The Motorsport UK Academy members for 2023 have been announced providing these young drivers with expert guidance and training, and this is just some of the driver development news this week.
In addition to the Motorsport UK Academy, additional driver development news includes announcements from a pair of F1 Academy programs, the IMSA Diverse Driver Development Scholarship being open for applications, some excellent prizes for the winner of the 2023 ROKiT F4 British Championship and more.
I also feature several racecraft tips and advice plus three great Driver Snapshots that will hopefully inspire you. All this and more on this week’s Driver Development News & Racecraft Tips & Techniques Roundup on Motorsport Prospects.
Racecraft Tips & Techniques
Lucas di Grassi feels that he has the final solution for Track Limits. “Track limit problem plagues modern motorsport. What to do and how to police it? Currently the mainstream solution is either adding kerbs or video analysis by the regulators. This isn’t working well because of a clear problem: it needs to be processed and communicated by a human and the penalties happens way after it happened. Or in the case of kerbs, we have seen cars literally flight off the track like Monza or Spa. It is bad for the regulators, for the drivers and for the public. I’m here to suggest something totally different: Automated system based on optical sensors precision.”
Blayze has put together a Braking Masterclass For Racecar Drivers. “Where and how we attack and release the brakes is the single most important part of the corner and race track. In this article, we’re going to tackle exactly how we can improve our braking so that you can enter into any corner in the fastest possible way.”
Ross Bentley of Speed Secrets answers the question: How do I fix my car from understeering early in the corner and then snapping to oversteer exiting it? “Ahhh, the classic “understeer-snap-oversteer” problem.”
Your Data Driven has made a free preview available of their Motorsports Data Analysis Course. “In this instant access, easy-to-follow, self-paced online course, you will learn the fundamentals of data analysis. You’ll learn how to use your data logger to collect and analyse data, and then, how to interpret and apply the results to improve your driving on the track.” Click the link above for the free preview.
On episode 88 of the “Inside the SCCA” podcast, host Brian Bielanski is joined by Formula Vee driver Zach Whitston. Zach won both rounds of the 2022 Hoosier Racing Tire SCCA Super Tour at Circuit of the Americas, so he makes for a fantastic guest to discuss what it takes to get around COTA as the circuit hosts the 2023 Hoosier Super Tour during the Feb. 10-12, 2023, weekend. Zach lives in Austin, Texas, so he also offers a few suggestions about what local joints serve up the best barbecue. You can listen here.
Virginia International Raceway Track Updates: Turn 14. “Please see the picture above as it illustrates where we have modified the guardrail and the primary and secondary barriers at Turn 14 Driver/Rider Left on the Full Course including newly configured and installed and updated catch fence. This update will help to contain vehicles that have left the track surface from being able to continue going into a downhill drop-off into the trees on drivers/riders left and works in conjunction with the 2022 updates on Drivers/Riders right which are not pictured here.”
Race Driver Development News & Resources
Welcome to ice racing: The accessible and unpredictable motorsport putting women in the driver’s seat. “You want to go out there and slide around because it’s fun,” Gray said last weekend. “But if you want to win and you want to get ahead of everyone, you have to drive really calm, be really patient. You want to keep putting your foot down on the throttle, but you’re just going to spin your tires. Probably my greatest skill in ice racing is that I’m willing to wait patiently for the car to come to me.”
The recipient of the next IMSA Diverse Driver Development Scholarship will have added tools at their disposal to further their racing career and grow their personal brand. The application process for the scholarship to be awarded covering the 2024-25 IMSA seasons is open now.
New perks this year include a series of learning modules made available to candidates selected from the application pool to bolster their off-track skills and make them stronger candidates in the final step of the process to determine the scholarship winner and two alternates. Subjects of the learning modules include IMSA marketing and sponsorship resources, business development, social media best practices, networking and enhancing interview skills.
Applications for the 2024-25 scholarship are accepted through March 24. Candidates will be announced in early April, allowing them time in the spring and summer to complete the learning modules, attend team integration opportunities hosted by IMSA at race events and complete their final scholarship applications by Sept. 1 with the scholarship recipient announced this fall.
For more information and to apply for the IMSA Diverse Driver Development Scholarship, click here.
The Motorsport UK Academy, the governing body’s talent development pathway, has announced 77 drivers as part of its Team UK, Co-Drivers and Futures Y1 and Y2 programs. The Academy equips the UK’s most promising young drivers and co-drivers with the knowledge, skills and attitude needed to maximize their performance. Across the Academy programs, expert coaches, partners, and staff all work together towards a shared vision of identifying and supporting talented athletes on their motorsport journey, effectively preparing them for the world of high-performance motorsport and beyond.
In addition, they have announced that Motorsport UK Academy members are to receive expert insight from Greenlight Sports Management. Founded by 2003 Le Mans24 Hour winner Guy Smith and Bentley Factory Driver and Team UK Performance Manager Andy Meyrick, the two will deliver workshops to Motorsport UK Academy drivers on the Enhanced Diploma in Sporting Excellence (DiSE) and Team UK Futures Programmes. The workshops will enable drivers to receive crucial guidance on how to push their career forwards through the identification and management of opportunities to succeed on and off the track. In addition, Motorsport UK Academy drivers not affiliated to another management company will be offered free consultation on their services from mentoring, representation and negotiation, administration, branding and content creation as well as PR and communications.
A number of Formula 1 Academies have announced their 2023 rosters in the last week.
- The Alpine Formula 1 team has established a new karting program to find and develop young female drivers and has added Sophia Floersch to its driver academy as part of its ongoing Rac(H)er initiative. The program will contain a significant research element which promised to “include the deconstruction of stereotypes using research with the funding of a scientific study to definitively break down all the pseudo-scientific alleged hurdles to F1 female competition (fitness, cognitive)”.
- Meanwhile, Sauber has named four drivers in their F1 academy for the 2023 season who will be competing in four different categories.
Feeder Series has the latest news on the F1 Academy as the grid starts to take shape. Hard to tell the difference between the F1 Academy and the W Series at this rate. “The news of Pulling and Martí’s signings are arguably the strongest indication yet that W Series is dead in the water. If they were unable to find a position further up the single-seater ladder, as suggested by Powell, then surely Pulling and Martí would have signed up for W Series in an instant rather than make a step down to F1 Academy.”
As part of the announcement that ROKiT was continuing on as the title sponsor for the 2023 ROKiT F4 British Championship, they announced the ROKiT Racing Star program. “In addition to the title rights and associated benefits, ROKiT is funding the ROKiT Racing Star programme that will provide talent, sourced through an esports programme, the opportunity to race on track in the 2023 ROKiT British Formula 4 Championship.”
McLaren Racing will continue to provide a unique opportunity for the 2023 ROKiT F4 British Championship winner to embed themselves within their Formula 1 team at the 2024 British Grand Prix. The experience includes access to the Woking-based team and industry-leading engineering staff.
The 750 Motor Club‘s John Miles Young Driver Award will return at the next Annual Awards Night, following judging that will take place across the 2023 season.
In order to qualify for this year’s award, the driver must be aged 30 or under on 1st March 2023, be competing at a minimum of five 750MC race meetings this season, and have no more than three years of circuit racing experience as of 1st March 2023. Drivers looking to put themselves forward should send a racing ‘CV’ and photo of their current racecar to firstname.lastname@example.org
American Endurance Racing has announced widely that if you’ve never raced with them before, they’ll waive the entry fee for first-timers. Road & Track asked John Kolesa, the series founder and president, why they’re doing this: “It can be hard to get racers to try something new, especially when it comes to grassroots racers. We’re so confident that once they try AER, they will be back. We started this program last year and it was hugely successful. Everyone who took us up on it has returned and become a part of our community.”
Based on overwhelming positive feedback received from the SCCA Women on Track survey that went out in December 2022, SCCA Women on Track and the SCCA will be testing Ladies Bump classes starting at the March 10-12, 2023, Tire Rack SCCA Red Hills Solo National Tour at South Georgia Motorsports Park in Adel, GA. The new Ladies Bump classes are intended to group competition for Ladies classes sporting fewer than five entries, with the Bump classes not necessarily offered at every stop during the 2023 Tire Rack SCCA Solo National Tour.
The On the Kerbs podcast features Danielle Simpson who discusses the Mindset Mission and mental health in F1 and beyond. “On the Kerbs with me this time is Mindset Coach and author of The Mindset Mission, Danielle Simpson. Mental Health has been coming more and more into the forefront of Motorsport in recent years and this is something that Danielle has been pushing for as she works with young up and coming racing drivers. We chatted about how and why she decided to do this, her varied career in Motorsport up to now, her ambitions for the future and plenty more!” You can watch the interview on the video above.
Is Hyderabad to be the Formula Race capital of India? “It will begin with sim-racing and karting academies starting in Hyderabad for the Indian Racing League (IRL), which tested the limits of Hyderabad Street Circuit and aims to provide a grassroots development programme to put our city on the global motorsports map and develop talent that can compete in international series.”
Autosport looks at the UK college breaking down barriers to motorsport. “Many students have been inspired to take up sim racing, and the college hopes to give all its students the best possible chance of getting into careers in motorsport, regardless of the challenges they may face. The equipment is not only available to Esports students, either – young people studying any course are able to join thrice-weekly practice sessions.”
Learning from the experience of others is key to succeeding in any walk of life and racing is no different. In Driver Snapshots, I will feature the experiences of various drivers where you can get some perspective on what they have gone through (and continue to go through) as they work to make their motorsport careers happen. I hope you can take some lessons from these experiences and apply them to your own motorsport careers.
Chris Hacker, who suffered a brachial plexus injury at birth, spoke about his improbable journey to NASCAR, how he has pushed through the disability, and his partnership with Morgan & Morgan. “There are a lot of small things that add up quite a bit, like mentally. Small physical hindrances add up to affect you mentally. But thankfully my parents kind of gave me the mindset where nothing is going to hold me back, and they never tried to hold me back themselves. Having them as a great support system growing up has allowed me to figure out my own way of doing things, if that makes sense.”
Roland Dane in Speed Cafe explains the significance of Chloe Chambers’ Toyota FR race win. “Last weekend Chloe Chambers, an 18-year-old driver from the USA, won Race 2 of the final event (held at Taupo) of the 2023 Toyota Formula Regional Oceania Championship – the series we’ve all known as TRS for many years. I believe that’s the first race win for a female driver in an FIA single-seater Regional Championship. It’s also mighty impressive in my book.”
Following his dominant win at Jacques Villeneuve and Patrick Lemarié’s FEED racing school last summer, Kevin Foster is now eager to make his single-seater debut in 2023. At 19 years old, the Canadian-Korean knows he does not have the typical profile of a future F1 star but believes in his chances of success in the future. He talked to Feeder Series about his upcoming season in French F4.