Motorsport Australia is spearheading a new Formula Ford chassis that is being developed which will incorporate modern safety advances but keep the low grip, low aero philosophy. Full details in this week’s Driver Development Roundup.
You will also find out how Porsche evaluates drivers for their Porsche Carrera Cup GB Junior program, Sarah Moore on the goals of More Than Equal and a new ladder system from Southern Paley Motorsports.
All this and much more in this week’s edition of the Driver Development Roundup on Motorsport Prospects. Its news aspiring racers can use.
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Speed Cafe reports that a working group has been put together to go through the process of creating a new, modern Formula Ford car. The program is headed by Motorsport Australia Director of Motorsport & Commercial Operations Michael Smith. The group includes stake holders Jamie Augustine, Andrew Jones, Ryan McLeod, Mike Borland and Jeromy Moore.
They are working on the creation of a car for the future, a modern and safe update to the current machinery while retaining the philosophy of the category as a low grip, low aero class that has endeared it for so long. The cars will still have a tubular chassis, but will feature several new safety components, including the halo, front and rear crash structures, side impact crash structure, an extractable seat, driver headrest, sidepods and wheel tethers. Whether the style of gearchange is retained is still to be decided, also the prospect of a five-speed sequential is something to be considered.
“Motorsport Australia is committed to working closely with Formula Ford Australia, as well as with teams and manufacturers ahead of the roll out of this new generation car. It’s important we get this right and provide a platform that will allow the category the best opportunity to thrive in a changing motorsport landscape,” Smith said. “We’re excited about the future of Formula Ford and its place as a pathway for junior development for the next generation of motorsport competitors.”
Autosport explains the process behind how Porsche selected their next Porsche Carrera Cup GB Junior James Wallis.
“Nothing is left to chance when it comes to the meticulous process of selecting the new Junior, but it proved to be a particularly tricky decision this time around thanks to the quality of the drivers applying. Even before getting down to the final four, who took part in an intense shootout at Silverstone at the start of November, some notable drivers had to be eliminated from the running – including the likes of GB3 race winner Matthew Rees and GB4 dominator Tom Mills.”
Parella Motorsports Holdings (PMH) has named more than a dozen drivers to its 2024 class for the PMH Powering Diversity Scholarship, providing assistance to drivers competing in the Trans Am Series presented by Pirelli, Ligier JS F4 Series, Formula Regional Americas Championship (FR Americas) and Sportscar Vintage Racing Association (SVRA).
“We’re thrilled to expand our PMH Powering Diversity Scholarship to assist 14 racers this season, our largest class ever,” said Tony Parella, CEO of PMH. “We have watched several of our past graduates go on to accomplish bigger and better things, among them Chloe Chambers, who was just nominated to the F1 Academy by the Haas F1 Team. I can’t wait to see what this year’s class of drivers goes on to accomplish in their careers.”
Full details can be found at Racer here.
F1 Academy has announced a series of changes for the 2024 season, with FIA superlicence points set to be awarded to the top five drivers. A total of 10 points will be awarded to the championship-winning driver, seven for the runner-up, five for third, three for fourth and one for fifth. The minimum requirement to race in F1 is 40.
Wildcard entries will also become commonplace this year, with PREMA set to operate a fourth car which will feature a young talent from the host region. This talent will be identified by the championship and will be eligible to score championship points.
To further driver progression, drivers will be limited to two seasons in F1 Academy, preventing stagnation and ensuring there is no block on emerging talent from joining the grid.
The Caterham Graduates Racing Club will run a special race for new drivers at Snetterton this year. The 20-minute contest over the 17-18 August weekend, which is being promoted as a ‘Friends and Family race’, is only open to those who have never competed or held a race licence. Drivers can use any car that is normally eligible for Caterham Graduates races, which spans models up to and including the Caterham Seven 310R.
Motorsport Week has an exclusive interview with More Than Equal performance coach Sarah Moore on the goals of the organization and her role in it.
“I think the More Than Equal development program is good in the fact that it’s not attached to a team. It’s not a championship. It’s this own standalone thing. So I think it would be hoping that will be more accessible for the drivers to, maybe in the future, work amongst different teams, different championships. But I just think the key thing for me was being visible as a female coach as part of More Than Equal to give my experience. And I think just being visible there and working with the future female talent that we eventually pick will hopefully help to bring more female talents through.”
Sam Paley and John Paul Southern Jr. have announced their new team and entry into the 2024 IMSA Mustang Challenge, Southern Paley Motorsports. Currently, Southern Paley Motorsports, or SPM, plans to enter 1 car in the 2024 Mustang Challenge, but has plans to quickly expand. The Mustang Challenge season kicks off at Mid-Ohio in early June, but SPM will be undergoing an extensive pre-season testing program beforehand.
Furthermore, SPM announces the beginning of a strategic partnership with TKG Motorsports to complete a comprehensive and revolutionary ladder system. TKG Motorsports currently competes in the SCCA Spec MX-5 Series, and Southern Paley Motorsports’ Mustang Challenge program aims to be the next step for drivers in the program.
Toyota Racing Development has unveiled its driver development lineup for this season, one that includes 13 drivers and covers three motorsports disciplines.
“The TD2 program is something that we take much pride in at TRD,” said Trent Rodriguez, manager of driver development at TRD, in a statement. “Providing opportunities for young drivers to reach their goals in motorsports will always be something that TRD celebrates. Our lineup for this season is incredibly diverse and filled with exceptionally talented drivers. With this group, we look forward to earning countless race wins and championships across multiple racing series this year.”
Marcus Simmons in Autosport Plus has penned a thought provoking piece on why F1’s junior logjam isn’t entirely a product of current issues. Part of the problem he argues, is that current development series are one-make, robbing opportunities for young drivers short on budget but high in talent.
“We agreed that one-make racing has killed opportunities for many. Leading drivers back then such as van Kouwen, Andy Wallace or Tim Davies would never have been paying a full budget, but with competition between constructors – back then it was Reynard versus Ralt in F3 – it was in their interest to get the best young talent in their cars.”