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MSA Team UK convenes for first training session

The Motor Sports Association’s Team UK national squad convened at Silverstone’s Porsche Experience Centre this week for its first training session of the year.

Nine of the ten elite race and rally drivers spent two intensive days working with recognised sports performance experts in preparation for the coming season. Only one driver was unable to attend due to testing commitments.  The activity was overseen by national race coach David Brabham and national rally coach Mark Higgins, under the guidance of MSA Performance Director Robert Reid.

The drivers were put through a rigorous physical assessment by Eliot Challifour and his team at VoTwo, who have trained a number of elite athletes including reigning F1 world champion Jenson Button and Red Bull F1 star Mark Webber.  The Team UK members then went on to work on a one-to-one basis with Hugh Richards, Sport and Performance Psychology lecturer at the University of Edinburgh.

Andy Mellor, Head of Technical Affairs at the  FIA Institute, gave a fascinating presentation about the advances made in safety within motor sport and shared some of the relevant driver technology that will come through in future years. This included discussion of evolving car, seat and helmet design, as well as improvements in fire safety, crash testing, high-speed barriers, head restraints, roll over protection systems and more.

Dedicated sessions with championship-winning race engineer Andy Miller offered invaluable advice on communicating with race engineers and how best to extract performance from in-car telemetry. On the second day, all the drivers benefitted from in-depth media and TV interview training from experienced motor sports broadcasters John Hindhaugh and Nick Daman.

National Race Coach David Brabham said: “It’s been a fantastic first gathering of the squad and everyone has reported great feedback from the sessions. We have significantly upgraded the content of the scheme and we will be demanding comparable commitment and dedication from the drivers but, in return, they will benefit from the best performance programme around.”

Alexander Sims, F3 Euro Series driver and 2008 McLaren Autosport BRDC Award winner, said: “I’ve been amazed by the quality of the last two days; it really feels like a big step up from last year’s elite programme. To be selected to be part of the national squad means a great deal and offers a great opportunity to be able to benefit from the coaching and experience of the people running the scheme.”

Marty McCormack, who will head abroad to contest the French Rally Championship this year, said: “These two days have been a real boost for the start of the coming season and having the race guys around has made it much more competitive. We have all got on extremely well and it is really starting to feel like we are part of a national team.”

Editor’s notes:

MSA Team UK is the creation of a national squad of the country’s most promising race and rally drivers and represents the pinnacle of the MSA Academy structure that guides young drivers from eight years old through to world championship level. Team UK is operated by Brabham Performance Clinic under the direction of MSA Performance Director Robert Reid, with specific expertise provided by 2009 Le Mans champion David Brabham as National Race Coach and three-time British Rally Champion Mark Higgins as National Rally Coach.

The Team UK drivers for 2010 are: William Buller; James Calado; Alastair Fisher; Adam Gould; Martin McCormack; Alexander Sims; Will Stevens; Harry Tincknell; Oliver Webb; Dave Weston Jr.

Release MSA10-015: 19 February 2010

For media information only. No regulatory value.