The Confederation of Australian Motor Sport (CAMS) has approved a change to the minimum licensing age requirement for circuit racing in Australia from 16 to 14 years, creating a smoother pathway for up-and-coming young drivers. The change allows...
The Confederation of Australian Motor Sport (CAMS) has approved a change to the minimum licensing age requirement for circuit racing in Australia from 16 to 14 years, creating a smoother pathway for up-and-coming young drivers.
The change allows CAMS to identify high potential in drivers at an early age and develop a continuous pathway - from kart racing, under AKA sanction, through to circuit racing - where drivers may compete in a progressive manner.
New Zealand IndyCar Champion Scott Dixon and British Formula One World Champion Lewis Hamilton are successful examples of the benefits associated with competing from a young age.
Superkart racer Sean Whitfield, who turns 14 in May, is one of the young drivers who will take advantage of the new rule when he makes his Formula Ford debut as part of the Mygale Australia Team in May this year.
"The change in licensing requirements is a great step forward and will allow me to continue learning the skills I will need to succeed in a motor sport career," said Whitfield.
"It gives me the opportunity to progress into open wheelers and race at a higher level.
"Having spent the last two years racing Superkarts I feel I have the necessary experience and am ready to step up.
"I can't wait to get on track in a Formula Ford and continue learning from the experienced drivers and advisors."
Effective immediately, the decision brings CAMS in line with other FIA-affiliated National Sporting Authorities (ASNs), such as Motor Sport New Zealand (MSNZ) and the Motor Sports Association United Kingdom (MSA) with their minimum age requirement being 12 and 14 years respectively. There are also several other ASNs, particularly within the Asia region, which will consider an application for a driver under the age of 16 years on a case-by-case basis.
The FIA permits drivers, through the provisions of the International Sporting Code, to hold an international licence from the age of 16 years. The FIA does not specify a minimum age for national licences, leaving this at the discretion of ASNs; however it requires that drivers must demonstrate two years experience at National level to be eligible for their international licence. Lowering the minimum age requirement to 14 years for circuit racing in Australia now gives drivers the opportunity to gain the two years experience at National level and be eligible to apply for their international licence at 16 years of age.
"This decision not only brings CAMS in line with other ASNs around the world, it allows us to strengthen relationships with them, particularly those in the region in which we operate," said CAMS CEO Graham Fountain.
"Lowering the minimum licensing age facilitates greater participation in motor sport by attracting junior competitors and developing driver pathways."
Formula Vee, a CAMS entry-level formula and the most cost-effective open wheel formula in Australia, will play a significant role under the new licensing arrangement.
"CAMS recent reduction in the minimum age for circuit racing is great news for Formula Vee racing," said Formula Vee Association of Victoria President Mark Zellner.
"As an entry level open-wheel category it gives young up-and-comers an opportunity to race and learn a number of tracks without needing a huge budget, before perhaps moving on to other categories or National-level competition.
"We look forward to seeing a number of younger drivers joining us on the track very soon."
The new provisions
A driver who has reached 14 years of age is now eligible to apply for a Provisional Clubman Circuit (PCC) licence. Once a driver has competed in a minimum of five circuit race meetings using this licence the driver is then eligible to apply for a Provisional Circuit (PC) licence.
Drivers who hold a PCC or a PC licence will be permitted to compete in an automobile with a cylinder capacity no greater than:
- 1st Category automobiles (open wheel): 1600cc
- 2nd Category automobiles (sports cars): 2000cc
- 3rd Category automobiles (touring cars): 2500cc
In reaching its decision, CAMS has undertaken extensive research regarding this matter, consulting other FIA-affiliated ASNs, the FIA directly, and CAMS insurance providers. As part of the research that took place, the processes and regulations that are currently used by MSA and MSNZ were considered.