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On the Fast Track


When Ian Costa graduates from Monte Vista High School this month, he’ll have a $40,000 scholarship all lined up. But he’s not going to Cal or Stanford. He’s a recipient of the prestigious Formula BMW USA scholarship and hopes the honor will jump-start his career in Formula One racing.

Costa has felt the need for speed most of his life—he was racing go-karts around empty parking lots at age seven. He continued cart racing at Sonoma’s Infineon Raceway as a teenager and made the jump to full-size cars in 2006 by training at the Skip Barber Racing School in Monterey. Costa competed in Spain for the BMW scholarship and was one of five racers worldwide to be chosen.

“They called to congratulate me at seven in the morning, and I fell out of my bed,” says Costa, 18. “This really launches my career and confirms to my parents that I have the ability to do this.”

Next up is the Formula One junior circuit. Those familiar with NASCAR will notice that the course used in Formula One racing is different—the track looks more like city streets. In fact, you’ll be able to catch Costa zooming around the streets of downtown San Jose in July.
Even with a lucrative scholarship, racing is not the sort of hobby a paper route can support. Costa is hoping sponsors will help cover the expenses. That’s why he spends much of his time developing business skills, particularly marketing. Whether it’s speaking to sponsors like Fremont Bank or crafting the perfect media kit, Costa has become his own marketing machine.

“My dad jokes that we can’t just go out and buy a baseball bat and cleats anymore. You need the helmet and the fireproof underwear,” says Costa. “You have to make sure everything is just right, or you’re putting yourself in danger.”

Costa will compete in the San Jose Grand Prix July 27–29. Visit www.iancosta.com

On the Fast Track    Ian Costa
Courtesy of Ian Cost (2)   

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