MATT AMES

THE VOICE OF NA­TIONAL RAC­ING

Motor Sport News - - Racing News -

It is great that the sport’s gov­ern­ing body in the United King­dom, the Mo­tor Sports As­so­ci­a­tion, has thrown its weight fully be­hind train­ing and de­vel­op­ing the lat­est raft of rac­ing and ral­ly­ing tal­ent in this coun­try through its academy pro­grammes, as you can read in David Evans’s fea­ture on page 24.

There is al­ways a de­bate about how young tal­ent in this coun­try should be backed and de­vel­oped. The eas­i­est ar­gu­ment, and one which the top brass at the gov­ern­ing body find in­fu­ri­at­ing, is that it should have a bot­tom­less pit of cash to throw at any driver who shows them­selves to be half­way ca­pa­ble of reach­ing the top of the sport.

This has been done by other coun­tries with vary­ing de­grees of suc­cess. Per­haps the most suc­cess­ful ex­am­ples of this come from ral­ly­ing, with both Se­bastien Loeb and Se­bastien Ogier, who were both well backed by the French mo­tor­sport fed­er­a­tion, the FFSA, in the ear­lier stages of their ca­reer.

Of course it is im­por­tant for a coun­try’s rep­re­sen­ta­tives to do well at the high­est lev­els of the sport. In the purest sense, a suc­cess­ful Bri­tish driver in rac­ing means a suc­cess­ful Bri­tish Grand Prix and that, in turn, means a suc­cess­ful UK mo­tor rac­ing in­dus­try and in­fra­struc­ture.

But the de­sire to just give huge chunks of cash to up-and-com­ing driv­ers and then cross­ing your fin­gers and hop­ing that they make it to the top level is highly risky. No driver is guar­an­teed to get the right breaks, no mat­ter how tal­ented they are and the fund­ing re­quired for just one driver to make it to the very top level is huge.

There is a clam­our from peo­ple who are very un­re­al­is­tic about the fi­nances of mo­tor rac­ing for the MSA to give ris­ing tal­ents a blank cheque­book. That is a very short-sighted opin­ion.

Through its Team UK scheme, the Mo­tor Sports As­so­ci­a­tion and its gu­rus have come up with an­other way of help­ing the next raft of ral­ly­ing and rac­ing hope­fuls. It gives the best of the Bri­tish tal­ents a chance to ma­ture and to pick up new skills and tips to en­hance their ca­reer through train­ing and per­sonal de­vel­op­ment.

This scheme has been a decade in the mak­ing and it means that Bri­tain can pro­duce dozens of highly qual­i­fied and race-ready tal­ents, rather than putting all of its weight be­hind just one or two and then hop­ing that they turn out to be good enough.

We could well end up with a huge swathe of top flight driv­ers, which will only serve to pro­tect the fu­ture of mo­tor rac­ing in this coun­try.

JAMES “The MSA has a great academy”

Team UK driv­ers were put through their paces

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