Drivers up for $260,000 in scholarships to race Mazda MX-5 Cup

By J.A. Ackley
Oct 13, 2022 | Sebring International Raceway, Mazda MX-5 Cup, Jared Thomas, Connor Zilisch

Photo credit: Courtesy Mazda MX-5 Cup

Twelve drivers will compete for $260,000 in scholarships at the Mazda MX-5 Cup Shootout. The money will fund them racing in the Mazda MX-5 Cup.

The top prize awards $110,000, with two additional $75,000 scholarships offered. One driver will be selected as part of Mazda’s Women’s Initiative.

The program has a proven track record of finding talent. Last year’s finalist, Connor Zilisch, won the 2022 MX-5 Cup Rookie of the Year, and missed the championship by 10 points. The MX-5 Cup champion, Jared Thomas, was a 2019 finalist.

[Jared Thomas wins Mazda MX-5 Cup title with Lemons of Love car]

The 12 finalists were chosen from a pool of nominees who were either automatically qualified by winning a championship in NASA, SCCA Club Racing or Spec MX-5 Challenge, or by an at-large nomination from their peers. Those nominees also submitted videos, focusing on their off-track efforts and business acumen, to earn their spot in the Shootout.

On November 9-10 at Sebring International Raceway, the finalists will be whittled down to three in the Mazda MX-5 Cup Shootout. The MX-5 Cup Shootout judges finalists not only by lap times. A driver’s ability to review data, apply feedback and improve will also be considered. In addition, interviews with the judges will determine their potential to be a brand ambassador.

2023 MX-5 Cup Shootout Finalists

  • Alex Berg – Spec MX-5 Challenge & Spec Miata / NASA Teen Mazda Challenge (at-large)
  • Alexander Searle – Spec MX-5 Challenge (at-large)
  • Clayton Ketcher – Spec Miata, NASA Teen Mazda Challenge (at-large)
  • Grant West – Spec MX-5 Challenge (at-large)
  • Heather Hadley – Legends (at-large)
  • Laurin Brallier – Spec Miata (at-large)
  • Nate Cicero – Spec MX-5 Challenge (at-large)
  • Nathan Saxon – Spec MX-5 Challenge (at-large)
  • Sydney McKee – Spec Miata (at-large)
  • Thomas Annunziata – Spec MX-5 Challenge (at-large & automatic)
  • Westin Workman – Spec MX-5 Challenge (at-large)
  • Wyatt Couch – Spec MX-5 Challenge, Spec Miata (at-large & automatic)
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