Many young aspiring karters start to think this time of year about whether they should be moving to cars next year!
Most karting minds are drawn to single seater racing and the likes for F4 or the new UK F3 series. For some of the lucky ones its not a problem, you pick the best team, book a winters testing program and just start writing cheques!
However back in the real world for most of us its not that simple, we don't have an open wallet policy to racing and need to pick and chose our path very carefully.
A big mistake a lot of karting families make is to spend significant amounts of money on an initial season of single seater racing, chances are not with the best team (as they are the most expensive), results are poor because they cant afford all the testing and they get the bums rush the a junior data engineer because the other chap in the team paying more! This might all sound a bit doom and gloom but it does go on, however they might just be a solution to some of these problems.
Six short hours away is the United Arab Emirates and the Formula Gulf Academy (owned and operated by GulfSport Racing LLC).
Not heard of it? Well many haven't, however they have trained 47 drivers from 21 countries (see the list here http://formulagulf.academy/previous-drivers/). For a mere GBP 40,000 (at todays rate, advertised price of USD 53,000) you get a whole winter seasons training and racing, including the cost of the flight from the UK!
The Academy's main aim is to offer drivers a comprehensive education while preparing them for a career in Motorsport. It is aimed at those younger drivers who are moving on from Karting and looking to use the off-season to get a step ahead of the competition.
Martin Hope, GulfSport's Motorsport Director continues to explain:
“Training and promoting young talent continues to be an important strand of GulfSport's ethos. We have been actively involved in supporting talented young drivers for many years now and we will continue this tradition.
The Formula Gulf Academy is positioned between karting and a race series like F4 or FR2.0 which enables us to react to new conditions and the massive increase in costs recently seen in junior single-seater racing.
As such we are offering young drivers an extremely cost-effective platform and we are sharpening our focus on practical driving experience and driver education so as to provide them with the best possible preparation for their future career on and off the track.”
The season kicks off in October with the first official test at Yas Marina on the full GP circuit in Abu Dhabi. There you can expect fitness assessments, seat fittings, media and technical lectures and of course plenty of track time (about 300km). There are then another 2 events over November and December at the Dubai Autodrome, before the Christmas break. 2017 kicks off with a mid season test event before the last 2 race events in February and March. To read more about the program look at - http://formulagulf.academy/theprogram/
The winner of the Academy gets a USD 20,000 scholarship towards their next step, while second overall gets to test with Campos Racing (partner of the Academy) in Spain in one of their F3 cars and third place gets an all expenses paid trip to Le Mans with Gulf Porsche.
The Formula Gulf Academy is a recognised Competition Driving School so can take drivers from the age of 15 with just a National C car license from their home country.
There really is no excuse to adding the Formula Gulf Academy to your racing career plan, its massively cost effective, drivers learn the ropes while being taught by the best in the business (http://formulagulf.academy/the-mentors), the cars are fast (http://formulagulf.academy/the-car) and the circuits are safe (http://formulagulf.academy/race-cal)!