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Opening weekend of new Champions of the Future Academy gets underway with F1 ACADEMY collaboration

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This weekend marks the opening round of the Champions of the Future Academy (COTFA) – a new global series aiming to increase female participation and inclusion in national and international karting competitions.

Taking place at the Cremona International Circuit, in Italy, from March 27-31, the first meeting is one of six that will take place throughout 2024. F1 ACADEMY Discover Your Drive is supporting three female drivers in each of the three mixed-gender categories accepted in the Academy Program – Mini (from 9 to 12 years old), OK-N Junior (from 12 to 14 years old) and OK-N Senior (from 14 to 18 years old).

READ MORE: ‘We want to be the rocket fuel for progression’ – Susie Wolff on F1 ACADEMY’s mission as it enters a new era

The presence of these supported drivers will be highlighted by branded karts and race suits, while F1 ACADEMY Discover Your Drive will also cover one third of their budget for the season.

With F1 ACADEMY committed to increasing the pipeline of female talent on and off track, COTFA represents another important initiative by the series to help increase accessibility and improve opportunities for young girls who want to get into motorsport. Additionally, the three top female drivers in the Seniors category will be invited to an official F1 ACADEMY test at the end of the 2024 season.

The opening meeting of COTFA has been a roaring success with all the drivers attending enjoying an “arrive and drive” system across the three categories. Famous karting factories such as Parolin and Kart Republic for the chassis, TM Kart and IAME for the engines, and Vega for the tyres were responsible for supplying the equipment, which was distributed by lottery, allowing talent to shine.

Fuel, a tent, a trolley and a workbench have all been part of the logistics provided by promoter RGMMC to make it easier for the competitors, meaning drivers simply arrived at the circuit with equipment, a mechanic and tools ready to take on the double-header race weekend.

READ MORE: F1 ACADEMY to collaborate with Champions of the Future on new global karting series

On Thursday, March 28, F1 ACADEMY Managing Director Susie Wolff visited the paddock and met the nine supported drivers, giving a speech before they were shown a video from Driver Development Support Lead, Katie Baldwin, on driver development and how Discover Your Drive can support them through the season.

It was then time for the drivers to hit the track, enjoying a format with two separate races at each meeting across the three categories. In addition to the numerous Free Practice sessions, the drivers were able to contest a Qualifying session, two Qualifying Heats and the Final, with this programme repeated the following day. With two podiums organised, that doubles the chances of each driver reaching the podium.

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Champions of the Future Academy Program

Working closely with Wolff, Champions of the Future President James Geidel will aim to identify up and coming talent within karting in order to capture promising drivers with the potential to progress through the junior levels.

COTFA has also been supported by a range of renowned partners in addition to F1 ACADEMY, from the Mercedes F1 Junior Program as well as logistics partner DHL. Each event will also be broadcast live via the global motorsport platform Motorsport TV and on YouTube.

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The remaining five COTFA meetings in 2024 are as follows:

  • Round 2 – Valencia, Spain (10-12 May)
  • Round 3 – Franciacorta, Italy (26-28 July)
  • Round 4 – TBC, UAE (4-6 October)
  • Round 5 – TBC, UAE (15-17 November)
  • Round 6 – Al Forsan, UAE (2-4 December)

For a full list of results from the opening COTFA weekend click here. To find out more about COTFA visit their website here.

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