Australian FFord champ McElrea wins $200K Scholarship
Hunter McElrea will compete for next year’s USF2000 championship after beating 18 competitors to earn the third annual Mazda Road to Indy $200K Scholarship Shootout.
The California-born, Australia-based New Zealander who scored 13 wins from 21 races in Australian Formula Ford this year, impressed judges Tom Long, Andrew Carbonell, Victor Franzoni and Oliver Askew during the two-day shootout at Wild Horse Pass MotorSports Park, home of the Bondurant Racing School.
Said McElrea: “This is definitely the most exciting opportunity that I have had in my racing career. I cannot thank Mazda and everyone enough for making this possible for me.
“The fact that I am going to be on the grid next year thanks to them is a dream come true. They have given me the opportunity to prove myself in such a high level that I never even thought I would be able to reach.
"I have to thank Andersen Promotions, Cooper Tires, all of the judges, everyone from Mazda, the Bondurant Racing School and the other competitors, who literally pushed me to the limit.”
Over the course of the two days, the 19 competitors from junior series around the world were whittled down to six finalists –Jake Craig, Michael Eastwell, Braden, Flinn Lazier, Ross Martin and McElrea – who then competed in a qualifying session and a 30-minute simulated race.
“Running these shootouts is a very important part of who Mazda is, supporting young drivers,” added John Doonan, director of Mazda Motorsports, for whom this marked the end of an 11-year term backing the Road To Indy program.
“It is very important for who the brand is and we have done it for many years. Even in the future when our relationship with the Mazda Road to Indy is going to be modified, we are still going to support young drivers.
"For today, we are very happy and proud of Hunter and all of the drivers.”
The full list of Official Feeder Series for 2019 and details on the fourth annual $200,000 Shootout will be confirmed in the coming weeks.