*Successful ERC Junior Championship to keep running open R2 category for drivers Under 27
*FIA and Eurosport Events to introduce new open R5 category for drivers Under 28
*ERC Junior U27 champion gets 100,000 Euros to progress to ERC Junior U28
*ERC Junior U28 champion wins drive in World Rally Car on European round of WRC
The FIA ERC Junior Championship is in line for an exciting format change from 2017, with a career progression opportunity and a prize package up for grabs.
Subject to final FIA World Motor Sport Council approval, ERC Junior will be split into two separate divisions from 2017 based on driver age and experience as follows:
ERC Junior Under 27 (U27)
ERC Junior Under 28 (U28)
ERC Junior U27, which totals six events, is for drivers under the age of 27 at the start of the 2017 season competing in R2 cars on Pirelli tyres. With the best four rounds counting, the winner will receive a career progression fund worth 100,000 euros to use in ERC Junior U28 in 2018.
ERC Junior U28 offers the next step on the rallying pyramid for drivers aged 28 and under ahead of the 2017 campaign. Again totalling six rounds with the best four scores counting, drivers use R5 cars. The champion will get a drive in a European round of the 2018 FIA World Rally Championship as a P2 driver in a 2016-specification World Rally Car.
ERC promoter Eurosport Events launched the ERC Junior Championship for the 2014 season in partnership with motorsport’s world governing body, the FIA. Current factory Citroën WRC driver Stéphane Lefebvre won the inaugural title with Emil Bergkvist triumphant in season two and Marijan Griebel claiming the silverware in 2016. Jean-Baptiste Ley, the ERC Co-ordinator, explained the evolution for 2017.
“It’s clear there is a growing number of ERC Junior graduates and other young drivers looking to take the next step in rallying but without the financial means to run a full international campaign in an R5 car or lacking the experience required to achieve consistent success. ERC Junior U28 will bridge this gap by providing a step up in performance for ERC Junior U27 graduates, albeit in a managed environment where they will come up against like-minded drivers with similar experience. And by providing a World Rally Championship prize drive to the ERC Junior U28 champion we’re recognising the ambition of young drivers to reach the sport’s top level.”
The ERC Junior Experience, which ran for the first time in 2016, will continue next year at three events to be announced. The training initiative is designed for young drivers looking to take the first step of their international career by providing essential skills and experience. ERC Junior Experience graduates will receive free entry for ERC Junior U27 in 2018.
THE ERC IS PROMOTED BY EUROSPORT EVENTS LTD, DISCOVERY HOUSE, 566 CHISWICK HIGH ROAD, LONDON W4 5YB, UK. TEL: +44 2036813000, F +44 2036813250. REGISTERED IN ENGLAND & WALES UNDER NO. 4361881 VAT NO. GB 792 1320 40