The Jim Russell race series is now a ticket to F2.
A fully funded drive in the 2011 FIA Formula 2 Championship will be awarded to the winner of next year's Jim Russell Championship Series.
The 16-round series runs exclusively at Sonoma's Infineon Raceway, where the Jim Russell Racing School has established its state-of-the-art racing education complex. Over the course of the season, various layouts of the circuit are utilized which features spec Mitsubishi-engined FJR-50 machines, based on Lola's B06-30 Formula 3 car.
"The addition of the F2 award to our series champion firmly sets the Jim Russell Championship Series as the premier developmental formula car series that provides an excellent path to the upper echelons of motorsport," said Chip Pankow, president of the Jim Russell Racing School.
Formula 2 was revived this year as a European-based feeder formula, intended to provide a stepping stone to GP2, the official understudy series to F1. Spaniard Andy Soucek claimed the inaugural F2 championship at Imola last month.
Two places in next year's Jim Russell Championship will be awarded to the winners of the school's new "Future Driver" driver search program, which will be held from December 19-22 and be overseen by two-time Le Mans 24 Hours winner Allan McNish.
"We'll be looking at elements including speed, precision, car control, application of feedback, technical understanding of the vehicle, strategy, media awareness and also fitness for the one successful candidate," said McNish. "The second seat will simply be for the fastest driver in the Final. Sometimes, and I've seen it throughout my career, a driver may not be particularly polished in all areas because of never having the experience. They're rough diamonds, but have natural feel and they just drive fast!"