Nominees Named for 2023 Mazda MX-5 Cup Shootout

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Nominees Named for 2023 Mazda MX-5 Cup Shootout

SRO VIR 2022

(October 5, 2023) – Continuing a nearly two-decade running tradition, Mazda Motorsports will once again stage a MX-5 Cup Shootout to help aspiring racers connect talent with opportunity in 2023. Nominees eligible for the 2023 Mazda MX-5 Cup Shootout have been named and are one step closer to a scholarship valued at $110,000.

Building on a selection process that has proven successful through the years, the nominees are a combination of automatic and at-large selections. Automatic selections are those drivers who have won a club racing national championship (NASA, SCCA or Spec MX-5 Challenge) in a Mazda-powered vehicle. At-large nominees are drivers who haven’t won a national championship, but have shown exceptional racing talent, not necessarily in a Mazda-powered car, or even in sports cars.

Success in motorsports requires a driver who delivers both in and out of the cockpit, so Mazda’s selection process focuses on much more than just fast laps. Each nominee is invited to submit a video application to become a finalist. These applications must include each driver’s plan to create a long-lasting racing career, including how they would attract additional funding.

“It’s encouraging to see the pool of talented Mazda racers grow year-after year,” Mazda Motorsports Senior Manager Jonathan Applegate said. “The response to this program continues to be impressive and even though that makes it very difficult to get down to 12 finalists, it is really encouraging to see the level of professionalism and raw talent that are interested in making the most of this opportunity. The MX-5 Cup Shootout has produced some very deserving winners and champions and we anticipate the same thing this year.”

Nominees have a week to submit their applications to Mazda Motorsports.

Drivers selected as finalists will be invited to participate in the MX-5 Cup Shootout. There, Mazda will not only name the winner of a $110,000 scholarship to compete in MX-5 Cup in 2024, but also a $75,000 scholarship for the runner-up and a $75,000 scholarship for the top female driver.

Last year’s Shootout winner, Nate Cicero, is going into the final two races of the season leading the Rookie of the Year standings and is within reach of a top-three finish in the championship.

2023 Mazda MX-5 Cup Shootout Nominees 

At-large nominees:

  • AJ Zarcone – Spec MX-5 / NASA Teen Mazda
  • Antonio Abrom – Spec Miata
  • Austin Varco – Spec Miata
  • Boris Said Jr – Spec Miata
  • Brennan Stammer – Spec Miata / NASA Teen Mazda
  • Cam Ebben – Spec Miata / Spec MX-5
  • Camden Gruber – Spec Miata / Spec MX-5
  • Chase Jones – Spec MX-5
  • Chloe Lynch
  • Christian Braunlich – Touring 4
  • Don Squirek – Spec MX-5
  • Emily Atenas
  • Ethan Barker
  • Frankie Barroso – Spec Miata
  • Hannah Greenemeier – F4
  • Joshua Soto
  • Julian DaCosta – Spec Miata
  • Junior Brock – Spec Miata
  • Laurin Brallier – Spec Miata
  • Maddie Aust – TC America
  • Mark Polunin – Spec Miata / NASA Teen Mazda
  • Morgan Burkhard
  • Nathan Nicholson – Spec MX-5
  • Nathan Saxon – Spec MX-5
  • Nicholas Leone – Spec MX-5
  • Nico Bratz – Spec MX-5
  • Noah Harmon – Spec MX-5 / Spec Miata
  • Reid Sweeney – Spec MX-5
  • Rowan Gill – Spec MX-5 / Spec Miata
  • Sally Mott
  • Taylor Ferns – USAC
  • Uthman Alaoui – Spec Miata / NASA Teen Mazda
  • Westin Workman – Spec MX-5
  • Will Robusto – Spec MX-5
  • Wyatt Couch – Spec MX-5 / Spec Miata

Automatic Nominees:

  • Alex Bertagnoli – Spec MX-5 Champion
  • Aryton Grim- NASA Teen Mazda (Great lakes)
  • Cam Ebben – Northern Divisional Champion SCCA first gear
  • Charles Russell Turner – FE2 SCCA Champion
  • Christian Sarnecki – Northeast Divisional Champion SCCA first gear
  • Cooper Hicks – NASA Teen Mazda (CA/Southern)
  • David Moreno – Great lakes Divisional Champion SCCA first gear
  • Ethan Lampe- NASA Teen Mazda (CA/Northern)
  • Hayden Manis – NASA Teen Mazda (Mid Atlantic)
  • Logan Strech – Southern Divisional Champion SCCA first gear
  • Michael Carter* – NASA Spec Miata Champion
  • Nick Bruni* & Preston Pardus* – Spec Miata, SCCA Runoffs
  • Raiden Nicol – Southeast Divisional Champion SCCA first gear
  • Todd Vanacore – P1 SCCA Runoffs national champion

*Due to significant professional experience, Nick Bruni, Preston Pardus and Michael Carter (SCCA & NASA Spec Miata National Champion) are not eligible for the Shootout