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Old 9th November 2011, 12:59   #1
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Default Indian driver to compete for place in FIA Institute Young Driver Excellence Academy

Indian driver Parth Ghorpade has been chosen to compete for a place on the 2012 FIA Institute Young Driver Excellence Academy. He is one of 30 drivers (only driver for India) chosen to take part in a four-day shootout in Melk, Austria on 15-18 November 2011.

The shortlist is made up of young drivers from 26 different countries covering every continent, including competitors from Australia, Columbia, Costa Rica, Denmark, India, Ireland, Lebanon, Lithuania, Malaysia, South Africa, UAE, UK and USA. They are some of the most talented young drivers in motor racing and rallying, with the shortlist featuring a number of event winners from the Intercontinental Le Mans Cup, Intercontinental Rally Challenge and Formula 3 Championships, as well as drivers with Formula One and World Rally testing experience.

About the Academy

The FIA Institute Young Driver Excellence Academy is an initiative to develop young driver talent worldwide. It offers a fully-funded training programme that helps drivers develop their motor sport careers, whilst increasing safety skills and actively promoting the principles of safety, fairness and responsibility on and off the track.

Launched in 2011, in its first year the Academy selected 12 drivers to take part. In 2012, the intake has been increased to 18 drivers.

For further information about the Academy: Academy

The selection process and training programme will be led by former Formula One driver and two-time Le Mans winner Alex Wurz and former World Rally Champion co-driver Robert Reid. At the Selection Event in Melk, Austria, they will lead exercises designed to evaluate fitness and performance, media techniques, teamwork and psychology. Those that succeed will receive a place on the Academy's fully-funded training programme, which aims to help drivers develop their motor sport careers, whilst increasing safety skills and actively promoting the principles of safety, fairness and responsibility on and off the track.
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Old 9th November 2011, 13:01   #2
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Default The shortlisted drivers

The FIA Institute has shortlisted 30 drivers for the Selection Event. Following four days of driving and non-driving assessments, only 18 of these will be chosen to join the Academy programme.

Parth Ghorpade, 18, India
A winner of five national karting titles, Ghorpade, from Kolhapur, Maharashtra has represented India three times in the Rotax karting championships (twice at junior level and once at senior level). This year he has competed in the French F4 Renault 1.6 championship and despite enduring a challenging season, and being restricted by limited testing, he has three times finished in the top 10. Having learned a number of new tracks this season, including Spa Francorchamps and Paul Ricard, Ghorpade aims to step up to Formula Renault 2.0 for 2012.

Marius Aasen, 19, Norway
After a 2011 season campaigning a Subaru Cup Impreza in Norway, Marius Aasen is relishing the prospect of competing in 2012 in a full-blooded Super 2000 Ford Fiesta, with the aim of becoming Norwegian Rally Champion, as well as competing in a handful of WRC events. Aasen has competed since 2001 and was a keen karter before switching to off-road disciplines in 2008.

Mohamed Al Mutawaa, 18, UAE
Despite only having raced since 2007, Al Mutawaa has already emerged as a leading young talent in his region, having been chosen from more than 700 drivers to represent the UAE in Europe. That meant a spell of racing in Europe, driving Formula Renault 1.6 during 2007-8. He has since raced extensively in the UAE and is currently sponsored by the Yas Marina Circuit, competing in the FG1000 championship.

Klaus Bachler, 20, Austria
Having finished third in the 2011 German Formula 3 championship, with two wins, seven podium finishes and a fastest lap, Bachler is planning to progress through the single-seater categories of European racing. A karter from 2000-2006, Bachler raced competitively in Formula Lista (winning the 2007 championship) and Germany's ADAC Formel Masters championships, before making the step to F3.

Andrea Bate, 22, South Africa
A relative late comer to motor sport, Andrea Bate did not begin racing until 2009. She started with South Africa's Western Cape GTi Challenge and won Rookie of the Year honours, as well as finishing second in class C and fifth overall. From there it was a leap to the national Goldwagen Challenge, taking her to race circuits all across her home country, regularly competing in a field of 44 cars.

Craig Breen, 21, Ireland
Waterford's Craig Breen has had an action-packed 2011, competing in the WRC Academy, the British Rally Championship, the Irish National Rally Championship, as well as several one-off rally entries. He won his first WRC Academy event at the 2011 Rally Deutschland, having won the 2010 Ulster Rally – a round of the British Rally Championship. Although he started his motor sport career in karts in 1999, Breen switched to rallying in 2007, following in the wheeltracks of his father Ray Breen, an Irish national rally champion. In 2010 he won the Pirelli Star Driver global shootout.

Andrea Caldarelli, 21, Italy
This Italian racer from Pescara, the same home town as Formula One driver Jarno Trulli, has spent much of 2011 racing in Asia. He has competed in the GP2 Asia Series, in Formula Nippon (Japan) and in GP3. A former karter, Caldarelli progressed through single-seater categories via Formula Azzurra, Formula Renault 2.0 and in Italian Formula 3, before embarking on his busy 2011 programme. Caldarelli has already enjoyed Formula One tests with Toyota (2008) and Ferrari (2010). The Ferrari test came about as a result of his strong performances in the 2010 Italian Formula 3 championship, in which he finished third.

Gabriel Chaves, 18, Columbia
Gabby Chaves began karting at age 11 – a year in which he was also ranked in the top 10 tennis players in his age group. His first national kart title came in 2005 and he has swiftly progressed through car racing and the noted Skip Barber race school. Chaves spent 2011 racing in GP3, in Europe, finishing 19th out of 38 drivers in his first year in the championship.

Jonas Gelzinis, 23, Lithuania
Jonas Gelzinis last year became the first Porsche Carrera Cup GB driver to be crowned champion as he won the Pro-Am1 title. In the opening race of the Brands Hatch, UK meeting, Gelzinis, driving for Juta Racing, won his tenth Pro-Am1 race, giving him the class crown with three races to run. This year's title win followed a runner-up place in 2010 and he plans next year to race for the title in the more senior Pro category. Gelzinis' background is in karting (1998-2005), before his graduation to car racing for 2006.

Joseph Ghanem, 21, Lebanon
Joseph Ghanem won his first championship aged 14: the 2004 Lebanese Junior Karting Championship. Despite a lack of infrastructure and sponsorship for local drivers in the Middle East, Joe became part of the 2007 A1 Team Lebanon driver development program, and competed in several races in Formula Renault across Europe. With new backing for 2009, he took part in the last two rounds of the British Formula 3 series with Carlin Motorsport, scoring three National Class podiums. Since then he has raced in the Middle East and last year won class C of the UAE GT Championship, driving a Ginetta with Gulfsport Racing.

Samin Gomez, 19, Venezuela
In 2011, Samin Gomez has been competing in European Formula Abarth – a single-seat racing series (formerly known as Formula Azzurra) for drivers between 15 and 21 who have not already competed in any national /international championships at Formula 3 level or higher. Her best results this season, driving for the EuroInternational team, are a series of top-10 finishes. Her career highlight so far is becoming female champion of the Asian Formula Renault series (placing third overall) in 2010.

Richard Gonda, 17, Slovakia
Gonda's early career, from 2003-2008, was spent learning track-racing skills in the Slovakian Minicar championship, which he won in four of those six seasons. Switching to hill climbing for 2009, in a competition Skoda Fabia, Gonda placed third in the junior category. These early successes led to the offer of a place at the Le Mans Auto Sport Academy – a prestigious race school that can count Robert Kubica, Kimi Raikkonen, Lewis Hamilton and Felipe Massa among its alumni. For 2010 Gonda raced in the Carapathian Cup, placing second in the championship, and providing a springboard into mainstream European single-seater competition, in Formula Renault 2.0.

Ashley Haigh-Smith, 19, South Africa
2011 has been an important season for Cape Town's Ashley Haigh-Smith as he was able to step from his national rallying scene into WRC Academy competition. Having won the Class A5 South African National title in 2010, he moved up to Class A6, driving a Ford Fiesta R2, before joining the WRC Academy.

Yazan Hamadeh, 18, Syrian Arab Republic
Hamadeh started karting aged nine, but only began entering championships from age 13. After a relatively short 'apprenticeship' in karting, from 2008-2010 (during which he won the 2010 Saudi Karting League), Hamadeh graduated to the Saudi Formula BMW championship for 2011, racing with the Saudi Falcons team. After six rounds, Hamadeh achieved two wins, two pole positions and another second place. Mechanical problems spoiled his later races, as did a DNF following a collision with his team mate, but Hamadeh ended the year as runner-up. He aims to race in Europe in 2012.

Muhammad Nabil Jan Al Jeffri, 17, Malaysia
Muhammad Nabil Jan Al Jeffri broke into motor sport as a 'treat' from his family: good school grades were rewarded with a day at a race track and family days out were often motor sport-themed. Gripped by the sport, Jeffri won the Asian Karting Open Championship in 2004 – his first title – and has since focused on taking a "disciplined" approach to racing. In 2011 he competed in the JK Racing Asia series (formerly Formula BMW Asia).

Michael Klitgaard Christensen, 21, Denmark
Michael Klitgaard Christensen's 2011 season has been focused on the GP3 championship, in which he finished 11th driving for the RSC Mücke Motorsport team. A trained auto mechanic, Christensen, from Karslunde, began his racing career in karting and was twice German national kart champion, in 2006 and 2007. He raced competitively in Formula BMW in 2008-9, before making the step to GP3 for 2010.

Jack Le Brocq, 19, Australia
A 'Rising Star' of CAMS, Australia's National Sporting Authority, Jack Le Brocq has competed strongly in the 2011 Australian Formula Ford Championship, scoring seven podiums and four wins, and is currently second in the championship with a round to go. His next step is Europe with the UK-based Jamun racing team to compete in British Formula Ford. Melbournian le Brocq, who began karting in 1999 before moving to single-seaters in 2008, is a fan of many sports and a race mechanic when not behind the wheel. His career aim is to become Formula One World Champion.

Michael Lewis, 20, USA
Californian Michael Lewis, who this year has been racing in Italian Formula 3 with the Prema team, is a product of the classic American racing ladder: he started in 1/4 midgets, aged 12, before moving to karting and then Ford Focus Midgets. The switch to single-seaters came in 2008 with a season in Formula BMW America – a category in which he continued through to 2010, in Europe and Asia. The 2011 highlight so far was a win from pole position at Spa-Francorchamps, a result backed up with a number of other strong results including a further win and multiple podium finishes, , placing him second in the championship. In a busy season, Lewis has also competed this year in NASCAR Late Model races.

Olivier Lombard, 20, France
Endurance racer Olivier Lombard is one of a new breed of 'young guns' to have competed this season in the Intercontinental Le Mans Cup. Racing in the LMP2 category for Greaves Motorsport, he was one of a trio of drivers who won the team championship for Greaves, having joined in time for the Le Mans 24 Hours race, which the team went on to win. Parisian Lombard was also one of the LMP2-winning trio at the Imola and Silverstone Six Hours races and he finished the season third in the drivers' standings.

Alexander Lynn, 18, UK
In his first full season of formula circuit racing, Alexander Lynn, driving for Fortec Motorsport, won the 2010 Graduate Cup Trophy of the Formula Renault Series. He raced in the series again in 2011, winning a number of races to take the championship title. A karter since the age of 12 and a motocross rider before that, Lynn raced in New Zealand over the winter of 2010-2011 and was chosen as a BRDC SuperStar driver and a member of the MSA's Team UK on his return.

Diego Menchaca, 17, Mexico
In the five years that Diego Menchaca has been competing, since starting in karts at the age of 12, he has risen through the ranks of Latin American and US motorsport to race last year in the Volkswagen-backed Latam Challenge Series. Promising early results, which included podium finishes in his first karting season, were followed by a strong 2007 in Mexico's National Karting Championship: fourth overall with two wins and five podiums, in the junior class. A championship victory in the same category a year later led OMDAI, the Mexican Federation of Motor Sport, to grant him permission to race the second half of the year in the Formula A category for over-16s. More karting success in 2009 led to an entry in the Florida Winter Tour, that brings together the best of American and European Karting. The switch to single-seaters for 2011 followed Menchaca's winning of the OMDAI's silver helmet kart prize.

Jose Andres Montalto, 21, Costa Rica
Jose Andres Montalto has combined circuit racing and rallying since he started in motor sport. The multi-disciplinary approach was encouraged by Montalto's father, who backed his son in karting from age 11, while also employing him as a co-driver to his own rallying endeavours. Montalto's track career continued through Rotax karting in the USA and, in 2006-7, at the French Filiere Le Mans race school. This led directly to a season in Formula Renault 1600, before a return to Costa Rica for 2008 and a return to rallying. Latterly Montalto has competed in the regional N4 championship class and the NACAM Rally Championship, combining this with drives in the Central American GT3 Championship.

Thierry Neuville, 23, Belgium
Thierry Neuville has been making his mark in rallying since 2008, when he won the Rally Contest of the Royal Automobile Club of Belgium. Since then he has competed in the Intercontinental Rally Challenge and Junior World Rally Championship. His career highlight to date is his win of the 2011 Tour de Corse, co-driven by Nicolas Gilsoul, in a Peugeot 207 Super 2000, to become the IRC's youngest ever winner. He followed this with victory in San Remo, Italy, six rounds later.

Andrea Nucita, 22, Italy
Nucita has been one of the leading protagonists in a season-long tussle for honours in the Italian Rally Junior Championship. After eight rounds that featured many of Italy's classic rally stages, Sicilian Nucita, driving a Renault Clio, finished just a point behind champion Simone Campedelli – with engine problems having denied him a final chance to challenge for the title.

Ramon Pineiro, 19, Spain
Pineiro has spent 2011 racing in Formula 2 with the MotorSport Vision team, winning a hat-trick of races in the middle of the season, one from pole position and with one fastest lap. Other strong finishes made him a season-long title contender, ultimately finishing third in the championship. Pineiro broke into circuit racing with the Formula BMW Championship in 2008 and graduated to Formula Palmer Audi in 2009. Staying in the series for 2010, he finished third in the championship, with four wins. Pineiro is also studying engineering at the University of Hertfordshire.

Brendan Reeves, 23, Australia
Pirelli Star Driver Brendan Reeves started out racing karts in 1996, aged seven, but, by 2005, had switched to rallying and hasn't looked back since. He has enjoyed considerable success in domestic categories and in the Asia Pacific championship and this year has tackled the WRC Academy in a Ford Fiesta R2. Outside rallying, Reeves drives trucks for his family's earthmoving business and works as a driving instructor for an Australian rallying school.

Pontus Tidemand, 20, Sweden
Pontus Tidemand bought his first quad bike at the age of two and by age 12 he was racing 'Crosscarts'. A move to circuit racing came in 2008 in Sweden's Junior Touring Car Championship, but since 2009, it has been all rallying. The highlights of Tidemand's career to date are winning the 2010 Subaru Cup in Norway and finishing second overall in the national championship category of the Rally Sweden, driving a Super 2000 Ford Fiesta (winning his class).

Timo van der Marel, 22, Holland
Timo Van der Marel joined the WRC Academy for 2011 with the support of the Dutch National Sporting Authority KNAF's Talent First initiative. This has already helped current FIA Institute Academy graduate Kevin Abbring break onto the world stage. Van der Marel's rallying career started in 2008 and he made his debut at world championship level in Germany the same year, where he took victory in the N3 class driving a Renault Clio.

Sepp Wiegand, 20, Germany
Former motocrosser Sepp Wiegand is these days happier on four wheels rather than two. Having made his first forays into competitive rallying in 2010, Wiegand ran a full 2011 campaign in the German Rally Championship and ADAC rally masters, taking a number of class victories. Wiegand was raised in an automotive environment: his father has competed for more than 30 years and Sepp himself is a motor sport mechanic outside events.

Lewis Williamson, 21, UK
Scot Lewis Williamson, who this year has raced in GP3 with MW Arden (owned by Christian Horner and Mark Webber, of Red Bull Racing), has been racing since the age of eight, when he started in cadet karts. A successful 2010 campaign in the Formula Renault UK Championship, with five wins, five pole positions and four fastest laps, resulted in his winning the McLaren Autosport Young Driver of the Year Award. Outside motor sport, Williamson is working to complete an engineering apprenticeship.

Last edited by jalsa777 : 9th November 2011 at 13:06. Reason: Improved Formatting
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Old 9th November 2011, 18:04   #3
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Default Re: Indian driver to compete for place in FIA Institute Young Driver Excellence Acade

This guy is going places! Parth Ghorpade is definitely a rising star for India. He has time on his side. At hardly 18 years of age, most competitors are elder to him. Few days ago someone had posted an article about him placing fourth in some international touring car [not sure] race! I wish him the very best and hope to see him shine in the future.
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Old 10th November 2011, 10:09   #4
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Default Re: Indian driver to compete for place in FIA Institute Young Driver Excellence Acade

It was the French Renault F4 single seater series, the premier entry level formula in France which had a multinational grid of 21 drivers.
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