Newcomer Joey Bickers will be racing as the MAZDASPEED driver in the 2014 Mazda MX-5 Cup Presented by BFGoodrich. Bickers, from Moorpark, Calif., comes to the series after earning his spot by winning the 2013 Mazda Club Racer Shootout.
The successful 21-year-old started his racing career at the beginning of 2012 and has since competed in the Mazda Club Racer Shootout, the Team USA Scholarship program and the NASA Teen Mazda Challenge. In addition, he has participated in karting and F1600 formula car racing.
Having been interesting in cars throughout his life, Bickers began building an off-road truck after getting his driver’s license at 16. A couple years later, he discovered karting.
It was after attending the Jim Hall Kart Racing School in February 2012 that Bickers knew racing was something he wanted to make a career out of.
In a recent press release, Bickers said a short-term goal is to win the 2014 Mazda MX-5 Cup Championship. Although having not been in the sport for long, Bickers explained he is still trying to discover himself in racing.
“As far as long-term goals go, I would just like to continue learning, improving and progress up the racing ladder,” he said. “I want to make it to make it to IndyCar or the TUDOR United Sports Car Championship, both being the top tier of American auto racing.”
Bickers shared some of his insights for 2014 in an exclusive Q&A with OpenPaddock.net:
What race are you most looking forward to this year? Why?
I am most looking forward to the Houston Grand Prix. I have always wanted to race on a risky, rough, bumpy street course; I think the best tracks are the ones that punish mistakes. I am also very excited about sharing the weekend with the IndyCar fans, drivers and teams.
Other than winning, what are your goals for this season?
Building a strong relationship with my team, as well as the people from Mazda, BFGoodrich and any others that I come in contact with. I want to perform at my very best each race, and show my dedication to climbing the racing ladder.
On race day, do you have any special practices or traditions that you do to get focused and ready to race?
Not anything too specific, just a lot of deep thought towards the race. I never get overconfident before any race or qualifying session, because If you do you might leave a little bit on the table. I like to just stay calm, humble, and then go out and drive to my best ability.
If you could own any car (past or present) what would it be? Why?
That’s a tough one, there is a list of racing and or street cars I would love to own. Right now I am just happy to have my Toyota pickup truck for daily use and a Mazda MX-5 for racing.
What is one fact most people don’t know about you?
I had never been on a road racing track until March of 2012, age 19. Bit of a late start compared to my racing contemporaries.
Bickers will race at the Sebring International Raceway doubleheader, March 12-14, the two opening rounds of the 12-round MX-5 Cup.