Formula Masters China Series (FMCS), China and the region’s leading international junior single-seater championship, has announced a wide range of exciting new opportunities for its fledging talent in partnership with Volkswagen Group China motorsport series the Audi R8 LMS Cup, the Lamborghini Super Trofeo Asia and the Porsche Carrera Cup Asia. With a mission to provide a platform for young drivers to develop a motorsport foundation, these exclusive new initiatives aim to provide top talents with the opportunity to advance their careers and take the next step upon graduation from the highly competitive FMCS.
Following the FMCS 2015 season finale at the China Speed Weekend in Shanghai, a swathe of unique experiences were unveiled to the excited drivers: FMCS 2015 champion Martin Rump (19) of Estonia, Australian Nicholas Rowe (17) and Chinese driver Jeffrey Ye (18) will be invited to join the official Audi R8 LMS Cup 2016 pre-season test for a chance to experience the Audi R8 LMS Cup car. The test will mark Rowe’s sportscar debut, while Rump had an opportunity to test the Audi R8 LMS Cup car earlier this year. For Ye it will be his second outing in the Audi GT race car after he was accepted into the Young Driver Development Programme of Audi in September. As part of the programme, Ye receives coaching and mentoring from Chinese motorsport star Cheng Congfu, who is currently tied for the championship lead in the Audi R8 LMS Cup 2015.
The test is an opportunity for this season’s top three FMCS drivers to impress executives from Audi Sport customer racing Asia with the knowledge and race experience they have gained over the season, as well as their natural speed, talent and determination. Future opportunities with the Cup could include acceptance and a scholarship into the Young Driver Development Programme.
The Lamborghini Super Trofeo Asia has offered two FMCS drivers a seat in a Lamborghini Huracán Trofeo for the opening round of the 2016 season. With the support of Lamborghini Squadra Corse, Australian Jake Parsons (20) and South African Matthew Swanepoel (20) will make their Lamborghini debuts. As with the Audi R8 LMS Cup, future opportunities with the Lamborghini Super Trofeo Asia could include becoming a Lamborghini Junior Driver with support to contest a full season of the Lamborghini Super Trofeo Asia in 2016.
As the top finishing Asian driver, Malaysian Daniel Woodroof (19) was rewarded with a place in next month’s shootout for the 2016 Porsche China Junior Programme. Woodroof will compete against top talents from across China and Southeast Asia for the chance to win a season-long contract as the official Porsche China Junior with support from Porsche China to compete in Porsche Carrera Cup Asia 2016 and in one round of the flagship One Make Cup Series the Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup.
FMCS partner Giti, who has worked with the series since its debut season in 2013, has also offered three FMCS drivers a unique opportunity to take part in the upcoming Sepang 12 Hours. Rump, 2014 champion James Munro and 2013 FMCS vice-champion Afiq Yazid will form an all-FMCS team for the December endurance race.
These exciting and exclusive opportunities underpin the FMCS philosophy of not only providing an international platform for young drivers, but a progression path for those with the most promise and potential to continue their careers within the Volkswagen Group China motorsport family. Established by Volkswagen Group China in 2013, FMCS has, in just three short years, already seen many of its alumni progress to more advanced competition, both with the GT racing series within Volkswagen Group China and in Europe, where, for example, alumni are competing in the FIA Formula 3 European Championship and the European Le Mans Series.
As part of its mission to develop motorsport talent in China and the region, FMCS works closely with its sister series within Volkswagen Group China and today’s announcements not only strengthen these relationships, but also showcase the efficacy of the FMCS platform. Former FMCS driver Bao Jin Long, who is a third-year Star Racing Academy (SRA) driver, is currently competing in his second season of the Porsche Carrera Cup Asia, while fellow third-year SRA driver Yuan Bo had a busy 2015, racing in both FMCS as well as making his debut in the Lamborghini Super Trofeo Asia. Malaysian Afiq Yazid, who finished second in FMCS in 2013, is in his second season of the Lamborghini Super Trofeo. Last year, 2013 FMCS champion Aidan Wright and 2014 FMCS runner-up Matthew Solomon both competed in the Audi R8 LMS Cup, while current FMCS and SRA driver Jeffrey Ye was named to Audi Asian Young Driver Development Programme and receives coaching and mentoring from Chinese motorsport star Cheng Congfu, who is currently tied for the championship lead in the Audi R8 LMS Cup 2015.
Said Dominic Lyncker, Head of Group Sports Car, Motorsport and Car Culture, Volkswagen Group (China): “In continuing to provide Formula Masters China Series drivers with exclusive opportunities with which to further their careers, we are striving to provide not only a platform for young drivers to develop their motorsport foundation, but also a chance to make enormous career strides for the brightest fledging talent. In partnering with the Audi R8 LMS Cup, the Lamborghini Super Trofeo Asia and the Porsche Carrera Cup Asia, we are able to utilize the expertise and experience from the GT racing series within Volkswagen Group China to work with young drivers at a key juncture in their careers, while providing the different sportscar series with top junior single-seater talent. We are delighted to announce these opportunities today, which perfectly bookend what has been a tremendously successful 2015 season. Congratulations to all the drivers!”
With the third FMCS season having concluded at the weekend, preparations for the 2016 season are already well underway, with further details to be announced shortly. Prior to the start of its fourth season, FMCS will host a Winter Race from January 21-24, 2016 at Malaysia’s Sepang International Circuit F1 facility in support of the Asian Le Mans Series. The Winter Series presents an ideal opportunity for teams to evaluate new talent and for drivers to complete their preparations for the 2016 season.