The Motor Sports Association has confirmed that Nicky Grist, the former WRC co-driver, will join the Team UK project in 2011 to oversee the selection and development of a number of aspiring young British rally co-drivers.
Team UK currently comprises ten of the most promising young talents in British motor sport, with drivers taken from both race and rally disciplines. The members of the 2011 programme will be selected later this month and a small number of rally co-drivers will be included for the first time to supplement the national squad.
It is anticipated that the co-drivers will join their driving colleagues for appropriate elements of the year-long programme, but that they will also benefit from a bespoke programme of activity put together to further their skills and prepare them for professional co-driving careers.
“The original Rally Elite always featured co-drivers,” says MSA Performance Director Robert Reid. “We thought hard about the issue last year when we created Team UK and we always said that the co-drivers of the rally members were welcome to join our sessions. However, the UK has a great pedigree in the art of co-driving and many Brits have competed alongside the biggest names in world motor sport, not just British drivers. This is an opportunity to help the next generation of rising co-drivers and Nicky is the perfect man to lead that. I know he will work really well alongside David Brabham, Mark Higgins and the rest of the team.”
Perhaps best known for co-driving Colin McRae from 1997 to 2002, Grist, 49, has enjoyed a distinguished rallying career over almost 30 years, competing with a number of drivers including Juha Kankkunen, Armin Schwarz and Malcolm Wilson. He won 21 of the 131 World Championship rallies he contested, securing a total of 48 podium finishes. He now runs Nicky Grist Motorsport – a retailer of quality motorsport products.
“I can’t wait to get started”, says Grist. “British co-drivers have such a tremendous history in world rallying, but our numbers seem to have dropped off a bit in recent years. I hope that we can take some of the promising young co-drivers and give them a helping hand to make it to the highest levels. There are so many attributes that you need to be successful, but as well as the obvious navigating skills and attention to detail, I will be looking for the strong personalities that are able to cope with the demands of top level rallying.”