New Dunlop Race Academy Format Revealed
ITV has Simon Cowell and the X Factor, but Dunlop has the Dunlop Race Academy, and the motorsport equivalent of the popular talent show has announced a number of changes for 2009. This year the Dunlop Race Academy will focus on developing drivers aged between 16 and 30 who have already made a start in their race careers. The competition has also introduces a new geographical element, dividing the UK into six regions, pitting drivers from each region against each other.
“More people race on Dunlop tyres than any other brand and we are committed to developing racing talent,” commented Dunlop’s communications manager James Bailey. “During the course of the Dunlop Race Academy we will be looking at the talents of racing drivers from all around Britain. Six of them, one from each region will have the opportunity to develop their driving skills with the Dunlop Race Academy experts. That is a prize in itself, but three of those will go on to the next stage; a drive in a round of the 2009 Dunlop Sport Maxx Cup. The best performer will get a full season of racing in the 2010 Dunlop Sport Maxx Cup. Whatever stage our regional finalists get to, they will have the opportunity to improve their craft.
“Undoubtedly, race winners are skilled and talented, but today’s world of media, drivers need to show some personality and presence if they are going to make it right to the top,” Bailey added. “To reflect this, entrants are being asked to submit an audition video of themselves online. We’re not looking for a video that only has images of them on a track, we want to see something that shows their personality and a taste of how these drivers can perform for the cameras.” In short, the communications manager believes that “the selection process should ensure that our winner not only has the skill and talent to make it to the top, but also the personality and presence the public will warm to.”
Entrants must have a valid national A or B race licence. Those who visit the Autosport Show on January 8 will be able register and take advantage of the services of a professional camera crew to help them compile the video audition element of the competition, and entries can be submitted at the Dunlop stand throughout the course of the show. Those unable to make it to the show can enter online at dunlopdriversclub.co.uk throughout February and March.
The Dunlop Race Academy judges will monitor the performance of the nominated drivers in the opening races of the season in April and May 2009. The public will be able to keep abreast of their favourite driver online and will have the opportunity to add their vote to those of the judges. In June, the top driver from each of six regions of the UK will be announced and invited to a full day of assessment, evaluation and coaching with the Dunlop Race Academy judges and experts. The top three drivers from the Dunlop Race Academy evaluation day will each win a drive in one of the final three Dunlop Sport Maxx Cup races of 2009. These are BTCC style triple-header events, so each contender will have three attempts at impressing the judges.
The top driver from these three races will win a season in the 2010 Dunlop Sport Maxx Production Cup, an opportunity to showcase their talent in one of the UK’s most prestigious saloon and sports car racing championships racing on the Dunlop Great and British Festival promoted package. It could also be the opportunity of a lifetime, adds Dunlop.