Courtesy of Dunlop MSA Formula Ford Championship of Great Britain
Mazda Road To Indy Formula Ford Driver of the Year Harrison Scott tries USF2000 and Pro Mazda cars in the USA
Formula Ford Scholarship Class Champion Harrison Scott is on his way back from the USA after a successful two-day Mazda Road To Indy test at the Barber Motorsports Park in Birmingham, Alabama. The Essex-based 17-year-old won the fully funded trip thanks to his stellar performances in his first season of car-racing in the Dunlop MSA Formula Ford Championship of Great Britain.
Harrison spent one day with race-winning USF2000 team Afterburner Autosport and another at the wheel of a Pro Mazda chassis prepared by the JDC MotorSports squad, whose cars have propelled three drivers to the championship title.
Scott enjoyed the tests: “It was a great experience, and I am thankful for the opportunity. My first day’s running in the USF2000 car was hampered a bit by the weather – there was torrential rain the day before and for the first session the track was very wet… not ideal conditions for learning a new car, but I got to grips with the H-pattern gearbox fairly quickly and was soon doing respectable lap times. It was dry in the afternoon and I made good progress despite a small off.
“An electrical problem meant that I only managed two laps in the first Pro Mazda session and that I had to learn the car in the second session as well as try to set a time. I found it had a lot more aerodynamic grip and power than I’m used to, but I got on well and was running around eighth while everyone was on used tyres. Unfortunately my hopes of setting a good time on fresh tyres were ruined when the red flags came out.
“Overall, it was food for thought for my future… Racing in the States is certainly something we are looking at for next year and it was valuable to have the chance to get a feel for the cars.”
Scott enjoyed a superb debut season in car-racing with the Falcon Motorsport team. There were 13 class wins en route to the Scholarship title, 16 appearances on the overall podium as he sped to championship second, and he scored his debut outright race victory at Silverstone towards the end of the year.
Scott was selected for the Mazda Road to Indy test from championship nominees by a panel of UK and US racing experts as not only the driver with the most promise but also the one who would gain the most from being named the Mazda Road To Indy Formula Ford Driver of the Year.
The Mazda Road To Indy programme is part of INDYCAR’s development ladder system aimed at helping drivers graduate to the next level. This year’s USF2000 champion wins a scholarship to compete in the Pro Mazda Championship; the Pro Mazda champion wins a scholarship to race in Firestone Indy Lights; and the Indy Lights champion receives up to a $1 million scholarship to race in the IndyCar Series.
Among the Formula Ford graduates who have carved successful careers for themselves in Stateside racing is Josef Newgarden, who followed up on his 2009 Formula Ford championship second with an Indy Lights championship win and a regular seat with a top IndyCar team, racing alongside Formula Ford alumni Mike Conway and Charlie Kimball.