Indianapolis 500 winner Gil De Ferran will lead the judging panel tasked with selecting the two drivers who will win the Team USA Scholarship and head to the UK later this year to compete in the Formula Ford Festival and Walter Hayes Trophy.
Six drivers will contest the annual Scholarship shootout later this week hosted by Cooper Tires and the Lucas Oil School of Racing at Palm Beach International Raceway, with former winners including current Verizon IndyCar Series stars Josef Newgarden, Conor Daly and Spencer Pigot.
De Ferran, the 2000 and 2001 Champ Car champion and 2003 Indy 500 winner, will be joined on the judging panel by former scholarship winner Tristan Nunez, four-time PWC champion Lawson Aschenbach, IndyCar driver RC Enerson and the scholarship founder Jeremy Shaw amongst others.
The Team USA Scholars have enjoyed success in their British forays in recent times, with Newgarden and Daly winning the Festival and Walter Hayes respectively in 2008, while the latter competition has also been won by Connor de Philippi (2009) and Nunez (2012).
This year’s finalists are recently-crowned Pacific F2000 Champion Tim de Silva (20 y/o), Formula Masters China competitor Oliver Askew (19), Skip Barber Racing Summer Series front-runner Andre Castro (17), USF2000 Rookie of the Year Robert Megennis (16) and F4 U.S. Championship title contenders Konrad Czaczyk (19) and Kyle Kirkwood (17).
“It is funny how life comes around,” said de Ferran. “It seems like yesterday it was me who was being scrutinized for a chance to join a prestigious racing program! I want to thank Jeremy for the honor of selecting me to help choose a worthy candidate for ‘Team USA.’ It is a responsibility which I will take as seriously as anything else I have done in my career.”
“I am thrilled to lend my support to the Team USA Scholarship program,” added fellow judge, Starworks Motorsport Team Principal Peter Baron. “I admire all the efforts the program has done and it is quite amazing to see the results from the list of winners since its inception! I look forward to passing on any knowledge I have to assist in promoting the future American stars of racing.”
The Formula Ford Festival takes place at Brands Hatch over the weekend of October 22/23, with the Walter Hayes Trophy following at Silverstone on November 5/6.