NASA Announces Expanded Teen Mazda Challenge Program for 2019
Designed to be a driver development program and the first rung on the ladder to professional sports car racing, the NASA Teen Mazda Challenge has grown even more for the 2019 season. More drivers. More cars. More competition. New for 2019, the TMC has unveiled a new logo to be used for drivers’ suit patches and windshield banners, which will help identify the cars on track.
Drivers as young as 13 who wish to take their karting careers to the next level can sign up for the Teen Mazda Challenge and capitalize on the benefits and contingency prizes it offers.
“Teen Mazda Challenge isn’t necessarily a replacement for karting, but it is a great way to build upon the skills these young drivers learn in a kart,” said NASA Vice President Jeremy Croiset. “This is a one-of-a-kind program that can help drivers from age 13 to 20 line up with competitors from across the country to show they have what it takes to climb the motorsports ladder. That said, if drivers want to continue karting and also race in Teen Mazda Challenge, they can do that, too. The prize packages are the same for all TMC drivers.”
Mazda Motorsports will make each regional TMC champion eligible for nomination to the Mazda Road to 24 Shootout, which is typically held each November or December. The grand prize is a scholarship valued at $100,000 applicable to a season of racing in the Battery Tender Global Mazda MX-5 Cup presented by BFGoodrich Tires. The nominations will be based on regional points standings at the end of the TMC season on October 13. In addition to the opportunity to earn the MRT24 scholarship, Mazda Motorsports also offers contingency awards for each region. Visit MazdaMotorsports.com for contingency awards information.
“We are proud to partner with NASA, Toyo and Hawk in Teen Mazda Challenge to provide a unique opportunity to young drivers interested in trying their hands at sports car racing,” said David Cook, Business Development Manager for Mazda Motorsports. “Running with Spec Miata, this high-visibility series provides a proving ground of tough competition that can help propel drivers in becoming professional racecar drivers. Sports car racing offers some of the best odds for becoming a career pro driver, and TMC is certainly one of the best places to start or continue that journey.”
NASA Driver Advancement Scholarship
NASA will offer each TMC regional champion complimentary entry fees for a full season in Spec Miata racing for 2020 in any NASA region where there are three or more TMC competitors in at least half the races in that region. The significance of this benefit is that if a competitor doesn’t win the Mazda Road to 24 Shootout, he or she can return to competition in the Teen Mazda Challenge the following season to further develop his or her skills and get another opportunity to advance to the Shootout. These scholarships will be tallied after each NASA region has completed its full season of racing.
Toyo Tires Ron Cortez Memorial Award
In honor of TMC founder Ron Cortez, who passed away in January 2018, Toyo Tires created this unique rewards program. TMC regional competitors finishing in the three podium positions in their regions will be eligible for $1,000, $500, $300 in direct cash benefits to assist them with attending the NASA Championships. This will be open to all TMC competitors in all regions who run the five required races that make them eligible to race in the Championships.
These positions will be tallied according to regional points standings July 1, to give drivers a chance to prepare for the Championships September 18-22 at the Mid-Ohio Sportscar Course in Mansfield, Ohio.
In addition, Toyo Tires awards the top finishing TMC competitor at the 2019 NASA Championships with $2,500 regardless of overall finishing position.
Hawk Performance Benefits
The top five finishing TMC competitors at the NASA Championships will be eligible for $400 in product certificates that will assist them in purchasing brake pads for the season.
More details may be released as the season progresses.