Audi Sport racing academy, talent school for young race drivers
Audi has complemented the program of its Audi driving experience by a project for young drivers in motorsport. The Audi Sport racing academy promotes talented youngsters with assistance by mentors from the brand’s professional squad. The objective of the two-year program is for the participants to become professional race drivers themselves.
Racing academy promotes up to six talents per year. In Academy Meetings focused on specific topics, Audi offers the talents individual training programs including driver training sessions on ice and provides them with advice on athletic activities and nutrition. In addition, the instructors familiarize the youngsters with the technology of the race cars and impart appropriate ways of dealing with media, sponsors and the general public to them.
Race drivers Pierre Kaffer and Rahel Frey together with coordinator Sepp Haider support the young drivers as coaches. The young drivers develop their driving style at the Audi driving experience center in Neuburg an der Donau, the Driving Center Groß Dölln, on various European race tracks, and during ice training sessions in Finland and Sweden. Audi’s current RS and R models are the main cars used for training. The Audi TT cup and Audi R8 LMS race cars complement the line-up.
“In the Audi Sport racing academy we’re closing a gap in our increasingly comprehensive offering and sharpen the sporting profile of our worldwide activities,” says Klaus Demel, Head of the Audi driving experience. “At the same time, Audi is complementing its motorsport commitment by another attractive entry-level program.”
Audi has already selected the first three candidates for the talent promotion program: the Hungarian Vivien Keszthelyi, the South African Sheldon van der Linde, and the Dane Nicklas Nielsen. On the first program level, Vivien Keszthelyi, who is only 15 years old, exclusively goes through all the Academy Meetings focused on specific topics. The other two drivers additionally contest the 2016 Audi Sport TT Cup. Provided they show the required aptitude, the young talents can look forward to the opportunity of racing in the Audi R8 LMS GT3 race car on a third level beginning in 2017.
The objective is to train the candidates with a maximum age of 25 successfully enough to consider them in driver evaluations. These are the processes in which Audi Sport customer racing selects its drivers for GT racing and Audi Sport its drivers for the factory-backed programs in the DTM and FIA WEC.