SBRS: CHAMPCAR/CART: Skip Barber steps up to help karters again

Skip Barber has teamed up with Champ Car driver Bryan Herta and Hollis Brown, of Las Vegas Karting Center, to create a program that will bridge the gap between karting and CART. The inaugural effort, called the “Championship Auto Racing Teams ...

Skip Barber has teamed up with Champ Car driver Bryan Herta and Hollis Brown, of Las Vegas Karting Center, to create a program that will bridge the gap between karting and CART. The inaugural effort, called the “Championship Auto Racing Teams Stars of Tomorrow,” will identify and showcase future racing stars of the FedEx Championship Series.

This program will be in addition to Skip Barber Racing School’s own Karting Scholarships. Every year, Skip Barber offers over $1-million per year in scholarships to aspiring racers. Nearly $100,000 worth of scholarships are awarded exclusively to Karters. For Skip Barber, participating in the Stars of Tomorrow program is yet another effort to help young racers reach their full potential.

Team Rahal, Firestone Racing and Skip Barber Racing School will work with CART officials to provide top, young drivers from the karting community with an opportunity to test drive a Team-Rahal Champ Car. The kart racing challenge will be held the weekend following the CART FedEx Championship Series season-finale, November 3-5 at the Las Vegas Karting Center.

“We are always very pleased to be involved in programs that help young drivers to achieve their dreams of racing professionally,” said Barber. “In addition to our own karting scholarships, the program that Bryan and Hollis have created provides yet another opportunity for karters to show their talent in front of people who may have an affect on their careers” he added.

Brian Herta, himself a Skip Barber graduate, was instrumental in pulling together the elements to build the program.

“The open-wheel community has really come forward to support this event,” said Herta. He continued, “With Bobby [Rahal] donating a test in the Team Rahal Champ Car, Skip Barber giving school packages, Bridgestone/Firestone becoming the official tire and class sponsor and CART lending its name and support, this is a first in karting. We want to change the motorsports climb to fame while helping our sport to grow.”

The karting weekend will be structured like a Champ Car race with practice on Friday, qualifying on Saturday and racing on Sunday. The three most popular classes have been chosen to attract the best young drivers from age 16 and up; Pro 125 Gearbox, Pro 80 Gearbox and Pro Superbox. Additionally, there will be a Junior Superbox Class and a Pro/Celebrity Invitational, matching Champ Car drivers and racers from the entertainment industry.

Five drivers from the senior classes -- the three race winners plus the two “at large” picks chosen by a panel of Champ Car drivers including Paul Tracy and Skip Barber grad, Memo Gidley -- will be awarded the title “Championship Auto Racing Teams Stars of Tomorrow.” The winners will participate in a Skip Barber Three Day Racing School culminating in a test in the Team Rahal Champ Car.

Herta clearly sees the value of the Skip Barber program.

“Skip has really led the way in helping young drivers in the early steps,” said Herta, who won the 1991 Barber Pro Series Championship and the Career Enhancement Award. He continued, “His current program is one of the best opportunities available for young drivers.”

- Andrew Torres

Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Series IndyCar , Kart , Other open wheel
Drivers Memo Gidley , Bryan Herta , Skip Barber , Brian Herta