The FIA announced yesterday that it is continuing with the supply deal for Ford Fiesta R2 cars built by M-Sport in its newly-renamed FIA Junior WRC Championship for 2013 (previously the FIA WRC Academy Cup). Drivers under the age of 26 are eligible to take part in the Junior WRC Championship, taking part in world championship events and receiving tuition in fitness, media activities and technical matters in order to develop a full set of skills for future stardom.
The 2013 FIA Junior WRC Championship will be contested over six European rounds of the FIA World Rally Championship, with drivers counting all scores towards the Championship title. The Champion will be given the opportunity to contest a minimum of six events in the 2014 FIA WRC 2 Championship driving a Ford Fiesta R5.
Designed to be accessible and cost-effective with the basic cost of participation set at less than £120,000, competitors registering for the FIA WRC Academy Cup will be supplied with identical Ford Fiesta R2s prepared and maintained by M-Sport’s central European base in Poland.
Jarmo Mahonen, FIA Rally Director, commented: “The Junior WRC Championship aims to be the most accessible and affordable first step on the FIA World Rally Championship ladder. We continue the model where we offer competition in connection with education, while giving all drivers exactly the same equipment to enable them to showcase their talent. We are delighted to continue our association with M-Sport which has an excellent track record with the WRC Academy.”
The FIA WRC Academy Cup, like similar schemes which preceeded it, have not been an outstanding success. Nevertheless its aims are laudable and the quality of mentors available to the programme is strong, making it a viable option in place of national or regional competition for aspiring stars.