RANCHO SANTA MARGARITA, Calif. – Matthew Brabham, Jack Mitchell, Jr. and Tristan Nunez have been selected as the latest winners of prestigious Team USA Scholarships.
The three American teenagers will follow in the footsteps of a long list of illustrious former winners, including Jimmy Vasser, Bryan Herta, Buddy Rice, Andy Lally, Charlie Kimball, J.R. Hildebrand and Josef Newgarden and will represent a wide swathe of the American racing industry in a variety of races in England over the course of the next two months.
The selections were made at the conclusion of an exhaustive process that included a round of interviews held during the IndyCar/American Le Mans Series weekend at Mid-Ohio and subsequent on-track evaluations both on state-of-the-art full-motion CXC Simulators at Seat Time, LLC in Santa Monica, Calif., and aboard composite-chassis Allen Berg Racing Schools Formula Renault FR1600 cars at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, Calif.
“The future of auto racing in this country is in good hands,” said Team USA Scholarship founder Jeremy Shaw. “The standard of driving during our shootout process was predictably high and all of candidates should be proud of their achievements. It is gratifying to know that contributions from a broad cross-section of the American racing industry have made it possible for us to offer these opportunities to some very talented youngsters.”
Brabham, 18, who recently clinched the Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda, earning a Mazda Road to Indy Scholarship to graduate into the 2013 Star Mazda Championship Presented by Goodyear, traveled to England this past weekend to begin preparations for his European debut.
Brabham will contest the final two rounds of the Formula Renault BARC UK Championship on the Silverstone National circuit on October 6/7. He will also challenge for the Formula Renault BARC Winter Series which will comprise two races on the famed Brands Hatch Grand Prix circuit on October 20/21 and two more races on the Rockingham International Sportscar Circuit on Nov. 10.
“I’m so happy and excited that I was picked for the Team USA Scholarship,” said Brabham, who was born in Florida and raised in Australia but has now moved back to the U.S. to follow the Mazda Road to Indy. “It’s really cool to be a part of such a prestigious program that has helped some very famous and talented drivers. To have my name next to theirs on the Team USA program is truly an honor and I am looking forward to representing the USA over in England. Already I have learned so much from the program and I am looking forward to developing further from this experience.”
Sixteen-year-olds Mitchell, from Chicago, Ill., and Nunez, from Boca Raton, Fla., are equally enthusiastic about their opportunity to fly the patriotic red, white and blue colors of the Team USA Scholarship in both the Formula Ford Festival at Brands Hatch on Oct. 27-28 and the following weekend’s Walter Hayes Trophy at Silverstone.
“I am thrilled to be selected for the 2012 Team USA Scholarship,” said Mitchell, who has proven to be a front-runner this year both in Skip Barber Racing School competition and the Ontario, Canada-based Toyo Tires F1600 Championship. “It has been a dream of mine since I started racing and I am extremely thankful for being given the opportunity to represent America at an international level. I look forward to driving two legendary European tracks and gaining valuable driving knowledge that I will undoubtedly utilize for the rest of my career. I have driven with Tristan Nunez in the Skip Barber Race Series and I look forward to driving with him again. Thank you Jeremy Shaw, the RRDC, SAFEisFAST.com and everyone else who supports Team USA for making my dream a reality.”
“To have been chosen for Team USA is such an honor and a dream come true for me,” added Nunez, who is within a few points of clinching the IMSA Cooper Tires Prototype Lites Championship after winning 10 of the 12 races held so far. “It will be an experience of a lifetime to compete in England and represent the USA. I am really excited to get back to open-wheel racing and I hope to give those Europeans a run for their money! I want to humbly thank all that were involved in the selection process because I am sure that it wasn’t an easy decision based on the talent of the other finalists.”
Both programs will be run by Corby, England-based Cliff Dempsey Racing.