It is the off-season for most race drivers but that does not mean the work stops. This week you will learn some tips on how to best prepare for your next race season.
In addition to preparing for next season, I have details on how the MX-5 Cup, the new Saudi F4 series and the New Zealand Formula Ford Championship all prepare young drivers to grow their racing careers. You will also learn how young drivers fit in to the new-look DTM, the expansion of the Radical Racing Academy and FIA Girls on Track news.
All this and much more in this week’s edition of the Driver Development Roundup on Motorsport Prospects. Its news aspiring race drivers can use.
Enzo Mucci‘s goal with the video above is to make you smarter, faster and more successful in 2024. “For the last episode of Season 7, let’s make a plan to keep you busy over winter and help you be more in 2024.”
Blayze racing coach Ken Hill discusses how you can create a plan to train while in the offseason. There are dozens of skills and techniques you can use to prepare yourself for the next racing season.
Racer magazine looks at the Mazda MX-5 Cup, a series they call the enabler of dreams.
“The Scholarships are something that we hold closely to our hearts,” says Mazda Senior Manager of Motorsports Jonathan Applegate. “We consider ourselves an enabler of dreams. The Shootout is right in the middle of it and is really the golden thread that connects our grassroots programs through the MX-5 Cup and beyond. We see this as a pivotal point in a driver’s career,” he adds. “Motorsports is among the most expensive professional sports, which means there’s a high cost of entry barrier. So, we continue to create opportunities that help get aspiring drivers to the next level.”
With the “New Era 2024/2028” project, the Italian Prototype Championship will complete its relaunch with a new car, the Wolf Raiden GB08, a car which is even more powerful, faster, and selective. In addition to this, the series is now open to fifteen-year-old drivers, for what Vroom Kart calls a faster and cheaper alternative to Formula 4.
“Another very important innovation, on a sporting level, is the opening up to fifteen-year-olds, who will thus be able to make the leap from karting and find a valid alternative to Formula 4. In addition to being on average 4 seconds per lap faster than the latter, the cost of the championship has been set at 99,000 Euros, which becomes 149,000 if you want to keep the car at the end of the season: in practice racing with the Wolf GB08 Raiden will cost exactly ¼ compared to Formula 4, which requires a budget of around 400,000 Euros.”
Described by the team as the “closest” Ferrari Driver Academy Scouting World Finals ever, Dutch prospect René Lammers emerged victorious.
Marco Matassa, head of the Ferrari Driver Academy, said: “This was one of the closest Scouting World Finals we have ever witnessed, with so many drivers at the same level. We congratulate René for coming out on top, especially as he had the disadvantage of being the least experienced of the group. We wish him the best of luck in 2024. He is really promising, we believe he can make progress and our paths might well cross in the future. I also want to congratulate Emanuele, William, Pedro Juan and Enzo for having been contenders right to the very end, and we send them our best wishes for their future in motorsport.”
Roland Dane of Speed Cafe chines in with his opinion on F4’s return to Australia. “There’s a huge difference in cost and time between competing in the new Australian Championship and going to, for instance, a European series. Whilst, in the end a young driver may very well end up over there, he or she can get a feel for the same car in a local environment without breaking the bank.”
The 2022 New Zealand Formula Ford Championship is set to get underway with the naming of a new category sponsor. NAPA Auto Parts have come on board for the two-round championship to be known as the NAPA Auto Parts New Zealand Formula Ford Championship.
“NAPA are really proud to be supporting the Formula Ford Championship in NZ,” commented General Manager of Sales and Operations, Tony Walker. “Formula Ford is a great series with some brilliant drivers, so it was a logical choice for us. Many would have seen the motorsport pedigree of NAPA around the globe, so it is great to be able to leverage this in New Zealand and partner with local racing. This sponsorship complements the recent launch of our NAPA Know How Motorsport Academy which supports local drivers with on and off-track support to develop their racing careers.”
Talk Motorsport break down the various prize packages that will be awarded including a two-day Formula 4 test in the USA for the overall winner with flights and accommodation covered by the category.
Organizers of the new Saudi F4 series have emphasized that the series focus is on driver development and not on providing a winter series for European drivers like F4 UAE.
“We’re not trying to be better. We’re focused on what we do, which is very different from what they do. They’re focused on giving European drivers an opportunity to do some racing, we’re focusing on developing local talents. F4 UAE is a five or six-week holiday for European teams and drivers, it’s a winter test series in very great conditions, but they are not involved in the culture and the development of motorsport in the region. They’re utilising the great weather we have there in the region.”
“The difference is that we’re always there. We’re focused on bringing the first Arab driver to F1, where F4 UAE has a different focus and a different price category. An F4 UAE season is around 400,000 dollars while we don’t exceed 130,000 dollars. I believe most of the drivers who will be racing with us this year, wouldn’t have raced in F4 without us.”F4 Saudi set to start this weekend at Sakhir: “The grid is full”
“Newcomers to the Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup, the so-called rookies, enjoy special support. As a coach, Marco Seefried, himself an active racing driver, is on hand to help with questions about technology or tactics, for example. The young drivers also benefited from a special fitness regime including a pre-season medical test. The rookies also exchanged ideas with seasoned specialists such as ex-Formula 1 driver Timo Glock and former deputy race director of Formula 1 Herbie Blash.”
The Race looks at the new-look DTM and how rookie drivers fit into the mix. ADAC’s plan, starting from next year, is positioning ADAC GT Masters as part of an IndyCar ‘Road to Indy’-style system with DTM at the top – and Road to Indy-like financial rewards to help drivers move up the ladder and promote their participation.
“Many single-seater drivers progress to LMP cars nowadays – so if you want to shine yourself, if you want to make a name, it’s very difficult in an LMP2 car, with three drivers, in position 25 in an eight-hour race somewhere without spectators,” DTM comms chief Oliver Runschke quipped. “So, look at this here – we have DTM live on broadcast in 150 territories. The other races are also great for a young driver – going to Le Mans, going to WEC, going to North America, it’s great. Great racing, great experience. But if you want to prove yourself, make a name, the DTM is the best spot.”
Clio Cup Europe has announced their 2024 calendar with a host of changes to build on the series’ past success.
“Always extremely competitive, the internal classifications will also be revamped to offer greater clarity to participants and observers, as there will be three classes with the Juniors Cup, the Challengers Cup and the Gentlemen Cup. The Juniors Cup will be open for drivers born in 2001 or later who have never won a Clio Cup title. At the same time, the Gentlemen Cup will be for competitors born before 1979 who haven’t won in the last ten years or finished in the top three of Clio Cup Europe or a similar discipline. Lastly, the new format of the Challengers Cup will be open to competitors born between 1979 and 2000 who have not achieved convincing success in the Clio Cup or similar categories.”
Spring Mountain Motor Resort & Country Club has doubled the program availability in 2024 for its highly popular Radical Racing Academy. The program already boasted the largest fleet of Radical SR3 racecars in the nation for racing drivers and the general public to sample and hone their craft in.
The combination of Spring Mountain’s facility and Radical equipment is a proven formula, having been instrumental throughout the formative years of a number of drivers including 2023 Le Mans Winner (LMP2 Pro-Am) George Kurtz, four times Le Mans starter and 2017 European Le Mans Champion (LMP3) John Falb, multi-time Radical Cup North America champion and 2023 Radical World Champion (Platinum) Alan Miller as well as 2023 Petit Le Mans winner (GTD), 2022 Radical World Champion (Pro 1340) and Official Lamborghini Young Driver Patrick Liddy.
Spring Mountain will now host multiple 2-Day Radical Racing Academy per month. Tuition starts at $5,495, and enrollment includes clubhouse access with breakfast and lunch prepared by Spring Mountain’s onsite chef. Accommodations in Spring Mountain’s condominiums are available for an additional fee. Call 800-381-6891 or view online at www.radicalracingacademy.com.
Formula E and the FIA have announced that more girls than ever before will participate in the FIA Girls on Track program at Formula E races next season, which will also include a role on the race winner’s podium for the first time.
The program for girls aged 12 to 18 will extend to all 11 race weekends in the ABB FIA Formula E World Championship in 2024, up from five race weekends in earlier seasons. More than 1,650 girls will take part at Formula E races in Mexico City, Diriyah, Hyderabad, São Paulo, Tokyo, Misano, Monaco, Berlin, Shanghai, Portland, and London.
Parella Motorsports Holdings (PMH) has opened applications for the 2024 class of the PMH Powering Diversity Scholarship. Entering the fourth year of the program, the scholarship looks to create a more diverse field while empowering drivers from a variety of backgrounds to participate in PMH-owned race series. Scholarship recipients will receive free entries for any PMH-owned race series, including Sportscar Vintage Racing Association (SVRA), The Trans Am Series presented by Pirelli, Formula Regional Americas Championship (FR Americas), Formula 4 United States Championship (F4 U.S.), Ligier JS F4 Series, TA2 Club and Prototype Sprint Series Association presented by Hankook (PSSA). In addition to providing free entry fees, the program aligns recipients with a team of executives and mentors, while also providing them with a variety of media and fan engagement opportunities.
Drivers looking to join the PMH Powering Diversity Scholarship Class of 2024 are encouraged to visit SpeedTour.net/Scholarship to apply. All applications must be submitted by January 15, 2024.