HOMESTEAD, Fla. – Cape Motorsports will bring on the recognizable Soul Red paint scheme with the addition of Mazda scholarship award winners Oliver Askew and Anthony Martin for the first two levels of the Mazda Road to Indy presented by Cooper Tires.
Askew joins on for the 2017 season in Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship powered by Mazda, the first rung of the MRTI ladder sanctioned by INDYCAR. Martin, the 2016 USF2000 champ, moves up to a Cape entry in the Pro Mazda Championship presented by Cooper Tires.
A 20-year-old from Jupiter, Fla., Askew won the $200,000 Mazda Road to Indy Shootout last year at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, which qualifies the winner for an opportunity for a seat in USF2000.
Also a Team USA Scholarship winner, Askew took the honor and finished as the 2016 runner-up for the prestigious Walter Hayes Trophy Grand Finale at the Silverstone Circuit in England. The scholarship also allowed him to compete at the MRTI shootout.
With spring training this week at Homestead-Miami Speedway for the entire Mazda Road to Indy, Askew showcased what could be in store for the upcoming season when it kicks off March 10-12 at the Grand Prix of St. Petersburg. Askew led five of six sessions in the No. 3 Cape Motorsports Mazda/Tatuus USF-17. He was the only driver to run a lap under the 1 minute, 24 seconds around the 2.21-mile road course (1:23.9142, 94.811 mph).
“The team at Cape Motorsports have helped me a lot with this next step,” said Askew, making the fulltime jump to formula cars after racing in karts since age 7. “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.”
Askew added that the chance to win the MRTI shootout already had him looking ahead to taking home wins and championships. He believes being with Cape Motorsports – winner of 10 titles, including six consecutive in USF2000 – is the perfect place to do just that.
“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.”
Martin, the talented 22-year-old Aussie, earned a $363,000 Mazda scholarship after claiming the 2016 USF2000 championship with Cape Motorsports. A winner of seven USF2000 races in 2016, Martin elected to return to the team that helped him claim the title and take the next step in the ladder to Pro Mazda.
“Winning the Mazda scholarship meant everything to me,” Martin said. “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.”
Team co-owner Dominic Cape has seen many young drivers come and go after finding success in his program, but admitted to being “extremely happy” that Martin would be returning.
“We had a great year with Anthony in 2016 and we saw him grow as a driver into a true champion,” Cape said. “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.”
Spring training at Homestead concludes today with a full day of road-course testing for the top level of the MRTI ladder, Indy Lights presented by Cooper Tires. Live timing and scoring is available at racecontrol.indycar.com.
The seasons for all three MRTI levels open March 10-12 with doubleheader races at the Grand Prix of St. Petersburg.