to represent UK in Pirelli Shootout
The Motor Sports Association has selected Adam Gould as the UK's candidate for the Pirelli Star Driver shootout to be held in Austria later this year.
Gould, 21, will head to Freistadt from 24-25 October to represent the United Kingdom over two days of intense competition against the leading rally drivers put forward by 17 other European ASNs. Two European winners will be chosen and, alongside three other winners from Asia Pacific, Middle East and Africa, will win a drive in a series of six FIA World Rally Championship events in a Group N or Super 2000 car supplied and serviced under an FIA contract with a specialist preparation company.
"It's awesome," said a delighted Adam Gould. "That's the only word for it. It's the biggest opportunity of my career. Some people had been suggesting me for the nomination, but there are so many good young British drivers out there, so I really didn't know. I think my victory in a similar style of shootout event last year probably counted in my favour.
"Make no mistake; I'm going to go to Austria with one intention only, and that's to win the shootout. It's going to be tough against the best in Europe, but I feel that I have the skills and the all-round package to succeed, largely thanks to what I've learned from the Elite scheme. The training this year has stepped up a huge amount and my focus in all areas has improved massively - notes, driving, fitness, etc. The support and structure around me has been fantastic and will play a big part in my preparations for this event."
Gould's selection was confirmed by former WRC champion co-driver and recently-appointed UK Performance Director Robert Reid who took soundings from many within the sport before making a final decision.
"This is a fantastic initiative from Pirelli and is a wonderful opportunity for the right driver," said Reid. "Unsurprisingly, there were a number of names mentioned as suitable candidates, but we had only one ticket to hand out. Adam was repeatedly identified as one of the most exciting British talents in years and has already been nominated by Pirelli UK for their own star driver award this season. Despite his age and relative inexperience, I feel he is best equipped not only to win the shootout, but importantly to make the most of the subsequent prize drive."
Gould has been a member of the MSA British Rally Academy and Elite schemes for the last two years and Reid feels that this has been an invaluable benefit in ensuring that the Gloucestershire driver is properly prepared for this type of opportunity.
"We didn't just look at the Elite guys this year," admitted Reid. "The Pirelli opportunity was not envisaged at the start of the year, so it would have been unfair to exclude those not on it this year. But the Elite schemes in both racing and rallying have been established to ensure that our leading talents are the best equipped all-round to take advantage of exactly this type of opportunity. Adam has developed very quickly, he has taken a huge amount from the Elite programme and is certainly a very promising prospect."
"This is one of the reasons that the MSA Elite schemes were set up," confirmed Colin Hilton, MSA Chief Executive. "We took a decision in 2005 to invest in the most promising young talent in the country and the schemes have been developing well over recent years. Now, with Robert's appointment as Performance Director, we have exciting plans for the future. We wish Adam every success in Austria and will be doing everything we can to support his endeavours."
Date of birth: 06/05/1987
Adam Gould entered stage rallying in 2004, after six years competing successfully in various motorsport formulae, including Autograss and the British Junior Rallycross Championship. After winning his class on his first event and leading his championship the following year, he joined the highly competitive Ford Fiesta SportingTrophy UK in 2006, finishing eighth overall and taking the 'most improved driver' award.
In 2007, Adam continued in the FSTUK and was selected for the MSA British Rally Elite scheme, a national scheme designed to hone the skills of the most promising young rallying talent. Following a series of impressive showings, Adam was given a wildcard entry for the FST International Shootout, pitting him against some of the best young drivers from around the world. After an intense competition, Adam was announced as the winner of the prize to work for a year with M-Sport, the company responsible for the works Ford World Rally Team.
As well as working full-time at M-Sport and attending WRC events, Adam is currently engaged in his first British Rally Championship campaign. Finishing tenth overall and first two-wheel drive car on the Jim Clark International Rally caught the attention of the judges of the Pirelli Star Driver, who awarded him an entry to the end of year shootout to win a works drive in next year's BRC.
About the Pirelli "Star Driver" competition in Europe
The Pirelli 'Star Driver' scheme is a worldwide search for five young rally drivers from the 2008 and 2009 FIA Regional Championships, with one driver emerging from each of the Asia Pacific, Middle East and Africa regions. Two competitors will be selected from the European region. The successful drivers from each year will then contest six World Championship rallies the following season.
Details for the European region are as follows: - At the end of the season (24-25.10.08) a shootout will be organised in Freistadt, Austria. One driver from each European country organising either an FIA World Rally Championship or FIA European Rally Championship event (18 countries) will be invited by the respective ASN. - The winners will be selected based on their overall performance, irrespective of car and timed results; thus, any car up to and including A7 is eligible. - The drivers must be under the age 27 at 1st January 2008 - The panel of FIA judges will consist of former famous rallymen and representatives of Pirelli. One of the selection criteria will also be an interview held with each driver, in English, to assess their ability to communicate with the media