STOWMARKET race ace Josh Webster has been tipped as a future world champion by the governing body for UK motorsport.
The 17-year-old — who was narrowly pipped to the Formula Renault UK championship last year — has been hand-picked as one of seven racing drivers in the Team UK elite programme by the Motor Sports Association (MSA).
Webster will benefit from a training programme, national coaching from 2009 Le Mans champion David Brabham and access to leading sports science experts, as well as teams and suppliers in the sport as he bids to achieve his goal of reaching Formula One.
“Every driver wishes they could be on the programme,” he said. “To be part of it is a big bonus.
“I want to use this chance to see what I’ve got — I just can’t wait to get out on track.”
Webster — who was named the MSA Young Driver of the Year in December — is the first driver to graduate from the Advanced Apprenticeship in Sporting Excellence (AASE) to the Team UK elite drivers squad.
MSA communications director Tim Swietochowksi said: “In the last few years, the MSA have taken a lead in developing the sport as a whole, which includes developing our most promising talent.”
The Team UK squad was formed in 2010, from which James Calado has gone on to earn a GP2 race seat — one level below Formula One — and Ollie Webb will race in the USA in Indy Lights — one level below IndyCar.
This year’s crop includes Formula Three racers Jack Harvey and Alex Lynn, as well as Formula Renault UK 2.0 driver Josh Hill, the son of former Formula One world champion Damon Hill.
Webster hopes to race with Hill in the Formula Renault 2.0 UK Championship this year and follow in the footsteps of the likes of Lewis Hamilton, Kimi Raikkonen and Heikki Kovalainen, who all raced in the series before going on to star in Formula One.
However, he is yet to secure the funding needed for a race seat in the championship, despite having performed well in the event’s winter series, racing to third overall after six rounds.
The Suffolk youngster still has backing from Nine Telecom Group and Admiral Managed Networks, but needs more cash to fund what would be his first full season as a Formula Renault 2.0 UK driver.
n To sponsor Josh, contact him via his website www.joshwebster.co.uk
Sponsors can enjoy days out with Webster at his events, which would be on the undercard of the hugely-popular British Touring Cars Championship (BTCC) if he achieves his goal of a Formula Renault 2.0 UK race seat.