Barber Racing Series makes it possible to have a shot at the year-end Skip Barber Race Series Champion shootout scheduled in November and a chance for sponsored advancement down the Mazda Road to Indy.
The 2012 Skip Barber IndyCar Academy kicks off in April 2012, with Skip Barber Racing School instructors handpicking numerous students per month from the Skip Barber 3-Day Formula Car Racing School for the Skip Barber IndyCar Academy. The last day of nominations for this year's Academy will be on Sept. 28, 2012. The winner will compete in the 2013 season in either the summer or winter Skip Barber Race Series.