San Diego, CA- It’s been a long three weeks since I’ve been in a USF2000 racecar, so what better way to deal with the withdrawal than by writing a blog reminiscing on how the season went. My last few write-ups were primarily focused on our results for the weekend, but this time I want to touch mainly on the support from Mazda Motorsports and what it was like to be a Mazda Scholarship driver within the Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship powered by Mazda.
It is truly hard to describe the amount of support that you get from Mazda Motorsports outside of the actual monetary investments that they make in you. I’m an only child but the best way I could describe it is it’s as if you had a “big brother” looking out for your best interests throughout the season, making sure that every opportunity is seized upon. They really make sure that you can achieve your highest potential and give you advice as to what they would do - everything from career advice, business and social media tips, and driver coaching. The amount of support I received was overwhelming and our success this year would not have been possible without their help.
There were quite a few unique opportunities that came with the scholarship as well. I was able to drive the parade car at Barber Motorsports Park and Indianapolis Motor Speedway, go to dinners with series sponsors, and even do a Q&A session with the media with the likes of Will Power, Scott Dixon, and Spencer Pigot at St. Petersburg. All of which was completely unexpected when I initially won the scholarship. More surprises occurred throughout the season such as when I was invited into the team operations while at the Long Beach Grand Prix.
Another great aspect of the Mazda Scholarship program, going back to the funding, is that it gives you a year to focus on your next program. This gave us an extra season to focus on raising a full budget to compete in USF2000 again in 2017 with the new Tatuus USF-17. This extra time was crucial for our current program as we were able to raise funding to do some private testing and participate in the Chris Griffis Test at Indianapolis Motor Speedway this past weekend.
Again, this season would not have happened without all of the financial, career, and moral support that Mazda has given me. They were the backbone to our 2016 program and the springboard to 2017. To Jade, Jim, Joel, Kyle, and Mr. Doonan, I sincerely thank you for all of your help this past year, and I will be working harder than ever to win the Championship next year so that I can be your scholarship driver again.
All the best,