The British governing body for motorsport has announced its own Young Driver of the Year award to recognise the achievement of a student on its apprenticeship scheme.
The inaugural Motor Sports Association Young Driver of the Year, to be decided by a panel of MSA judges assessing sporting and academic achievement, will collect a trophy and a cheque for £1,000 at the MSA’s Night of Champions ceremony at the Royal Automobile Club in Pall Mall next January.
Those young drivers eligible will be working towards the Advanced Apprenticeship in Sporting Excellence (AASE) – a government-funded programme that aims to develop students from a range of sporting disciplines into elite athletes.
The AASE scheme is part of the MSA Academy professional development initiative for young drivers, catering for 16 to 18-year-olds (though candidates aged up to 24 are considered), and leading to sporting and academic qualifications.
This week the current batch of AASE students gathered in South London for their third residential session. In attendance were 27 youngsters from the disciplines of racing, rallying, karting, motorcycle racing or motocross.
As part of their BTEC Nationals in Sport studies, the AASE students focused on topics including sports psychology, nutrition, physiology, attention control, communications and media.
Formula BMW Euro Series driver Mackenzie Taylor said: “As we get further into the AASE programme it becomes more and more obvious how valuable it is to me as a driver. It is laying down strong foundations on which to build my career.”
MSA Performance Director and 2001 WRC Champion co-driver Robert Reid said: “The AASE programme is no easy ride; it’s a highly effective training programme for those serious about their future careers in the sport.
“We wanted to recognise the commitment the students are putting in and give them an incentive to keep pushing themselves. The winner will be earmarked as someone with the talent and determination to succeed and that’s a pretty strong accolade for any up-and-coming athlete.”