*100,000 euros to ERC Junior U27 champion for ERC Junior U28 campaign in 2019
*All ERC Junior U27 drivers enrolled in ERC Junior Experience training programme
*Chance to follow star names Huttunen and Lefebvre by climbing the rallying pyramid
The FIA ERC Junior Under 27 Championship will continue to offer one of the best prizes in international motorsport in 2018, while equipping young drivers with the skills – and funding – they need to climb the rallying pyramid.
A career progression fund of 100,000 euros, pledged by ERC promoter Eurosport Events, will be allocated to the ERC Junior U27 champion to use towards an ERC Junior Under 28 campaign in 2019 when they step up from an R2 to an R5 car.
For the first time, drivers registering for ERC Junior U27 will be enrolled into the ERC Junior Experience training programme, which covers topics such as driving tuition, car set-up, vehicle extrication and first aid, social media dos and don’ts, interview techniques and sponsorship acquisition.
Chris Ingram became the first beneficiary of the 100,000 euros career progression fund after he beat Jari Huttunen to the ERC Junior Under 27 title in 2017. The Briton, 23, is guaranteed a minimum of two ERC Junior U28 outings in 2018 in a ŠKODA Fabia R5 run by Motorsport Italia, while efforts continue to secure a full ERC Junior U28 bid, which totals six events starting with the Azores Airlines Rallye from 22-24 March.
He said: “For young drivers like me it’s so difficult to find the support to compete but Eurosport Events have put up probably the best prize in rallying. Winning the ERC Junior Under 27 title was absolutely amazing and one hell of a ride. Now I just can’t wait to go onwards and upwards.”
Jean-Baptiste Ley, the ERC Co-ordinator, said: “Heading into its fifth year, ERC Junior continues to go from strength to strength with a comprehensive training programme delivered by industry experts now part of the package. This, plus the 100,000 euros of support, are big incentives for young drivers stepping up from national level with the aim of one day reaching the top of the sport.”
Drivers planning to contest the FIA ERC Junior Under 27 Championship must first register with the FIA as an ERC3 driver via this link and pay a fee of €500, down 50 per cent from 2017. Drivers must then register with the ERC promoter Eurosport Events and pay the €1000 entry fee. More information can be found here.
Emil Bergkvist, Marijan Griebel, Jari Huttunen and Stéphane Lefebvre are all products of ERC Junior, while emerging talents Filip Mareš, Catie Munnings, Laurent Pellier and Roland Poom are among those to have graduated from the ERC Junior Experience.