Karters Complete First Day at Skip Barber Racing School Karting Shootout

Saturday, December 04, 2010 Yesterday, the forty-four young karters came together at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca to compete for the 14th Annual Skip Barber Karting Shootout for $200,000 in scholarships for the 2011 race season. In the first of the four day competition, the karters were split up into four groups and rotated stations throughout the day.

In the Skip Barber Racing School classroom building, the aspiring race car drivers were individually interviewed by on air Speed Channel personality Bob Varsha and Team USA Scholarship founder Jeremy Shaw. Through these dialogs, Varsha and Shaw were able to get to know the drivers and assess their public speaking and interview skills. Karters will be able to take home a video copy of their interview to critique and learn from far after this event.

Danilo Estrela in an interview with Jeremy Shaw

The other three stations were dedicated to car control and driving safety, something that is critical to teenagers today. In the second station, karters sat in on a highway safety course taught by Skip Barber Racing’s own Randy Buck. Because several of these karters are too young to earn their driver’s license, there is still much they need to learn about every day driving. On behalf of the FIA Institute for Motorsport Safety Development and Safety, each driver was given a Skip Barber Racing One Day New Driver School to take back to their community to promote driver safety.

In the third station, drivers strapped into Mazda MX-5’s and drove on a purpose built autocross course with a Skip Barber Racing School instructor by their side, constantly giving them tips and pointers. From there, karters jumped out of the MX-5’s and into Mazda RX-8’s to drive on the skid pad at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. With the help of the sprinkler equipped of the skid pad, drivers were able to learn proper slides and recoveries and car control.

Instructor Grant Maiman with a young karter on the autocross

A young karter having fun learning how to recover from slides on the skid pad

The final activities of day included drivers receiving an on track orientation with instructors Kris Wilson and Mikel Miller. Drivers not only were able to become familiar with the track as a whole, but also specifically at each corner. Finally, the young karters were able to get into and familiarize themselves with the Formula Skip Barber open wheel race cars by receiving seat time on a super auto cross.

A young karter in the Formula Skip Barber Car on the super auto cross

At the end of the day, Skip Barber Racing School staff, Bob Varsha, Jeremy Shaw, MAZDASPEED Communications Officer Dean Case were all incredibly impressed with the overall behavior and performance of the young karters. “It’s an impressive group of young racers,” said Case. “I don’t envy the tasks the judges have ahead of them in choosing the scholarship winners.”

Karters Franco Aragones, Trent Hindman, Sebastian Ordonez and Zach Silver

This morning, the young karters were well rested and anxious to start the second day of festivities. This morning, the drivers will be attending several seminars discussing media training and sponsorship. In the afternoon, they will be able to take the Formula Skip Barber vehicles on track for the first time of the weekend. As the event continues, stay up to date on all the action by visiting Through twitter, LIVE photos and updates will be available throughout the entire event, keeping followers, fans and sponsors more involved and informed than before.

Photos and words by Kelly Brouillet

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