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MSA unveils 2011 Team UK national squad

The Motor Sports Association (MSA), governing body for UK motor sport, has announced the young drivers that have been selected to form this year’s Team UK squad.

To be officially unveiled at this week’s Autosport International show in Birmingham, the seven racing drivers selected to join the MSA’s driver development scheme under the guidance of National Race Coach David Brabham, are:

Tom Blomqvist, aged 17 from Saffron Walden, Essex – Championship tba
Will Buller, aged 18 from Craigavon, Co. Down – Cooper Tires British F3 International Series
Jack Harvey, aged 17 from Bassingham, Lincolnhire – Cooper Tires British F3 International Series
Alex Lynn, aged 17 from Dunmow, Essex – Formula Renault UK
Harry Tincknell, aged 19 from Sidmouth, Devon – Cooper Tires British F3 International Series
Oli Webb, aged 19 from Knutsford, Cheshire – Formula 3 Euro Series
Lewis Williamson, aged 21 from Golspie, Sutherland – Championship tba 

The three rally drivers selected to join the programme under the guidance of National Rally Coach Mark Higgins, are:

Elfyn Evans, aged 22 from Machynlleth, Powys – Dulux Trade MSA British Rally Championship
Harry Hunt, aged  22 from London – Intercontinental Rally Challenge / P-WRC
John MacCrone, aged 21 from Dervaig, Isle of Mull – Dulux Trade MSA British Rally Championship / Fiesta SportTrophy UK

In 2011, Team UK will include rally co-drivers for the first time. Guided by National Co-Driver Coach, Nicky Grist, the programme has selected three young co-drivers:

Andrew Edwards, aged 25 from Aberystwyth, Ceredigion – Dulux Trade MSA British Rally Championship
Stuart Loudon, aged 22 from Glasgow – Dulux Trade MSA British Rally Championship / Fiesta SportTrophy UK
Seb Marshall, aged 22 from Keighley, West Yorkshire – Intercontinental Rally Challenge / P-WRC

Three racing drivers have been offered a second Team UK campaign – Will Buller, Harry Tincknell and Oli Webb – as the coaches felt they would continue to benefit from the programme's intensive development work at this stage of their careers.

The remaining seven drivers that were on the scheme in 2010 will continue to enjoy the support and guidance of the Team UK coaches and other related support staff.  They will be designated as Team UK ‘graduates’ and will carry the Team UK logo on their clothing and vehicles.

“We are delighted to welcome a new intake of young athletes onto Team UK,” says David Brabham. “Selecting the right people to join the programme is not always an easy job, but we are very pleased with the calibre of the new recruits, while having spoken with Will, Harry and Oli, we have agreed that there is a lot of value in them remaining a part of the squad for another year. We look forward to getting them all together for the first time later this month.”

“The content of the Team UK programme has evolved a great deal since the race and rally elite days and this has been reflected in the positive feedback from all the drivers this year,” says Robert Reid, MSA Performance Director. “From a personal perspective, I am obviously pleased that we have now brought co-drivers officially within Team UK and Nicky Grist is the ideal person to head this up. I am sure he will be a great inspiration and mentor for both the co-drivers and drivers in the squad.”

“We have been extremely encouraged by the way Team UK has quickly established itself,” says Colin Hilton, MSA Chief Executive. “The MSA remains committed to investing in the development of young UK talent and helping them to be as prepared as possible for the opportunities that will present themselves in the future.”
The first gathering of the 2011 Team UK squad will take place at the Porsche Performance Centre at Silverstone on 17/18 January.

Editor’s notes:

Team UK is the designation of a national squad of the country’s most promising young drivers and represents the pinnacle of the MSA Academy structure that has been created to guide young drivers from eight years old through to world championship level.
Team UK is operated on behalf of the MSA by Brabham Performance Clinic, with race and rally coaches providing specific expertise to supplement the common learning shared across all disciplines. 2009 Le Mans champion David Brabham fulfils the role of National Race Coach alongside three-time British Rally Champion Mark Higgins as National Rally Coach, with Nicky Grist as National Co-driver Coach.

The content of the Team UK programme is significantly more demanding and focussed than previous schemes, enabling a greater emphasis to be placed on driver coaching and in-car performance. Individual fitness programmes and dietary consultations ensure that the drivers are in the best physical shape, while the application of advanced sports psychology equips them mentally to perform at the highest level.

Exclusive visits to teams from F1 and WRC as well as to leading component suppliers provide invaluable insight into the demands and requirements of a top driver and the squad enjoys access to some of the most sophisticated simulation equipment in the world. Thanks to support from the FIA Institute’s Motor Sport Safety Fund, Team UK members also benefit from advanced training in both road and on-track safety skills.

Release MSA11-006: 12 January 2010
For media information only. No regulatory value.