New speed school to groom Emiratis for F1
Abu Dhabi, October 31, 2013
Abu Dhabi Racing has partnered with the National Health Insurance Company - Daman to establish a driving academy with the long-term objective of delivering the first Emirati Formula 1 drive.
The first batch of seven UAE Nationals selected for the Daman Speed Academy will begin an eight-month training programme based at Yas Marina Circuit immediately after this weekend’s F1 Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.
The academy sets out to produce a new generation of racing drivers to compete at international level in motor sport disciplines ranging from karting to single seaters, GT and endurance racing, and rallying.
A prize fund is being set up to provide the drivers with sponsorship to compete in local and international race series in order to gain experience and further develop their capabilities.
The academy concept and programme were outlined at an official press conference yesterday (October 30) by Khaled Al Qubaisi, managing director of Abu Dhabi Racing, and Dr. Sven Rohte, chief commercial officer, Daman.
“The main objective is to offer a very high level of training to develop the driving skills of young UAE Nationals and prepare them for careers as professional racing drivers,” said Al Qubaisi.
“As part of this process, we will be grooming them to become junior ambassadors for their country and role models for other young Emiratis, working to promote the leisure, sporting and business attractions of the UAE, as well as its culture and heritage. Abu Dhabi Racing is very grateful to Daman for supporting us in this exciting new venture, and we look forward to working together to develop a new breed of young racing drivers the UAE can be proud of.”
Dr. Rohte added: “The Academy aims to build winners and is based on developing physical fitness, concentration and performance orientation; all key attributes of success on or off the racetrack. We believe that the DNA of a champion racer is akin to that of a successful professional; the desire to succeed and be the best cannot be taught, but it can be developed and shaped to maximise results. We are excited to be part of this venture and fully expect it will have a positive contribution to the professional development of the national workforce.”
The first batch of Emiratis to enter the Daman Speed Academy programme were chosen from 40 candidates, aged between 13-17, who were originally identified based on their karting results in the UAE over the last two years. All were interviewed prior to the final seven being selected.
Starting next week, the Daman Speed Academy training programme will see the seven embark on intensive twice weekly sessions to be held between the karting tracks at Yas Marina Circuit, Al Forsan International Sports Resort in Abu Dhabi, Al Ain Raceway and Dubai Autodrome.
The programme consists of on- and off-track coaching to develop driving skills, physical fitness sessions, advice on leading a healthy lifestyle, diet assessment, media training and instruction on safety and rules.
The drivers will also attend race meetings to develop wider understanding of professional motor sport, and receive monthly evaluations looking at their effort, progress, skills, and commitment to the programme and also identifying areas for improvement.
Any driver not achieving the standards expected will be eliminated on completion of the programme in mid June, although the intention is that all seven will immediately head for Europe for a series of additional summer training sessions at seven different French race tracks.
The prize fund being established by Abu Dhabi Racing will be used to enter the drivers into race meetings and championships. Depending on age and performance level, they will compete in karting and single seater events.
The most advanced drivers will have the chance to take part later in the season in selected races in the FG 1000 Formula Gulf Championship run between the UAE and Bahrain, with the prospect of a full championship campaign the following season.
Throughout the eight months of the training programme, the seven drivers will have access to the Al Forsan karting track and fitness facilities to continue their development under the guidance of a nutritionist and health expert provided by Daman. – TradeArabia News Service
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