Motorsport South Africa’s inaugural MSA Motorsport Development Academy wrapped up at the Gerotek testing facility outside Pretoria Tuesday evening as the 18 young South African race drivers selected concluded the elite and intensive three day program.

“We have now concluded three days of intensive training,” Academy convenor Steve Harding explained. “But that is certainly the end of it — our objective is to see the lads progress based on what they learn here and we will monitor all of them closely on all aspects the Academy curriculum covered going forward and each driver will undergo a follow-up physical analysis toward the end of the year. “After that, we will rate their overall performance and improvement over that period.”

The FIA Grant supported Academy commenced with an intensive physical and psychometric analysis at the University of Pretoria’s High Performance Centre on Sunday before a team building exercise. The drivers then headed to Gerotek for a series of modules on Monday and Tuesday including various advanced driving modules on the facility’s various vehicle dynamics courses, split by a series on lectures dealing with sponsorship, the importance of media, doping and professional responsibilities, all with a strong emphasis on road safety and the Academy drivers’ role in promoting safer driving at all levels.

“What we can tell you at this point, is that this group comprises eighteen brilliant young South African race drivers — they are a competitive bunch and they all gave of their very best throughout the three days of the Academy,” Harding confirmed. “The entire group was extremely closely matched across the various fitness and driving disciplines; lectures and courses and from what we have seen so far, different drivers proved better in different disciplines, which resulted in a very close field overall.”

The eighteen 2016 MSA Motorsport Development Academy drivers are, in alphabetical order; Dayne Angel, Brad Benningfield, Tristan de Nobrega, Willie Erasmus, Julian Familiaris, Delano Fowler, Raoul Hyman, Richard Leeke, Bradley Liebenberg, Paige Lindenberg, Giordano Lupini, Siyabonga Mankonkwana; Oates brothers Darren and Justin, Shorter brothers Chris and Matt, Julian van der Watt and Gareth Woolridge.

“Motorsport South Africa and the Motorsport Development Academy would like to complement each of the eighteen and we now challenge them to go out and better themselves — we know full well that they are all talented racers — that is why they were here,” Harding concluded.

“Now we trust that these young athletes will take what we have taught and shown them and use it all to their best advantage to build themselves into the complete, rounded individuals that will lead South African motorsport into the future. “Well done, one and all – you can hold your heads up high.”