After a 14-year career in the World Rally Championship, and with a massive 21 world rally victories to his credit, former co-driver Nicky Grist is to share his experiences by launching 'The Nicky Grist Academy' for youngsters in Britain.

The Welshman, best known for his partnership at Ford and Subaru with Colin McRae, is encouraging youngsters to put themselves behind the wheel of Ford's Rallye Sport Trainer [RST] and learn the basics of off-road driving in a structured environment.

"With so many rally schools for established drivers already in existence, I decided that the real talents in rallying were not getting their chance until they held a driving licence," said Grist. "Through The Nicky Grist Rally Academy, boys and girls from the age of 12 upwards will have a flying start before they finally get onto the open roads.

"The idea is to give youngsters the chance to learn the ins and outs of the sport, as well as learn how to drive a car and control slides. And there will also be the opportunity to compete against one another in a safe and competitive environment," he added.

The Nicky Grist Academy will consist of six separate academies, each two days in duration. The first day will be taken up with classroom schooling and driving tuition. The second day will feature a series of special stages driven against the clock, but guided every step of the way with an experienced tutor as co-driver.

Everything will be laid on for the youngsters. For an entry fee of ?5,000 the budding rally stars will receive their own set of equipment as well as a place in the academy. Racing overalls, gloves, boots and a crash helmet are all included in the price, as well as the use of the RST vehicles that were designed by Ford for this very purpose.

Former world rally champion Colin McRae said: "The Nicky Grist Academy is a great first step on the rallying ladder - I only wish it was around when I was a teenager."

Ford TeamRS director Jost Capito added: "The Nicky Grist Academy, in partnership with Ford and the Rallye Sport Trainer [RST], is sure to provide the World Rally Championship with its stars of the future."

The Academy will kick off in 2005, but entrants should act quickly to guarantee their place as spaces will be limited.