Four Winners of the 2015 Group Driver Advancement Program Announced
Mazda Road to Indy and MAXSpeed Group are pleased to announce the winners of the Driver Advancement Program for 2015.
Now in its second year, the program aims to promote a true ladder system from the grassroots of karting to the upper echelon of motorsports in North America. The four drivers will be given the opportunity to complete a Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda one-day test during off-season series testing.
The winners are:
• Trenton Estep, 15 of San Antonio, Texas
• Kyle Kirkwood, 16, of Jupiter, Florida
• Luke Shanahan, 17, of Dallas, Texas
• Rinus Van Kalmthout, 15, of Hoofddorp, Netherlands
All have participated in MAXSpeed Entertainment promoted events in 2015.
Through a selection process that narrowed applicants down to 12 finalists, the candidates then participated in in-depth videoconference interviews with a four-judge panel including Verizon IndyCar Series drivers Josef Newgarden and Simon Pagenaud, Andersen Promotions COO Michelle Kish and MAXSpeed Group President Richard Boisclair.
“First of all, I want to thank Josef and Simon for their time in the selection process,” said Kish. “Their input was invaluable in what is always a tough decision. We are excited to give Trenton, Kyle, Luke and Rinus the opportunity to meet our teams and participate in our test next month at a fantastic circuit.”
The drivers will turn their first USF2000 laps at the Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas, during the Chris Griffis Memorial Test on November 21/22 with the support of both Mazda Road to Indy and MAXSpeed Group personnel.
“I have to say I am so incredibly proud of the program we have put together with Andersen Promotions and the Mazda Road to Indy,” said Boisclair. “To give MAXSpeed Entertainment drivers the opportunity to pursue their dreams is very rewarding. We had a talented pool of drivers submit applications and move on as the 12 finalists, which made for a difficult decision in choosing the four winners. Thank you to everyone who submitted an application for the 2015 program, and congratulations to Trenton, Kyle, Luke and Rinus.”
Sting Ray Robb, 14, of Payette, Idaho, was selected as first alternate should any scheduling conflicts arise with the winners.
Today’s announcement comes as MAXSpeed Entertainment’s inaugural season of the US Open series came to a close in Las Vegas, Nevada where Estep claimed the Rotax Junior championship title and Shanahan earned the Shifter Senior championship title. Van Kalmthout was honored as Rotax Senior Vice-Champion while Kirkwood earned the Florida Winter Tour and United States Rotax MAX Challenge Grand Nationals Rotax Senior MAX Championship titles earlier in 2015.
The partnership between the Mazda Road to Indy and MAXSpeed Group was announced in June 2014 to foster the next wave of up-and-coming drivers. Rotax is the largest racing series in the world in any form of motorsports with over 15,000 drivers competing each year.