Nine IMSA Diverse Driver Scholarship finalists named

For the past several years, IMSA has offered the Diverse Driver Scholarship to empower drivers from a variety of backgrounds to participate in iMSA competition. The current recipient, Ken Fukuda, is competing in Michelin Pilot Challenge in 2024. The field for the 2025-’26  scholarship has been narrowed to nine finalists and the eventual recipient will receive benefits worth more than $250,000 to assist them in competing next season.

The scholarship includes substantial financial assistance from IMSA and several of its corporate partners, as well as other industry resources, to elevate drivers from diverse backgrounds. The recipient uses this assistance to compete in a full season of competition in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, the IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge or the IMSA VP Racing SportsCar Challenge, with additional benefits extending to a second year of racing for that selected recipient.

Support for the scholarship also comes from IMSA partners Michelin, VP Racing Fuels, OMP, Bell, Recaro, Skip Barber Racing School, LAT Images and the newest partner RAFA Racing Club.

Over the next several months, finalists will participate in a series of learning modules, led by industry leaders, to bolster their off-track skills. Modules include social media best practices, interviewing skills, working with a driver agent, approaching teams and partners and a business plan workshop. The recipient of the 2025-’26 scholarship will be announced later this year.

The nine finalists for the fourth annual IMSA Diverse Driver Development Scholarship were selected from a pool of candidates who submitted their applications starting in February. The list of finalists consists of six men and three women, five of whom were finalists in past years. Listed in alphabetical order with hometown, here are the 2025-’26 finalists (*-designates a finalist in a previous year).

Andre Castro*, 25
New York, N.Y.

Castro most recently competed in a pair of NASCAR Xfinity Series road races in 2023. After winning the Skip Barber “Karts to Cars” scholarship in 2015, he raced in F2000  and the NASCAR Whelen Euro Series. He earned the Team USA Scholarship to compete in the prestigious Formula Ford Festival in England in 2021.

Sabre Cook*, 29
Carmel, Ind.

Entering her second season driving in the Porsche Carrera Cup North America sanctioned by IMSA, Cook has been a Porsche female development driver for Porsche Motorsport North America since 2023. She also has vast experience in the W Series, Whelen Mazda MX-5 Cup Presented by Michelin, Indy Pro 2000, USF2000, F4 U.S. Championship and more. On top of that, she holds a mechanical engineering degree.

Ernie Francis Jr., 26

Southwest Ranches, Florida

Already a race winner in his first season of the IMSA-sanctioned Lamborghini Super Trofeo North America, he boasts a variety of racing experience, including Indy NXT, the SRX Series and winning 47 races in the Trans-Am Series. Prior to that, he competed in World Challenge Touring Car.

Nicky Hays, 22

Huntington Beach, Calif.

Hays started karting at age 4 and made his car racing debut in 2018 in the F1600 Championship. His experience has primarily been in junior open-wheel series, including F4 France and USF2000 in 2022 before a pair of Porsche Carrera Cup North America races last season.

Christina Lam*, 35

Vienna, Va.

Lam has been competing since 2017, first in the NASA Northeast Touring Series and more recently in SCCA National Championship Runoffs. She won her class in a six-hour endurance race last year and competed in BMW Car Club of America races, while also growing her driver coach client base by 70 percent.

Kyle Loh*, 25

San Jose, Calif.

Loh is a 2022 graduate of the Honda Performance Development GT3 Academy. He won three races last year in the SRO TC America Championship. He also has racing experience in the F4 U.S. Western Championship and won the 2021 Formula Pro USA West Coast Formula 3 title with five victories. He serves as an instructor for the Allen Berg Racing Schools and coach for World Speed Motorsports.

Sally McNulty, 39
Glendale, Ariz.

A late starter to racing, McNulty began her career in 2019 in TC America competition, where she reached the podium twice last year. She also drove in the final four races of the 2023 IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge season, with a best finish of eighth at VIRginia International Raceway. A service advisor at a car dealership, McNulty was featured in a 2022 Wall Street Journal story about her rebuild of a 2000 Honda Civic.

Celso Nieto, 19

Orlando, Florida

Originally from Salvador, Brazil, Neto has split his time racing in the United States and his native country since 2020. The last two years, he has competed in the TC America series where he’s compiled one victory and 11 podium finishes. He captured the championship in the 2021 Brazil Mid West Touring Car Cup.

Westin Workman*, 19
Charlotte, N.C.

Competing and winning in the Whelen Mazda MX-5 Cup presented by Michelin, he sits second in points in the IMSA-sanctioned single-make series. He’s also competing in Toyota GR Cup North America this year, with a pair of podium finishes in his first two races. Workman was chosen as one of two recipients for a Mazda Motorsports scholarship to compete in the 2022 Spec MX-5 Challenge Series season. He also finished third in the 2022 Lucas Oil Formula Car Race Series, with three wins and eight podium results.

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