In 2012, Australian Formula Ford Championship driver Jack LeBrocq is part of an exclusive group of 18 young drivers from around the globe, as a member of the FIA Institute’s Young Driver Excellence Academy.
Before starting his 2012 season with victory in Race 1 at the 2012 Formula 1 QANTAS Australian Grand Prix, LeBrocq was selected for a spot in the unique program.
Overseen by former Grand Prix driver Alex Wurz and World Rally Championship co-driver Robert Reid, the Academy aims to prepare the young drivers for competition at the top level of motorsport, with seminars on a range of topics, including technical, physical and psychological aspects of the sport.
LeBrocq won a spot after a worldwide application process and a four-day shootout in Austria, where a shortlist of 30 was culled to 18.
“At the selection camp, we had to do an interview in front of the board, they asked us questions and we presented ourselves and showed why we deserved the opportunity,” LeBrocq said.
“We also did some driving assessments at the driver training facility they have there, and some team challenges. They were monitoring you the whole time, how you interact with people and what your attitude towards it all was like.”
LeBrocq attended the first seminar at Edinburgh in Scotland late last year. Due to a lack of funding, he missed the second, but he plans on attending the remainder of the workshops in Europe this year.
“We’ve got six workshops throughout the 12 months,” LeBrocq said.
“There’s driver training and they focus on a whole range of topics, like approaching sponsorship, psychology, media and everything else you need to make that step.
“I’m looking forward to getting back over there.”
Away from the structure of the workshops, LeBrocq says getting access to Wurz and Reid – along with other experienced guests brought in to act as mentors – has been invaluable.
“You learn so much being there, with people like Alex Wurz and Robert Reid, giving you a full rundown of what it takes to be at the top of Formula 1,” the 19-year-old said.
“Towards the end of last year, in Edinburgh, I wasn’t sure of the direction I was going to go for this year, whether it would be wings-and-slicks or Formula Ford, but talking to them gave me a good insight into what they thought.
“It’s given me a good opportunity to meet some other people as well, including people like [sportscar driver] Marino Franchitti. He came up; I was able to speak to him and now I stay in contact with him, which is great.”
LeBrocq, who finished second to Mathew Hart in Race 2, and the Formula Ford field will return to Albert Park tomorrow for their final race at 12:50pm.