The CAMS Academy hit the track again on day two in Wodonga with new challenges. The athletes were given a stellar opportunity to cut some laps in a brand new Formula Ford, which tested them mentally and physically having before this weekend only driven karts.
Andrew Jones from Brad Jones Racing in V8 Supercar land is obviously no stranger to high level professional racing and will be competing at the Bathurst 1000 in a fortnight. Having climbed the motor sport pathway includng Go-Karting and Formula Ford, and with a wealth of experience to draw on, Andrew has the credibility and skills to pass onto the CAMS Academy aspiring athletes.
“You have to start out with a base and get some basic skills going. They are all pretty young and straight out of karts mostly with very limited experience so yesterday was about building that base and today is about going up another level on that. We have done some pretty cool on track stuff this morning which a lot of the kids have been really excited about and really getting into and then we are going to go another level this afternoon by throwing them into some Formula Fords, which is a big stepping stone for the athletes.”
Andrew believes that Australia needs to lift when it comes to offering drivers opportunities for real pathways in the sport which the CAMS Academy is now providing,
“For young aspiring drivers there needs to be a real pathway to get from go-karting which is ‘Grass Roots’ level and take themselves whether its to V8 Supercars in Australia or Formula 1 in Europe. A progression for this is the best thing we can have.”
Macauley Jones, Andrew’s cousin is attending the FIA Young Driver Excellence Academy in Beijing later in the year where Andrew will be instructing, we asked him what he felt the CAMS Academy can contribute to athletes looking to move on to programs such as this,
“Academies like the CAMS one in Australia varies a little bit from the Young Driver Excellence Academy (Y.D.E.A.) that the FIA put on, this one here is a ‘Grass Roots’ level program to teach the basics. The CAMS Academy will give them the opportunity to put some things in place whether it's their physical fitness or mental strength, or even their driving skills to arrive at the Y.D.E.A. fully prepped and feel fully comfortable going against the world’s best.”
On the topic of what personality makes a great race driver Andrew had this to contribute,
“Is there a right personality to take into motor sport or any sport for that matter? I’m not sure, I believe we are better to embrace the differences between people than we are to pigeon-hole them into one sort of styling because if we try and change them we are not going to get the best out of them.”
On what makes a motor sport athlete unique,
“The attention to detail that people want to bring and also the competition element, one thing that they all have in common is just how competitive they all are. They get out of the car after every exercise, debriefing and egging each other on. It's a common element which is terrific to see.”
The CAMS Academy concludes today. Follow CAMS on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for further updates.