M-Sport to bring young co-drivers to three WRC events

The WRC team has entered a new partnership with the Motorsport UK Academy Co-Driver program

WRC 2023

World Rally Championship teams are always looking to the future, trying to establish the next generation of rally drivers, but often co-drivers can be forgotten.

Until now.

Motorsport UK operates a one-year program for aspiring co-drivers who have the potential to reach the pinnacle of rallying, and now M-Sport is partnering with the initiative in the hope of producing a future WRC star.

As part of the partnership, not only will young UK co-drivers take a trip to Dovenby Hall to examine how a top tier team operates, but more importantly, they will also get the opportunity to travel with M-Sport to three WRC events throughout 2023 as part of the team’s support crew.

WRC 2023

“I am very excited that we can now announce M-Sport will link up with the Motorsport UK Academy Co-Drivers program this season, giving them some once in a lifetime opportunities, whilst giving some of them the additional opportunity to actually experience the WRC from inside our team, on event,” said M-Sport team principal Richard Millener.

“Last year we hosted one of the Motorsport UK Academy training days at Dovenby Hall and this got me thinking about how we could offer new and different concepts to the already successful program.”

Millener’s suggestion was that a handful of the academy members will be able to attend WRC events with the team.

Not only will it enable the program members to learn new skills, but it will also allow them the opportunity to build up contacts – something that will be necessary if they want to go on and one-day compete in the WRC themselves.

“I am really looking forward to having some of them working with us at WRC events, giving them a real chance to see how the top-level teams operate on events along with allowing them the opportunity to make new contacts and meet new people within the sport,” he explained.

“These young and upcoming co-drivers are key to the success of the sport in the future, and I hope this partnership will see us helping to develop the next set of World Championship winning co-drivers from the UK.”

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Motorsport UK also believes that attending WRC rounds will help provide a strong learning platform for the co-drivers to work from.

“By exposing our co-drivers to the high performing environment of WRC, we’re aiming to provide them with the relevant skills and tools to operate at a high level,” said Motorsport UK competitors pathway manager, Katie Baldwin.

“This is a fantastic opportunity for the Motorsport UK Academy to become a supply chain of talented co-drivers, who have the capability of representing M-Sport in the future, whether that be within a co-driving capacity or through other roles.”

This year’s Motorsport UK Academy co-drivers are Sophie Buckland, Emma Clarke, Emily Easton-Page, Rhys Edwards, Dafydd Evans, Daniel James, Daniel Jones, Daniel Petrie, Harry Stubbs and Jamie Vaughan.

Program mentors include Colin McRae’s former co-driver Nicky Grist and five-time WRC podium finisher Seb Marshall.

Words:Rob Hansford