IN SUPPORT OF SCOTTISH RACING TALENTHaggerty and MacKay set for BRDC F4 and Scottish FF1600 supportFamous Scottish names committed to nurturing home-grown talent Yesterday marked an important chapter in the recent history of Scottish motorsport with the launch of the Ecurie Ecosse Young Driver Initiative at Knockhill (March 23).Following its full-time return to international motorsport in 2012 and first title success for 20 years last season, the legendary Scottish squad has once again turned its attention to a long-standing tradition of promoting up-and-coming Scots; a roll call that includes the likes of Sir Jackie Stewart, Allan McNish and David Coulthard. With a view to preserving and continuing Scotland’s rich motorsport heritage two promising home-grown talents – Ciaran Haggerty (Johnstone, Renfrewshire) and Adam MacKay (Ellon, Aberdeenshire) – will be fully supported by the EEYDI throughout their respective BRDC Formula 4 Championship and Scottish Formula Ford 1600 Championship campaigns.In 2013, and following a string of karting successes, Haggerty claimed the Scottish FF1600 Championship Newcomers Cup after finishing third overall. Aged 16, he also became the category’s youngest ever race winner. Last year the now-18-year-old sealed the title in dominant fashion under the watchful eye of three-time Indy 500 winner and four-time IndyCar champion, Dario Franchitti. The equally talented MacKay also enjoyed a glittering karting career before moving up to single-seaters last season in Scottish FF1600. Like Haggerty before him, the 17-year-old won the Newcomers Cup en route to third overall courtesy of podium finishes at every round. Overseeing the Initiative are, amongst others, five of Scottish motorsport’s most prominent figures: Ecurie Ecosse Team Principal Hugh McCaig, Scottish Motor Racing Club Competition Secretary Graham Brunton, long-time champion of Scottish motorsport talent John Clark, three-time Le Mans 24 Hours winner and World Endurance Champion Allan McNish, and the aforementioned Franchitti. It’s hoped their combined experience, guidance and hard work will ensure a route to the top remains open to Scottish talent for years to come.Ciaran Haggerty: “I’m honoured to be involved with an iconic Scottish team like Ecurie Ecosse. Dario and Ryan [Dalziel] have had such a significant impact on my career already so to have even more people behind me is fantastic. I know that stepping up to the BRDC Formula 4 championship will be a challenge but I’m excited to get stuck in and see what we can do!”Adam MacKay: “It is a huge opportunity to be involved with such a big name in motorsport and with so much heritage behind it. I’m really excited to do them proud! My main goal is to win the Scottish FF1600 Championship this year, and hopefully be in with a chance of some podiums at the away races. Not many people can say they’ve had this sort of chance so I’m looking forward to making the most of it.”Hugh McCaig, Team Principal: “The concept behind the Young Driver Initiative isn’t just to offer up-and-coming Scottish racing drivers the opportunity to compete in a competitive race series under the Ecurie Ecosse name. Instead, we want to point them in the right direction by giving them guidance in all aspects of motorsport, such as fitness, nutrition and media. In this way, we really are going back to what David Leslie did with Dario, Allan and David [Coulthard] who went on to achieve so much in their careers. Unfortunately, a lot of these talented youngsters get lost along the way and we figured if we didn’t help them, who would? There are many people out there who feel as passionately as we do about getting Scotland back on the motorsport map, and we’re extremely grateful for their continued support.” Dario Franchitti, EEYDI Ambassador: “My involvement dates back to 2013 when I first met Ciaran at the SMRC dinner. He’d won the Hartley Whyte Trophy but instead of spending his prize money on racing he donated it to the Reverse Rett charity that Ryan Dalziel’s involved with. It was such an amazing gesture that I offered to help him, and it’s just snowballed from there with Ciaran dominating Scottish Formula Ford last season. The likes of Hugh [McCaig], Graham [Brunton] and Allan [McNish] have really driven it forward, which has culminated in the Ecurie Ecosse Young Driver Initiative. It’s been some time since there’s been a platform for nurturing young Scottish drivers but we’re hoping to change that. The talent is out there – just look at Ciaran and Adam – but without government support it’s down to individuals to make the difference.”Ecurie Ecosse’s various 2015 campaigns get underway over Easter weekend with British GT and BRDC Formula 4’s opening rounds coming from Oulton Park (April 4-6), while Scottish FF1600 visits Knockhill (April 5).