The Motor Sports Association (MSA) has confirmed that a bursary of up to £10,000 will be made available for all members of the MSA Team UK national squad this year.
As part of the governing body's commitment to the newly unveiled programme, the four rally and six race drivers will be able to apply for the funding from the MSA to assist with their living costs and day to day expenses.
Will Buller, James Calado, Alastair Fisher, Adam Gould, Martin McCormack, Alex Sims, Will Stevens, Harry Tincknell, Oliver Webb and Dave Weston Jr are the ten drivers signed up the scheme this year.
“In the past five years, we have seen drivers on our schemes holding down full-time jobs while trying to become professional sportsmen,” Robert Reid, MSA Performance Director, said. “We have looked at the Olympic funding model and feel that this could have a significant impact on the ability of our drivers to focus on their career goals. But in return, we are demanding increased commitment and dedication from the drivers; if they don't shape up, we will have no qualms this year about dropping them from the scheme.”
Team UK member Calado – competing with Carlin in British F3 this season – admitted that the bursary would be a huge help to the drivers during the year ahead.
“Without doubt the biggest cause of stress in my life is about money,” he said. “It is easy to assume that because we have to find huge budgets to run the cars, we must have plenty of spare cash for daily life. But when you are worrying about finding a tenner to put fuel in the car to go training, that is obviously going to have an adverse effect on performance.
“I can't begin to explain just what a difference this bursary will make and it will enable me to focus even harder on success this year.”
The Team UK drivers must make a formal application for the bursary funding and detail what it will be used for, so that the MSA can assess their individual needs.
In order to qualify for the monthly payments, drivers will be required to satisfy several criteria that include the carrying of logos and decals, attendance at training events and full engagement with the Team UK scheme and coaches.