The hunt for the British racing champions of the future has received a major boost with the news that the Racing Steps Foundation will be throwing its weight behind a new national elite squad.
In August the Motor Sport Association (MSA), the national governing body for four-wheel motorsport, announced a new academy that seeks to back promising youngsters from the age of eight with the aim of finding the top-flight drivers of the future.
This week it named the first entrants to its elite scheme, a mix of open-wheel and rallying competitors, who will race under the banner of Team UK. It hopes that setting up a national squad will reap the same kinds of results for motorsport that the country has enjoyed in disciplines like cycling and swimming.
Today, the Racing Steps Foundation, an organisation that supports young drivers who might otherwise be held back through a lack of funding, annouced that it would be giving the scheme substantial support, initially on a three-year basis.
As a result, the MSA Academy will be able to increase the reach of its existing educational programme for the UK’s 2,000 competition licence holders aged under 17.
On offer will be free training workshops to competitors registered for the major junior championships. They will aim to introduce young drivers and their parents to crucial disciplines for sportsmen and women including diet and nutrition, career planning, psychology and personal fitness.
The MSA also puts a firm emphasis on the importance of completing formal education – and rounded up Lewis Hamilton earlier in the week to get the message home to any young racers who might consider skipping school to be an option.
The MSA and RSF are also planning to helping a small number of deserving students onto a university degree course in motor sport and are looking to establish a partnership with a higher education institution to cover tuition fees and a contribution towards living expenses.
Graham Sharp, founder of the RSF, said: “The MSA has shown itself to be very forward-thinking in the creation of its academy structure and, while the Foundation is firmly committed to fully funding our team of elite drivers, we recognise that through the MSA Academy we can extend the reach and the message to a much greater number of young competitors.”
Robert Reid, MSA Performance Director, added: “The MSA is spending in excess of £1 million a year on the development of the sport, but there is always more that can be done. Thanks to the RSF’s support, we will be able to extend the reach of the MSA Academy and deliver greater benefit to all young drivers in this country.”
Team UK – the first intake
- William Buller: British F3
- James Calado: British F3
- Alastair Fisher: BRC/IRC
- Adam Gould: BRC/IRC/WRC
- Martin McCormack: French C2 Championship
- Alexander Sims: F3 Euro Series
- Will Stevens: Formula Renault UK
- Harry Tincknell: Formula Renault UK
- Oliver Webb: British F3
- Dave Weston Jr: BRC/IRC/PWRC