Formula Palmer Audi will not be continuing in 2001 as a championship for young drivers pursuing a career in motor racing. The series that has been so successful over the three years since its launch is changing its driver
base, as a result of customer demand. A revised championship, Club FPA, is being launched, aimed at non-professional and amateur race drivers who wish to enjoy the benefits of FPA’s renowned values.

The change of direction is necessary because continuing with the original format will not be economically viable in 2001. Prospective drivers were all informed that the closing date for entries was the end of February and at
that time only a few drivers had confirmed, despite the outstanding value of the £85,000 package.

‘Formula Palmer Audi has provided extraordinary value for drivers and the closeness of grid times is proof of our achievement of unrivaled equality in the cars and the Audi engines’, commented Jonathan Palmer. ‘The performance,
reliability and safety of the cars has been quite superb and the show that FPA has put on has set new standards at this level of motor racing.’

‘A tougher economic climate has not helped sponsorship generation. Sadly though it has also transpired that far from really wanting a level playing field, the majority of F1 hopefuls, together with their managers and fathers, want to preferably buy themselves a competitive advantage, or
otherwise at least have the excuse of driving for a team with poorer funding and arguably therefore, capability. In reality only a few have had the confidence and honesty to compete amidst the transparency of FPA. I am
extremely sorry for those who had committed to FPA this year that there will not be a worthwhile field and wish them well securing other opportunities’.

‘Even from our first season, the effectiveness of FPA as a talent proving championship has been clear. Justin Wilson, the 1998 champion, has out performed the F3 champions of his time following his prize of a free season in F3000 and starts his third season with Coca-Cola Nordic as one of the
championship favourites. Last year’s FPA champion Damien Faulkner earned himself a top Indy Lights drive with Dorricott Racing for 2001.’

‘There is no doubt the elevation of Raikkonen and Button to F1 from Formula Renault Sport and F3 has been a great boost to those series, but both these drivers have benefited from forceful management spotting great potential and then crucially funding it with top drives to virtually guarantee results. Very few will ever have that opportunity though and I am particularly sad that the lack of support for the egalitarian concept of FPA by the country’s leading motoring press, Autosport, will deprive talented but modestly funded drivers, like Justin Wilson, of the chance to reach the top.’

Club Formula Palmer Audi 2001

Palmer continued; ‘In contrast, interest in our Rookie and amateur races has been enormous. We now have more interest from non-professional and amateur race drivers, who love the outstanding performance of the cars, the super-professional environment, the great hospitality, the excellent media coverage through Sky Sports television, and the FPA magazine and web site.’

Club Formula Palmer Audi will comprise a 12 race championship over 6 double header events. The FPA cars have been rebuilt to the best ever standards and include a whole range of upgrades. All cars also have brand new Audi 250bhp turbo engines and run to the Euro specification including overboost to 300bhp. The price of a drive in the championship will be just £35,000 + VAT.

Palmer concluded; ‘Running Formula Palmer Audi has been a huge challenge for the past three years and I am immensely grateful to Audi and so many others for making it such a great success. Whilst it has never come near to breaking even financially, I have derived enormous satisfaction from
creating a pioneering arena in which you know you are looking at the best man winning on the day. However we must now evolve the championship and focus on continuing to expand our core business of corporate hospitality and
performance driving for pleasure, with which Club FPA is a logical and excellent extension.’

For more details contact:

Jonathan Palmer, Formula Palmer Audi
Tel: +44 1403 733 999
Fax: +44 1403 733 222