Round 5 Review

26/1/18 With just a four day break since their last two-day academy session at Yas Marina F1 Circuit, the young racers assembled in Dubai this time for further training. With the UK’s top driver coach in attendance, the drivers were treated to three training sessions on Thursday where they got to grips with the demanding 4.3 kms International Circuit.

After one-on-one meetings where their coach was able to pinpoint any driving weaknesses they knew exactly what faults to correct and what was expected of them. 

Big surprise in the Friday morning Qualification Practise was Kane Shepherd stopping on track with a puncture which allowed Poland’s 16 year old Filip Kaminiarz to take pole position for the race.

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After a textbook start that had the Clerk of the Course visiting the GulfSport camp to congratulate all the drivers after the race, it was Thailand’s Kane Shepherd who got the holeshot and headed off into the sunset, building nearly a 2 second gap on every lap thus denying Kaminiarz the biggest trophy. But he was nevertheless very pleased with 12 consistent lap times which proved enough to grab second place from Bahrain’s Talal Beshara. Nabil Hussain, who skipped some of the practise to concentrate on his college exams had held 3rd place on track until he stopped on lap 8 with a problem.

Intensive coaching continues tomorrow with another qualification practise and race. 

International Competition Racing Academy expands to the U.S.

Formula Gulf Academy to be based at VIRginia International Raceway this summer

Formula Gulf Academy (www.formulagulf.academy) an advanced race driver development program that has enabled graduates to move successfully into FIA F4, Formula Renault, Porsche Supercup, EuroFormula Open (F3), LMP2, Indy Lights and IndyCar will accept just 10 qualified drivers for its exclusive test and race program at the Virginia International Raceway this summer.

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British run motorsport business, GulfSport Racing has specialised in developing racing drivers in single seaters and sport prototypes since 2004. Formula Gulf Academy, now in its seventh season has had drivers attend from 23 countries. It has operated at the Yas Marina F1 Circuit, the Dubai Autodrome, Sepang International Circuit in Malaysia and at various British circuits.

GulfSport’s Martin Hope, an experienced racer and driver performance engineer said “We are unlike most commercial schools. We restrict the group to 5 drivers to optimise time spent with our race coach reviewing data after every session to improve their technique and lap times. They get to drive modern slicks and wings cars on Formula 4 spec tyres to experience similar on-track performance to FIA Formula 4 cars. All drivers will have some race experience, so based on that, we focus on building high skill levels in the area of aero braking, gear changing, tyre management etc, as we believe it’s important they understand the dynamics of a race car on track and how that impacts how to drive it effectively and quickly”.

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GulfSport Racing’s partner, Atlanta based Motorsports Worldwide Management Group (MWMG) will manage the applicant evaluation process. Said COO Jeffrey Lail, “The Academy programs are designed for two levels of young drivers; those kart racers about to make the transition to single seaters, and existing junior racers who wish to make a significant leap in their on-track performance. Successful applicants will attend a number on and off-track sessions over the June to August period including data coaching, mental and physical performance analysis, media training, nutrition and simulator training. We have not seen an academy like this in the States for a long time, if ever at all. At just 20% of the typical budget for a season in F4, its a great investment for the lucky few that are selected to take part in the academy.”

For the Application Form click HERE or contact Jeff at jeff@motorsportsworldwide.com. For more information about the program contact Barry Hope at barry.hope@gulf-sport.com

Kane Shepherd dominates at Yas Marina F1 Circuit

Held at the billion dollar facility built on Yas Island specifically to host Abu Dhabi’s Formula One World Championship Grand Prix events, Rounds 3 & 4 were dominated by one of Thailand’s most promising young racing drivers, Kane Shepherd.

Kane, who is also contesting the SEA F4 championship was back in the UAE to gain valuable coaching from Formula Gulf Academy’s senior driver coach Andy Pardoe ahead of his final F4 event next weekend. 

Said Kane "Good race weekend for me in Abu Dhabi, with pole position and wins in both races. Car running well in cool air and felt good to drive. Races were quite straightforward, although lost a very large lead when the safety car was called out in race 2, but managed to pull out a bit again for the last two laps to win. Thanks to the Gulfsport team for the car preparation, and looking forward to the next race in Dubai, only a week away”.

The intense level of training and mentoring that goes on at these events was clear when looking at the lap times of India’s Nabil Zakir Hussain who improved steadily over two days to come away with 3rd and 2nd place trophies.

Bahrain sent two of its best young drivers to the academy, the very experienced kart racing brothers Talal and Abdallah Beshara. The older brother Abdullah taking a brilliant second place in his first car race for a year, with 16 year old Talal bagging a 3rd place trophy in the second race.

Poland’s Filip Kaminiarz, perhaps the least experienced driver on the grid showed significant improvement over the weekend  qualifying 3rd fastest, finishing 4th in race 1 but unfortunately suffering a DNF in race two.

Said GulfSport’s Martin Hope,  "We were very impressed by all of these young drivers this weekend. They showed great spirit and commitment and clearly learnt a lot. Kane was supreme, hardly breaking into a sweat. We were particularly pleased to see Nabil making such good progress”. 

Rounds 5 & 6 will take place on 26th and 27th January.

UK’s James Scott-Murphy does the double in Dubai!

UAE based international racing school, Formula Gulf Academy incorporates an 8 x round ATCUAE sanctioned single seater championship on a variety of  circuit configurations at the Yas Marina and Dubai Autodrome circuits. Last weekend saw academy students training, qualifying and racing in Rounds 1 & 2 on the technically demanding 3.5kms National Circuit with its blind double apex corners and elevation changes.

It was a double win for the UK’s Formula Ford specialist 18 year old James Scott Murphy ( jamesscottmurphy.com ) sponsored by Thames Hydroblasting (thbuk.co.uk).  “ I was really impressed by the team and the level of coaching available at the Formula Gulf Academy. The car is perfect for adapting to driving with slicks and wings, building on my current experience in Formula Ford. I can see lots of room to develop my driving with the academy and hope to use it as part of my winter programme before the 2018 season”. 

One of Thailand’s most promising young racers, Kane Shepherd, who competed in the SEA F4 championship, returned to Dubai for his first single seater race in the Middle East. 16 year old Kane, who came away with two second place trophies, was very pleased with the weekend and the learning opportunity it provided whilst working with top driver coach Andy Pardoe. “Next time!” was his telling comment about his intention to give James a run for his money at the next event.

15 year old Polish rookie Filip Kaminiarz was very pleased to get on the podium in his first ever single seater race. "I am very happy to finish in 3rd place” he said. "I hope I will be able to spend more time behind the wheel, not just in Poland, but also while training and racing abroad with the Gulf program. Many thanks to the team at home and abroad”.

 A last minute entry from the Kingdom of Bahrain’s Talal Beshara provided a steep learning curve for this talented young kart racer. He was kept busy learning to drive a car for the first time, improving his lap times at every session. Talal got to grips with it quickly, even finishing ahead of the more experienced Kaminiarz in the second race.

The next session takes place at the Dubai Autodrome on the 8th December on the Grand Prix Circuit at the Dubai Autodrome.