The MSA British Race Elite scheme has selected the cream of today’s aspiring Champions for its 2009 intake. There were over 50 initial applicants, 20 of whom went through for interview, with just four places available on the Race Elite scheme and four places in the RaceAcademy.
An independent panel of judges, who this year included the MSA’s Performance Director Robert Reid and Jonathan Williams of WilliamsF1, were faced with a challenging task due to the very high standard of applicant – the best yet in the scheme’s three-year history. It is noteworthy that both the Formula Renault UK and British Formula 3 Championships, training ground for many past World Champions, were very well represented by interviewees this year.
Wayne Boyd, James Calado, Oliver Oakes and Nick Tandy were selected by the judges to become part of the MSA British Race Elite programme for the next 12 months. They will join 2008 McLaren Autosport BRDC Young Driver Award winner, Alexander Sims, and Andy Meyrick, who remain with the Elite for a second year in order to further the training and development begun in 2008.
The MSA British Race Elite drivers and the Championships in which they will be competing in 2009 are:
Wayne Boyd - British International F3 Championship
James Calado - Formula Renault UK Championship
Oliver Oakes - British International F3 Championship
Andy Meyrick - Le Mans Series
Alexander Sims - Formula 3 Euro Series
Nick Tandy - British International F3 Championship
The MSABritishRaceAcademy, introduced in 2008, is a ‘feeder’ programme which will offer many of the same development opportunities, but without the individualised one-to-one attention that the Elite members receive in areas such as physical and psychological training.
The MSABritishRaceAcademy drivers and their 2009 Championships are:
James Cole - Formula Ford Championship
Max Chilton - British International F3 Championship
Kieran Vernon - Formula Ford Championship
Will Stevens - Formula Renault UK Championship
Former Elite drivers Henry Arundel, Sam Bird, Stuart Hall and Andrew Jordan will become MSA British Race Elite Ambassadors, representing the scheme in the four different championships in which they will be racing in 2009. They will be able to attend workshops or visits if they wish to extend the knowledge already gained from being on the scheme, but will not receive any one-to-one training.
The elite driver training scheme is funded by the Motor Sports Association – governing body of UK motor sport. It was launched in January 2007, following on from the success of a sister programme run by the MSA British Rally Elite, and reaffirms the MSA’s commitment to developing and promoting young, British, motor sport talent.
Speaking on behalf of the judges, Robert Reid said, “It was really good to see the best of young British talent up close, and the quality of applicant we saw was high; it was a very difficult decision as a judge to pick just four Elite and four Academy drivers. The scheme is now entering its third year and it will be great to see what the drivers we have picked will gain from the 12 months ahead. There were a number of drivers who we will be very interested to keep an eye on during 2009 with a view to selection in 2010 for the Elite scheme.”
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