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Two Australians gain Ferrari Driver Academy chance

Mat Coch

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Monday 5th October, 2020 - 9:53am

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James Wharton (left) and Marcos Flack (right)

Youngsters James Wharton and Marcos Flack will this month head to Italy where they’ll take part in a Ferrari Driver Academy camp.

The pair are the first representatives from Motorsport Australia’s partnership with the FDA and will head to Fiorano on October 21-27.

At just 14 years of age, Flack began racing karts at age five, and has since competed domestically and internationally.

The Queenslander also had a spell in New Zealand’s Castrol Toyota Racing Series as a mechanic in an effort to gain a greater understanding of the mechanics of the sport.

“I was just so happy and honoured to have this opportunity to go over to Italy to represent Australia,” Flack said.

“I just want to enjoy the opportunity and learn more about my driving as part of the next step in my racing career.

“I certainly look up to Ferrari drivers like Michael Schumacher and Charles Leclerc, who has come in to Formula 1 and been fast straight away, so I am really looking forward to being part of the Ferrari Driver Academy.”

From Victoria, Wharton has also campaigned on the international stage racing in FIA-CIK level karting events, the 14-year-old taking part in the Karting World Championships

“I feel proud to be able to honour Australia,” Wharton said.

“There haven’t been many Australians involved with Ferrari and I am looking forward to being able to represent Australia and represent myself with such a big name in world motorsport.

“I have an amazing opportunity to achieve some of the goals that I have set for myself, but I know there is still a long way to go and I will be putting in a lot of work and maximum effort.”

Motorsport Australia CEO, Eugene Arocca, added: “We are delighted to have James and Marcos representing Australia alongside some of the best drivers in the world at this year’s Ferrari Driver Academy program,” Arocca said.

“Motorsport Australia was overwhelmed by the interest in the FDA from the next generation of motorsport stars in Australia and also the Asia Pacific and Oceania region.

“The competition for the final two spots was intense. We thank all those who applied and congratulate James and Marcos as our selected participants.

“2020 has been a very different year and while we weren’t able to have everyone come together for trials as originally planned – and as we will in future years – all candidates went through a vigorous selection process, including various fitness tests and interviews.

“James and Marcos presented very well in their interviews through this process and showed they have the talent to match it with the best in the world and we wish them all the best at Fiorano.”

The partnership between Motorsport Australia and the Ferrari Driver Academy was announced in May and in time will see the creation of a permanent base at Sydney Motorsport Park.

Making use of the Centre of Excellence set to be constructed at the venue, the programme will be operated by Motorsport Australia in its initial stages and be the home of the Academy’s Asia Pacific/Oceania activity.

As a result of that relationship, Flack and Wharton have both been invited to Ferrari’s Fiorano test track where they’ll compete against drivers from academies in other regions.

The winner is set to be offered a drive in a European Formula 4 Championship.

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