• Three talented British drivers to go head-to-head in RSF evaluation to win backing for their future track careers

3 April, 2015 – The Ford EcoBoost-powered MSA Formula Championship today takes an important step forward in the promotion of young British motorsport talent with the announcement of a new collaboration with the Racing Steps Foundation.

At the end of this, its inaugural season, three British MSA Formula drivers will be selected and included to undergo a multi-disciplinary Racing Steps Foundation-led evaluation with selected other competitors, the winner of which will join the RSF’s impressive roster of driving talent, receiving a fully funded and supported entry for the next step of his or her racing career.

The RSF, which has invested heavily in British motorsport in recent years, will monitor and assess candidates throughout the season, in conjunction with Ford, the MSA (British motor sport’s governing body), media and championship officials. “We feel the time is right to look for a new, talented UK driver to join the RSF ranks, and that MSA Formula is the perfect recruiting ground for us,” said RSF founder Graham Sharp. “Since the demise of InterSteps, the UK has lacked a championship like this, to find and develop new British talent. As this is the Racing Steps Foundation’s raison d’être too, we are delighted to be able to lend our support.”

The RSF, a private, not-for-profit fund that provides and finances competition and performance development programmes for an elite group of British single-seater drivers, has worked in partnership with the MSA for the past six years to fund and support innovative training, mentoring and development programmes such as the MSA Academy and MSA Performance Master Classes. The Foundation is now entering into a multi-layered support initiative for MSA Formula, lining up alongside the MSA itself, Ford and the FIA to further develop the most exciting championship in British single-seater racing for many years.

Welcoming the RSF’s increased involvement with the championship, MSA chief executive Rob Jones said: “The Racing Steps Foundation has supported the work of the MSA Academy over the past six years and this has enabled the governing body to take a leading role in the learning and development of young drivers. It has resulted in a world-leading structure and a programme that has delivered great benefit throughout the sport, not just with those who have gone on to reach professional levels. We have been greatly assisted by the RSF in our drive to raise standards across the sport and we welcome the Foundation’s involvement in MSA Formula.”

Gerard Quinn, head of racing for Ford Performance in Europe, said: “Ford has a history of helping professional drivers launch their careers through their first step into car racing in Formula Ford over the past four decades. The transition into MSA Formula only strengthens our resolve to continue this proud tradition. The welcome involvement of the Racing Steps Foundation in this partnership with the MSA and the FIA is a very credible addition to this commitment.”

The selection criteria for the RSF-led assessment will include not only results on track but also the driver’s approach, professionalism and determination to climb to the top of the international motorsports ladder, despite lacking the funds and mentoring needed to get there. It is not a given that the top three British drivers in the championship will automatically be put forward to the evaluation.

In addition to its search for a new talent to join its ranks, the RSF will again be working with the MSA Academy and the championship to deliver a world-leading talent development programme through MSA qualified coaches and accredited professionals to help all the MSA Formula drivers understand what it takes to become a leading athlete and to maximise their potential.

The RSF’s further involvement with MSA Formula for the coming season centres on the career development of 15-year-old Josh Smith, the reigning IAME X30 international kart champion, who will contest the Ford EcoBoost-powered and FIA-certified championship with the Fortec Motorsports team.

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About the Racing Steps Foundation – www.racingsteps.com
The Racing Steps Foundation is a private, not-for-profit fund that provides and finances competition and performance development programmes for young British racing drivers and motorcycle racers.
The backing is provided for those with the exceptional talent and determination needed to climb to the top of their respective motorsports ladders but who have neither the funds nor the all-important management and mentoring needed to get there.
The Foundation, set up in 2007, aims to fast-track its protégés to the point where they can eventually turn professional. In addition to Josh Smith, in 2015 it will support: Jack Harvey (Bassingham, Lincolnshire) in Indy Lights in the USA; Oliver Rowland (Milton Keynes, Buckinghamshire) in Formula Renault 3.5; Jake Dennis (Nuneaton, Warwickshire) in the FIA Formula 3 European Championship; Ben Barnicoat (Chesterfield, Derbyshire) in Eurocup Formula Renault 2.0; John McPhee (Oban, Argyll, Scotland) in the Moto3 World Championship; and Rory Skinner (Perth, Scotland) in Spain’s RFME Moto3 Championship and selected rounds of the FIM Moto3 Junior World Championship.