A sim racer will graduate to real world racing this week during the inaugural Prodigy Week, details of which are part of this week’s Driver Development news.
I also have news on the future of the Formula Ford Festival, the prize for winning the inaugural F1 Academy Championship and some rally and rally-raid driver development news.
All this in this week’s edition of the Driver Development Roundup on Motorsport Prospects. Its news aspiring racers can use.
This week is Prodigy Week, part 1 of Racing Prodigy‘s sim racing to real-world racing program. Prodigy Pass winners from around the world earned their “golden tickets” for all-expense-paid trips to Atlanta Motorsports Park by winning Prodigy Racing League esports competitions or by being selected by Prodigy Search Committees.
With pro coaches and trainers on hand, Prodigy Week drivers will be tested and evaluated on everything from physical fitness and media readiness to autocross, karting, and racing the Radical SR1 on the main track!
Don’t miss a moment of Prodigy Week. You can watch it all live on the Racing Prodigy YouTube page.
I have mentioned the importance of F1600 (commonly known as Formula Ford) to the development of race drivers, especially when graduating from karting before. I have also mentioned the importance of the Formula Ford Festival as a development tool to race against some of the best drivers at this level on the planet. I have even posted tips on how to be successful at the Festival.
After a thrilling Formula Ford Festival two weekends ago, Autosport looks at what areas the organizers need to address for the future. Organizers are looking at things such as using this year’s thrilling finale as a marketing tool and a possible prize fund. “I think it would be nice to have a prize fund for it – it might bring one or two higher-level drivers in,” BRSCC chairman Peter Daly says.
Recently crowned F1 Academy champion Marta Garcia will transition into the Formula Regional European Championship with the Prema team next year with a fully-funded drive. Prema, who won the FRECA title with Mercedes prospect Andrea Kimi Antonelli this season, will field Garcia through a collaboration with F1 Academy, FRECA chassis manufacturer Tatuus and tyre supplier Pirelli to “provide a financial contribution towards the cost of the seat”.
FRECA will also grant teams the option to deploy a fourth car providing they sign a driver who finished in the top three in the previous season of F1 Academy. Furthermore, F1 Academy has reduced the entry fee that a driver must contribute towards a seat from the previous figure of €150,000 down to €100,000 for 2024.
F1 Academy Managing Director Susie Wolff: “F1 Academy is all about progression and creating more opportunities for young women across motorsport, so to offer a fully funded seat in FRECA for our inaugural champion is a significant moment. The fact that [Garcia] will also continue to race with PREMA, whom she has built a relationship with and are current team champions in this category, will also aid in her future development.”
The Checkered Flag reports that the future of the World Rally-Raid Championship got to showcase their skills in premier machinery recently, hours after the conclusion of the 2023 season at the Rallye du Maroc. Six drivers, mostly coming from the T3 and T4 classes, traded in their side-by-side vehicles for five T1+ cars for the W2RC Next Gen Tryouts, while two others from the bike and co-driving realm sat behind the wheel of a T3 car.
“T3 back in the day wasn’t the most competitive and then this next generation of drivers came in and became, in my opinion, one of the most competitive classes,” commented 2023 T3 Champion Seth Quintero. “We’ve all gone head to head for so long and I know that there are some spots opening up and we’re basically all fighting for those spots. Nothing against any of the old drivers, there’s definitely been some drivers that have been around for a very long time and who knows how much longer they’re going to be around, so hopefully one of these days we’ll step up and take the spot. That’s what we’ve been doing. That’s what the Red Bull Off-Road Junior Team’s for, it’s trying to create spots for kids—not just kids, but for amateurs to learn.”
Secto Rally Finland has been included in the FIA Junior WRC 2024 calendar after the one-make series’ season was announced. Open to drivers aged up to 30 and driving Ford Fiesta Rally3 Evos prepared by M-Sport Poland, the Junior WRC calendar for 2024 boasts five iconic rallies spread across a variety of surfaces.