The Selection Event for this year's FIA Institute Young Driver Excellence Academy began in Melk, Austria this morning. Today's activities included a variety of driving, fitness and team-building tests. The FIA Institute interviewed three of the drivers after Day One.
Richie Stanaway (19, New Zealand)
Kevin Abbring (21, Netherlands)
Molly Taylor (22, Australia)
Q: Why did you apply for the FIA Institute Young Driver Excellence Academy?
Richie Stanaway (RS): Motorsport NZ suggest I apply for the Academy and it’s certainly an opportunity that I didn’t want to miss out on. It’s really important to get involved with the FIA Institute and I’m very happy to be here.
Kevin Abbring (KA): Because I want to know where I am standing among the other drivers and it helps to keep me in the picture. It is also helping me to discover my weak and strong points.
Molly Taylor (MT): I came over to the UK to throw everything I had into a motor sport career and an opportunity like this, to be part of a new initiative with the FIA Institute is great. I don’t have a huge budget, so to have the potential to have access to people with so much experience is a fantastic way to try and further my career.
Q: What did you get out of today and what do you think of the Academy so far?
RS: In the fitness sector, I’d never done such a thorough warm-up before and that showed in my results in the beep test. Usually, I suffer from some exercise-induced asthma and that preparation helped me get a better result than I normally would. Normally, my heart rate is around 190, but today I got it to 199 [bpm]. The isometric core tests and back tests we did today were all new to me, but I learned so much in just a few hours.
KA: In the driving, I feel the handling of the car is not the problem for me. In the smooth driving, when you have to carry the speed with the car, I felt that sometimes I was steering too much. This is nice to me to learn and know, it’s going to help me with rally competition in the future.
MT: A lot, actually. It’s always good to be put in these environments, surrounded by so many competitive people; to be really thrown in at the deep end. For me, I’m very overwhelmed by the company that I’m in, so it’s easy to feel a bit intimidated by that, but you can learn a lot from those people. You have to perform under pressure and that’s everything you do on the stage in a rally.
Q: What does the future hold for you?
RS: I need to focus on this year and the German F3 championship and then progress further in single-seaters in 2012. I’ve been living in Germany for the last 18 months and it’s really helped to be part of the European racing series.
KA: I think I will drive in the Intercontinental Rally Challenge, probably in a Mitsubishi Lancer in the new R4 category, this year. If I can find some more budget I would like to go to the WRC, but for now that’s not possible. I did the Gymkhana Grid event with Ken Block in America last year. That taught me it is important to create the personality and to try to combine a few autosports together.
MT: My goal is to be in the World Rally Championship. When I came to the UK I started a five-year plan and this is year three. Getting experience of the WRC is important for this year and then progress through the ranks to get to year five and be in the Super 2000 WRC or the Production Car WRC with plenty of experience.
Click here to view and download images from Day One of the FIA Institute Young Driver Excellence Academy. These images are available for editorial use only.