The Marussia Virgin Racing Formula One team is to support new karting category Formula KGP with effect from this season.
Virgin F1 driver Jerome D’Ambrosio took part in a launch test at PF International on 26th February and was delighted with the kart. Special Projects director Marc Hynes said “We’ll have trouble getting him out of the kart and to the Barcelona test next week!”
Formula KGP is a new seven-round National Karting Championship, which joins the Super 1 Series. Marussia Virgin Racing will use the collaboration as the foundation of its young driver programme, the first stepping stone for exceptional young karters to progress all the way through to Formula One.
Karting is the first step to gauging the potential of a future World Champion and Marussia Virgin Racing will be keeping a close eye on the stars of the future. At the end of the season, the top three drivers and one ‘wild card’ – a driver who has demonstrated outstanding ability in the new Formula KGP Championship irrespective of points placings – will win a Formula Renault test.
Hynes, who was deeply involved in British karting during his own racing career said “We think that karting needs to have a pinnacle again. We’d like nothing more than to find the next D’Ambrosio in KGP. Because we’ve been so successful in Formula Renault with Manor with the last three BRDC Young Driver of the Year winners we would like to put something back and give someone the opportunity in Formula Renault. When there were lots of drivers in the top class there would always be seven or eight looking to move into cars and now there isn’t that many then there’s only eight or so on the grid in Renault. We were concerned about backing something that would put people out of business but the tuners can still tune and people can
use whatever chassis they like. If they want to do KF2 in Europe they can just take the front brakes off and bolt the engine on.”
To underline its support for the category, the Marussia Virgin Racing logo will also appear on the karts, drivers’ suits and helmets as well as being integral to the Championship identity.
John Booth, Team Principal, Marussia Virgin Racing, said “Karting is the beginning of a long but ultimately very rewarding
journey. I believe very strongly in nurturing the talent of tomorrow and providing opportunities for drivers to move through
the ranks. It’s not an easy progression, so if the talent is there, it should be supported. As a team, we have to think today about the drivers of tomorrow and that means ensuring there is a rich pool of talent to draw from further down the line.”
Andy Cox, Managing Director, Formula KGP said “Formula KGP is delighted to form this collaboration with Marussia Virgin Racing. Karting is a crucial step in the development of a driver; perhaps in many ways it could be the very discipline that defines a driver for the future. With this collaboration, karting connects directly with a Formula One team and an
entire grid can race under the gentle eye of Marussia Virgin Racing, with such an innovative approach a future talent could be discovered. With a test drive in Formula Renault at the end of the season, I can’t think of a better situation for a driver to
showcase their talent to a Formula One team.”