THE VOICE OF NATIONAL RACING
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”