The FIA Institute has selected the drivers to take part in its inaugural Young Driver Excellence Academy, with the number being upped from 10 to 12 due to the high caliber of the participants.
The 18 competitors took part in a sudden-death pursuit race at the Wachau Ring in Austria today, driving BMW M3s. Belgian Formula Renault Eurocup racer Stoffel Vandoorne won the race in a final against local Philipp Eng. Both Vandoorne and Eng have been included in the final 12, along with Kevin Abbring, Paul-Loup Chatin, Albert Costa, Alon Day, Robin Frijns, Timmy Hansen, Egon Kaur, Andreas Mikkelsen, Alex Rossi and Richie Stanaway.
"This has been an exceptional event, with some incredible driving," FIA Institute performance manager Alex Wurz said:. All 18 of these drivers are worthy of being here on this scheme and we would certainly like to see the six not selected this year coming back next time around."
Fellow performance manager Robert Reid admitted that he and Wurz, and the other two judges, FIA Institute director general Richard Woods and director of programs Quentin Crombie, had been unable to take 18 to 10.
"Overall, the standard of competitor here was higher and more evenly matched than we had anticipated and, this being the pilot year [of the FIA Institute Young Driver Excellence Academy], we had some flexibility with the numbers," Reid said. "It was a very difficult decision, but after a long discussion we decided 12 was the way to go. I'm really looking forward to working with all 12 for the rest of the year. This journey's just beginning."
The six who missed out were Hamad Ahmed Al Fardan, Adam Gould, Norman Nato, Jan Skala, Molly Taylor and Joni Wiman.
The first training session for the drivers will be in Edinburgh later this month.