|The successful drivers and the Championships in which they will be competing in 2007 are:
Henry Arundel: Formula BMW UK Championship
Sam Bird: British Formula 3 Championship
Andrew Jordan: Elf Renault Clio Cup/British Rallycross Championships
Adrian Quaife-Hobbs: Formula BMW UK Championship
Michael Meadows: British Formula 3 Championship (National Class)
Colin Turkington: British Touring Car Championship
The elite driver training scheme is backed by the Motor Sports Association – governing body of UK motor sport. It was launched in January and reaffirms the MSA`s commitment to developing and promoting young, British, motor sport talent. Chief Executive, Colin Hilton, spoke after he`d met with the judges on Thursday evening. “I am very encouraged for the future of British motor sport by what I`ve seen and heard today. The fact that the judges found the final selection so difficult speaks volumes about the level of talent on display. I congratulate the six lucky finalists, who represent five different racing Championships, and look forward to following their progress throughout the MSA British Race Elite programme, as well as in their 2007 racing season.”
The judging panel comprised Peter Briggs, a highly experienced single-seater Team Owner/Manager; Oliver Gavin, former British F3 Champion and current factory GM sportscar driver; Chris Gorne, race engineer in GP2 and Renault World Series and engineer to the winning A1 Team France; Matt James, Assistant Editor of Motorsport News with particular responsibilities to BTCC and national racing; David Leslie, one of Britain`s most versatile racing drivers having raced in single seaters, touring cars and sportscars, now a commentator with Eurosport.
Speaking on behalf of the judges, Peter Briggs said, “It was a very difficult decision as we saw 20 very talented young drivers with great futures ahead of them. We have picked six who we feel will not only represent the Motor Sports Association well, but who will also greatly benefit from the planned programme. We grilled them all on subjects as varied as team relationships, car set up, their racing history, funding and how they handle the media, and these six acquitted themselves extremely well in the interviews.”
The carefully devised scheme will offer these promising young British racing drivers the opportunity to develop their skills and give them the best possible chance of making the step up to the highest levels. As well as working on track performance, engineering skills and technical understanding, the drivers will also be developing the vital additional areas such as physical training, mind coaching, career management, sponsorship generation, promotion and media presentation that complete the all-round package of the modern motor racing driver.
The MSA British Race Elite programme will be operated by Brabham Performance Clinic, fronted by one of the world`s renowned international racing drivers, David Brabham, and leading mind coach and sponsorship guru, Don Macpherson. It was these two experts who made the initial selection of 20 for interview.
Brabham, who met with all the applicants on Thursday, but who was not part of the judging process, said, “I am very happy with the selection as I believe they all have a lot of potential. The group we will be working with have all displayed incredible talent on the track, and great promise off it. I`d also like to say that, while we are looking to develop young talent, some of the applicants missed out because they simply hadn`t yet done enough racing. There were several names from within the 20 whose progress we will be following closely and we very much hope they will re-apply for a place on the scheme in the future.”
Now that the drivers have been chosen, and their racing schedules are known, a detailed programme will be set out. One of the first steps will be a visit to the University of Bath`s Sports Development Department for a physical fitness assessment and advice on training, nutrition and injury prevention.
10th April 2007
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