The first test session for Autocar and Shelsley Walsh’s new hillclimb initiative has been held at Curborough sprint track.
Places are still open for further entrants, with another test planned at Shelsley Walsh itself on 15 June, before the season proper gets underway with a sprint at Curborough on 11 July.
The test session saw six young drivers take part, being put through their paces by a group of instructors as they all look to get up to speed ahead of 11 July.
The test day was meant as a taster for the new initiative between Autocar and Shelsley Walsh, the two organisations combining to launch a new, affordable motorsport competition for 17 to 21-year old licensed drivers. It’s based around the 1.2-litre Vauxhall Corsa and is aimed at bringing fresh talent to a sport that prides itself on welcoming cars and drivers of all.
For its first season, the Autocar-Shelsley Walsh Young Drivers’ Championship aims to attract a maximum of 10 competitors to a series of six rounds that will start in earnest this July at the Curborough sprint track, near Lichfield, on 11 July. There are then five further rounds at Shelsley Walsh, Worcestershire, the world’s oldest motor sporting venue still in use, this September.
“Our sport needs more younger competitors,” says series instigator and guiding light, Paul Matty. “We think this is the ideal way to draw them in. We want to attract young competitors with lots of ambition but no racing experience, by keeping the cars simple and equal, and the cost of entry as low as it can be. We’ve already had plenty of interest — including from other clubs and tracks who’d like to do the same kind of thing.”
At the competition’s official launch at Shelsley Walsh yesterday its first official entrant, 21-year old Ben Evans, took to the track for our cameras in a healthy-looking 2008 Vauxhall Corsa bought for £2300 in the local classifieds. The car was standard apart from a fire extinguisher (supplied free to all entrants). Ben, a Bromsgove-based car parts specialist, also modelled a set of the special series race overalls that, like the helmet, will be supplied to all entrants at a heavily discounted price.
Also on hand to lend support for what he called “a great initiative” was Constable Simon Yuile, a forensic collision investigator representing the West Mercia Police, and a lifelong car enthusiast. “This is the kind of practical step that can help young drivers enjoy themselves in cars, but be much safer when they do it,” he said.