Improved prize and lower costs characterise unique scheme's second season The quest to unearth a Formula One star of the future continues this July when the worldwide racing driver assessment programme, Grand Prix Shootout, begins. Following...
Improved prize and lower costs characterise unique scheme's second season
The quest to unearth a Formula One star of the future continues this July when the worldwide racing driver assessment programme, Grand Prix Shootout, begins.
Following the success of 2009's inaugural Shootout, whose winners are causing a sensation in the MSA Formula Ford Championship of Great Britain this year, another batch of up-and-coming drivers, as well as a novice or two, will be put through their paces by renowned racing driver coach to the stars Rob Wilson.
Up to ten finalists will then be chosen to test a Formula Ford single seater before an overall winner is decided, their prize a season's fully-funded racing in the British Formula Ford championship throughout 2011 before moving up to the world famous British F3 championship the following year (subject to results). A novice winner will also be selected, should one of sufficient talent be unearthed.
Grand Prix Shootout's reigning champions are doing just that this season. Overall winner Tio Ellinas, who won the World ROK karting championship aged just 14, has caught the eye of a number of Formula 1 teams and backers since making his car racing debut at the start of the season.
Despite limited pre-season testing, the 18-year-old was just moments away from becoming the first driver to qualify on pole for their maiden Formula Ford appearance since Ayrton Senna. Many key people from Formula Ford to Formula One were impressed with the young Cypriot's speed throughout the weekend which included a charging drive from the pit lane to challenge for sixth, setting fastest lap en route, in race two. Incredibly, Ellinas was also offered a test with a leading F1 team at the end of last season, which had to be declined due to his lack of experience!
"I have been involved in driver selection for a number of leading Formula One teams," said Wilson. "Tio Ellinas is certainly talented enough to succeed in Formula One and should be on every team's list of young drivers to watch."
Daniel Domit meanwhile has perhaps been even more impressive. Despite having never raced karts competitively and lacking any previous car experience, the Mexican novice has been sensational in the Scholarship Class, claiming two victories and five further podium finishes on his way to second in the championship, just ten points adrift of the top spot, proving that even those without prior racing knowledge can succeed in Grand Prix Shootout.
Should the eventual winner already be competing at or above Formula Ford level, Grand Prix Shootout will tailor the prize to their experience.
Assessment begins in July when the first of the year's planned days at Bruntingthorpe takes place. This year's costs have also been dramatically reduced with an initial outlay of £3,950 securing the eventual winner a British Formula Ford seat.
To register for this year's Shootout, or for more information, visit www.grandprixshootout.com.