IRVINE, Calif. – Anthony Martin and Oliver Askew, two Mazda driver development scholarship winners, will race with Cape Motorsports for the 2017 season in the Mazda Road to Indy Presented by Cooper Tires. Martin, the 2016 champion in the Cooper Tires USF2000 Powered by Mazda series, earned a scholarship to allow him to move up to the Pro Mazda Championship Presented by Cooper Tires this season. Askew won the $200,000 Mazda Road to Indy Shootout late last year, which brings him to the USF2000 series this season with Mazda backing. The season-opening event for the entire Mazda Road to Indy takes place March 10 - 12 at St. Petersburg, Fla.
Cape Motorsports, based in St. Petersburg, Fla., has a sparkling record in the Mazda Road to Indy, including an incredible 10 championships - and six consecutive titles - in the USF2000 series. Owned and operated by brothers Dominic and Nicholas Cape, the team has more than two decades of open-wheel racing experience.
Anthony Martin, 22, of Kalgoorlie, Australia, will make his Pro Mazda debut this year after a six-win season earned him last year’s USF2000 championship. Martin won the title with Cape, and will stay with the team for the next step of the Mazda Road to Indy ladder.
“Going with Cape Motorsports again was a quite easy decision,” said Martin. “I’m a loyal person and I really do love sticking with the boys. They’re a great team, and everything they have is second to none. I witnessed it all of last year, and I could not leave the team because the way they run the show is impeccable. I’ve never been a part of a team or a family environment like this one.
“Winning the Mazda scholarship meant everything to me,” Martin said, while describing the overwhelming response in his home country. “It was an immense reaction. There was so much hype in Australia about me winning this championship, I had to go back to talk to a lot of the media back home, and see all my friends and family that were really supporting me and backing me. Winning the championship really opened up my eyes to the support I have and how many people were actually watching me and pushing me to do the best I can over here.”
“We’re extremely happy to have Anthony compete on behalf of Cape Motorsports,” said Dominic Cape, team co-owner. “We had a great year with Anthony in 2016 and we saw him grow as a driver into a true champion. We feel confident that he will bring the momentum of his success in the USF2000 series into Pro Mazda. We would also like to thank Mazda for establishing the scholarship programs, along with the series and their partners. We look forward to the start of the 2017 season.”
“Anthony is a perfect example of a driver from across the globe who saw the Mazda Road to Indy as the best opportunity to climb the motorsports ladder,” said John Doonan, director of Mazda Motorsports. “Anthony is in a great position to help tell the Mazda story on multiple continents. Our colleagues at Mazda Australia have been able to tell his success story there, where Mazda has had great success in the marketplace. By choosing Cape Motorsports as his home for the 2017 Pro Mazda Championship, Anthony is leveraging his experience with his championship-winning family. All of us at Mazda wish him the best as he starts the new season with high hopes.”
Oliver Askew, 20, of Jupiter, Fla., began racing karts at age seven and burst upon the open-wheel racing scene last year when he was selected for the Team USA Scholarship, which he utilized to finish second in the prestigious Walter Hayes Trophy Grand Finale at Silverstone, England. The Team USA honor also qualified him for the $200,000 Mazda Road to Indy Shootout, a competition among championship-winning drivers from around the world. Askew won the event, thus earning a Mazda scholarship for his first full season in the USF2000 series.
“The team at Cape Motorsports have helped me a lot with this next step,” said Askew. “I’ve learned so much in the last month of testing with them preparing for this year. It’s a big opportunity for me and I want to maximize that. With Cape Motorsports, everything is possible, as they're one of the best teams in the paddock and I’m very happy to be with them.”
“As soon as I won the Shootout, I was thinking about the championship and winning races,” said Askew. “This is my opportunity, so I want to make it easier on myself going into next year to win the USF2000 title and earn another season scholarship from Mazda. I’m very fortunate right now to have this opportunity from Mazda.”
Askew was also quick to credit his teammate, Martin.
“[Anthony has been] extremely helpful,” said Askew. “We’re not competing against one another, so it makes it easier for us to compare notes. He’s been through it all in USF2000 with this team, so I can bounce everything off of him. We’re good friends too.”
"We are delighted to have Oliver on our team,” offered Nicholas Cape, co-owner of Cape Motorsports. “He is an exceptional young man and has an extremely bright future ahead of him. He has everything we look for in a driver. It’s been a year in the making getting Oliver in our car and he has impressed us during the initial tests and we’re really looking forward to seeing him race. We are also very proud to be representing the first Mazda Road to Indy Shootout winner, and would like to thank Mazda for all their support. It’s really quite remarkable what they do to support young drivers."
“The success of the $200,000 Mazda Road to Indy Shoot-out was way beyond our expectations,” said Mazda’s Doonan. “We knew we were breaking new ground by bringing drivers from all over the world and that it would be good… but it turned out to be fantastic. Everyone at Mazda was blown away by it, and especially Oliver.
“We’re proud to welcome him to the Mazda family. With the new Tatuus USF-17 chassis debuting, the 2017 season is very much up for grabs, but by choosing to compete with Cape Motorsports, Oliver has put himself in a position for early success. Based on nearly three dozen of the new USF-17 cars being sold, the entire Mazda Road to Indy is in for a real treat in this championship.”
“It is a great honor to have both scholarship drivers compete on behalf of Cape Motorsports,” Dominic Cape said. “The support that Mazda gives young drivers is truly remarkable, and we would like to thank Mazda and John Doonan for establishing the scholarship programs. There is nothing quite like this anywhere in the world. We look forward to debuting both Soul Red cars at our home race in Saint Petersburg next week.”
Mazda Motorsports boasts the most comprehensive auto racing development ladder system of any auto manufacturer in the world. The Mazda Road to 24 (#MRT24) program offers a number of scholarships to advance drivers up the sports car racing ladder, beginning with the Global MX-5 Cup series and culminating with the Mazda Prototype team. The Mazda Road to Indy (#MRTI) is a similar program that includes Mazda-powered categories of USF2000, Pro Mazda and Indy Lights. In grassroots road racing, more Mazdas race on any given weekend in North America than any other manufacturer. Mazda is also the title sponsor of the renowned Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca in Monterey, Calif. Follow all of the latest news at MazdaMotorsports.com, @MazdaRacing on Twitter, and MazdaMotorsports on Instagram and Facebook.