The Motor Sports Association’s commitment to the training of future world motor sport champions will be increased next year as the current Race and Rally Elite schemes are consolidated into one driver development programme.
The programme will have a new identity as TEAM UK and will form the pinnacle of the MSA Academy structure revealed earlier this year under the direction of MSA Performance Director Robert Reid.
TEAM UK will be operated by Brabham Performance Clinic with race and rally coaches providing specific expertise to supplement the learning shared across all disciplines. Racing legend and 2009 Le Mans champion David Brabham will fulfil the role of National Race Coach alongside the highly experienced and three-time British Rally Champion Mark Higgins as National Rally Coach.
In place of the previous application and interview process, a selection panel will determine suitable candidates to make up TEAM UK in 2010. A total of ten places will be available for the most promising athletes across all disciplines and the final team will be announced at Autosport International in January.
“We realised that there was a high degree of shared content between the Race and Rally schemes, so it made sense to bring them together,” says Reid. “It will enable the programme to become more focused and more select; TEAM UK will become a recognisable badge of honour and young drivers will aspire to join the UK national squad.
“The MSA is offering an amazing opportunity for a very select number of drivers,” says David Brabham. “To be able to demonstrate to a sponsor or team manager that you are a member of the national team is a very powerful endorsement. By becoming more targeted, we will be able to work more closely with drivers on their in-car performance, as well as the all-round skills needed for a successful career at the top end of world motor sport.”
“I would like to pay tribute to everyone that has enabled the MSA Elite schemes to come so far in such a short period of time,” says Colin Hilton, MSA Chief Executive. “Both Brabham Performance Clinic and the Inside Line have made valuable contributions to the development of the programme, as has Robert Reid whose vision started the whole process. I have no doubt that consolidating the schemes will create even better opportunities for this country’s most promising talent.”