10 Apr 08
The FIA has announced details of a brand new scheme to seek out talented young rally drivers from around the world and help them to reach World Championship level.
Run in conjunction with Pirelli, the official tyre supplier to the WRC, the ‘Star Driver’ project is a worldwide search for five young rally drivers from the FIA Regional Championships in 2008 and 2009.
One driver will be selected from each of the Middle East, Asia-Pacific and Africa regions, while two will be selected from the European region after a three-day ‘shoot-out’. All drivers must be under the age of 27 on 1 January of their championship year to be eligible. The FIA hopes to expand the programme into South America in 2009.
The successful drivers from each year will then contest a series of six WRC rallies the following season, driving a fully funded identical Group N or Super 2000 car.
The FIA says that during 2008 and 2009, ways in which to develop the scheme - including the opportunity for the most successful Star Driver to be offered a test drive by a registered WRC team - will be studied.
As well as giving a career boost to five talented individuals, Pirelli and the FIA are also working together to raise the worldwide profile of rallying.
The FIA regions, working with all their National Sporting Authorities (ASNs), will be provided with development assistance to promote their Regional Championship and help competitors contest their events. The project will also provide funding for personal development, fitness and safety programmes, as well as additional promotional opportunities.