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FIA Institute selects 18 drivers for 2012 Academy 18 Nov 2011

The FIA Institute Young Driver Excellence Academy selection event, Melk, Austria The FIA Institute Young Driver Excellence Academy selection event, Melk, Austria The FIA Institute Young Driver Excellence Academy selection event, Melk, Austria The FIA Institute Young Driver Excellence Academy selection event, Melk, Austria The FIA Institute Young Driver Excellence Academy selection event, Melk, Austria The FIA Institute Young Driver Excellence Academy selection event, Melk, Austria

Following an intensive four-day shootout in Austria, 18 drivers have won places in the FIA Institute’s Young Driver Excellence Academy for 2012. The drivers come from a variety of racing disciplines and will all take part in the fully-funded training programme, which aims to help drivers develop their motorsport careers.

They are: Mohamed Al Mutawaa (18, UAE); Klaus Bachler (20, Austria); Andrea Bate (22, South Africa); Craig Breen (21, Ireland); Andrea Caldarelli (21, Italy); Gabriel Chaves (18, Colombia); Jonas Gelzinis (23, Lithuania); Michael Klitgaard Christensen (21, Denmark); Jack Le Brocq (19, Australia); Michael Lewis (20, USA); Alexander Lynn (18, UK); Jose Andres Montalto (21, Costa Rica); Ramon Pineiro (19, Spain); Brendan Reeves (23, Australia); Pontus Tidemand (20, Sweden); Timo van der Marel (22, Holland); Sepp Wiegand (20, Germany) and Lewis Williamson (21, UK).

"This selection event has demonstrated the breadth of young driving talent worldwide,” explained Richard Woods, director general of the FIA Institute. “We are delighted to be able to help develop that talent further and in the right way, with the focus not just on performance but also on safety and excellence."

The 18 will now be coached 'in the car' by former Formula One race driver Alex Wurz and his team from Test and Training International, and 'out of the car' by former World Rally Champion co-driver Robert Reid and his team from Elite Sports Performance.

"It has been really good to meet these drivers, who have arrived here from around the world but have all demonstrated the same hunger to succeed,” said Reid, FIA Institute performance manager. “They've been through lots of rigorous testing which has given us a great understanding of what makes them tick. I'm really looking forward to working with the chosen Academy drivers over the next year."

Fellow FIA Institute performance manager Wurz added: "Over the course of the four days we have been looking at every area of driving skill. We have broken this down into its composite parts, such as steering input, braking input, throttle input, and into combining all of this behind the wheel. Overall, these guys have demonstrated a lot of talent. They are also all very coachable and they have a good understanding of what we are after. I'm really looking forward to a good cooperation with the new Academy drivers."

Over the next year, the 18 drivers will attend a series of workshops covering all aspects of driver performance and safety. The driving elements of the course include the development of technical skills, safety training, attitudes and awareness. The human performance aspect will feature physiology, psychology, nutrition, media skills and career management.

The first Academy workshop will take place from December 10-14 in Edinburgh, Scotland.

For more information and for video highlights of the selection event, click here.