IMSA announces 2023 Diverse Driver Scholarship

J.A.
By J.A. Ackley
Jun 22, 2022 | IMSA, Diverse Driver Development Scholarship

The application process for the second-annual IMSA Diverse Driver Development Scholarship has opened, with the program looking to “promote and empower drivers from a variety of backgrounds.” The benefits exceed $250,000 in value.

The Diverse Driver Development Scholarship includes a prepaid full-season entry fee for the recipient into either the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge or IMSA Prototype Challenge for 2023, and 50% of the full-season entry fee into one of those series for 2024.

Entrants must be female or a member of one or more of the following ethnic minority classifications: American Indian, Alaskan Native, or of other native/indigenous descent; Asian or Pacific Islander; Black or African American; or Latino or Hispanic.

In addition, candidates must have a strong desire to compete in IMSA. They also have to have “outstanding previous race results and/or proven on-track potential in junior racing series.”

This year’s recipient, Jaden Conwright, used the scholarship to drive in the WeatherTech Championship, with a best finish thus far of sixth place in the GTD class at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca.

[22-year-old Jaden Conwright awarded first IMSA Diverse Driver Development Scholarship]

NASCAR offers the Drive for Diversity in an effort to increase diversity in the sport. NASCAR Cup Series champion Kyle Larson went through that program as did other current drivers in the series.

Reactions on social media, in particular on Facebook, to IMSA’s scholarship ran the entire gamut. Some praised IMSA’s efforts to diversify the sport while others questioned its value.

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Sk1dmark (Forum Supporter)
Sk1dmark (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand Reader
6/22/22 12:05 p.m.

Shame to hear this brought about any real controversy. That level of racing has always been a sport for those with deep pockets, and natural talent around the world has necessarily been looked past because of an inability to bring in sponsorship dollars. A scholarship to bring in racers and thereby fans from demographics not typically associated with the sport only seems like good business sense at the least, and the track record of the program proves its efficacy in finding damn good drivers.

trigun7469
trigun7469 UltraDork
6/22/22 1:10 p.m.

I appreciate that this exists, however as I am doing research to get my daughters involved. If one of them does have the talent the road there is not being done with out serious funds. Right now I bought one of my daughters a kart, and have looked for sponsorship. SCCA offered one for females, I filled it out asking for just entry fee money (for a couple events)…no response. I looked at the other female oriented scholarships and unfortunately experience and age do not qualify them.  While karting is the cheaper option, other sports are cheaper if not for free. If you have ever been to national event you compete against kids who started at 4 year old’s with top of the line equipment and several chassis/engines/driver development ect… I have heard some competitive people spend $10k in a weekend, yes there are those that spend less, but how much is due to time/experience/talent. I will continue to look for sponsorship opportunities if any of my daughters enjoy it, I will find a way or have them volunteer on a team, but nobody is getting the IMSA scholarship without some serious funds being spent along the way.

hybridmomentspass
hybridmomentspass HalfDork
6/22/22 2:17 p.m.
trigun7469 said:

I appreciate that this exists, however as I am doing research to get my daughters involved. If one of them does have the talent the road there is not being done with out serious funds. Right now I bought one of my daughters a kart, and have looked for sponsorship. SCCA offered one for females, I filled it out asking for just entry fee money (for a couple events)…no response. I looked at the other female oriented scholarships and unfortunately experience and age do not qualify them.  While karting is the cheaper option, other sports are cheaper if not for free. If you have ever been to national event you compete against kids who started at 4 year old’s with top of the line equipment and several chassis/engines/driver development ect… I have heard some competitive people spend $10k in a weekend, yes there are those that spend less, but how much is due to time/experience/talent. I will continue to look for sponsorship opportunities if any of my daughters enjoy it, I will find a way or have them volunteer on a team, but nobody is getting the IMSA scholarship without some serious funds being spent along the way.

As it states, you have to have a good record on the track...and, well, racing isnt cheap. Hearing from folks on here for events like ChumpCar and LeMons - it's still several thousand dollars a weekend. Not 'chump' change, even if the car, itself, is cheap.

Im not going to say it's a rich man's hobby, but you better be well comfortable to do it, it seems.

As for the kids you speak of - yeah, some have had some immense opportunities due to wealthy family, but there are still a lot that came from almost nothing and made it big.

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