Mazda MX-5 Cup Shootout Finalists Announced
 October 8, 2021| 
  • Series News

October 8, 2021 – Mazda Motorsports has announced the 12 racers who will vie for three scholarships worth a combined $260,000 to go toward competing in the 2022 Idemitsu Mazda MX-5 Cup presented by BFGoodrich® Tires.


To add to the top scholarship valued at $110,000, two $75,000 scholarships were added last year and continue into this year’s event. As part of Mazda’s women’s initiative to expand opportunities for women in motorsports, at least one of the three winners will be female.


“Winning a Mazda Motorsports 2021 scholarship to race in MX-5 Cup helped me in ways I never expected,” commented Chris Nunes, a recipient of a $75,000 Shootout scholarship last year.  “Not only did it assist me in reaching my professional racing goals much sooner than I ever expected, it also has given me contacts that will be beneficial to further my career within the industry. The Mazda scholarship has also opened my eyes on how to be a successful business person and to communicate effectively with others. I really owe everything that has happened to me over the past year and beyond to Mazda Motorsports.”


This year’s 12 finalists were chosen from a group of 31 nominees. The group consisted primarily of top performers in SCCA Club Racing, the NASA Teen Mazda Challenge or the Spec MX-5 Challenge Series. Nominees submitted videos focused on their off-track efforts to help earn their spot in the Shootout.


Series partner Flis Performance will be on site with three MX-5 Cup cars plus engineers and data analysts. Flis will also manage the ballasting process for the cars to ensure the kind of parity that the series is known for, with hundreds of passes happening every race as well as razor-thin margins of victory.


Presenting sponsor BFGoodrich® Tires will also be on hand, providing support for the on-track activity as well as one set of tires per driver.


The MX-5 Cup Shootout Scholarship winners will be announced at the close of the competition on Thursday, October 21.


The finalists:


Aidan Fassnacht – Spec MX-5 Challenge

Alex Berg – Spec MX-5 Challenge & Spec Miata / Teen Mazda Challenge

Bryce Cornet – Spec MX-5 Challenge

Bryson Morris – Spec MX-5 Challenge / Teen Mazda Challenge

Clayton Ketcher – Spec Miata, Teen Mazda Challenge

Connor Zilisch – Spec MX-5 Challenge & Spec Miata

Grant West – Spec MX-5 Challenge

Jillian Fichter – Spec Miata

Laura Hayes – WRL

Michael Borden – Spec MX-5 Challenge

Michele Abbate – SCCA, WRL & Trans Am

Wyatt Couch – Spec MX-5 Challenge / Teen Mazda Challenge

*Due to significant professional experience, Michele Abbate is not eligible for the $110,000-valued scholarship intended to help a club racer advanced to pro racing, but is eligible for the Women in Motorsports scholarship. Note: Laura Hayes and Jillian Fichter are eligible for any of the three scholarships.

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