Over the past few months, NOLA Motorsports Park in New Orleans has hosted multiple different programs aimed at developing the future stars of professional motorsports. These drivers evolve from backgrounds such as karting, simulator racing and club level racing programs such as NASA.
This recent run of events began in November 2016 when NOLA hosted Mazda Motorsports Road to 24 Shootout where Matt Cresci beat out 7 other drivers for a $100,000 scholarship and seat in the 2017 Battery Tender Global Mazda MX-5 Cup presented by BFGoodrich Tires.
F4 is an entry level series aimed at moving drivers into open wheeled racing from other disciplines including karting. In February 2017, F4 hosted their first official test of the year at NOLA. 2017 will be the F4 United States Championship’s 2nd season and many of the teams used NOLA to test out new drivers including Mathias Soler who won the 2016 Lucas Oil School of Racing Formula Race Series, which also visited NOLA in November of 2016.
Among the F4 teams testing at NOLA was Jay Howard’s Motorsports Driver Development. Howard, who recently was announced as a driver for the 2017 Indy 500, considers NOLA a second home and bases his MDD karting program out of the NOLA Motorsports Park karting facility. MDD hosts 12 sprint kart races a year at NOLA as well as traveling to other kart races around the country.
As far as kart race series go, one of – if not the biggest is Superkarts!USA (SKUSA). SKUSA was loading into the NOLA kart paddock while you could still smell the rubber from the F4 test. SKUSA was coming to NOLA for the first time ever and introducing the newest addition to their event lineup – The Winter Nationals.
In an interview with ekartingnews.com prior to the event SKUSA owner Tom Kutscher said, “I’m personally excited to get to New Orleans. The track is awesome and I’m pretty pumped to hit some local restaurants as well. The city is vibrant and a destination spot, and that was one of our goals. We wanted to make the event fun for everyone in the family.”
In addition to these events that come to NOLA, NOLA Motorsports Park hosts events aimed at driver education and development of amateur and club level drivers. NOLA is home to the NOLA Region of NASA Pro Racing and hosts 6 events a year with HPDE (High Performance Driver Education) as well as programs such as Track Day Lite and Track Day Heavy designed at introducing drivers to track driving.