Mubadala

Daman Speed Academy Puts Young Drivers on the Right Track

The UAE’s ambitions to one day produce a Formula One racing champion could become a reality, thanks to an initiative aimed at developing the skills of aspiring young Emirati drivers.

The Daman Speed Academy, run by Abu Dhabi Racing and sponsored by the national health insurer, is an intensive eight-month training program designed to prepare students aged eight to 15 for a career in the high-octane world of professional motor sports.

The young drivers train two or three times a week, honing their skills on the go kart track, and receiving tuition on safety, fitness and the technical side of the sport.

“The UAE absolutely has a big chance to produce a Formula One champion,” said Samiha Zammouri, a marketing executive at Abu Dhabi Racing involved with the program. “First we identify a very talented person who is prepared to be dedicated and make a lot of sacrifices in order to get there.

“Then we can work on it, and invest in them. That’s what Daman Speed Academy is all about.”

As well as focusing on race strategy and track manoeuvres such as overtaking and braking, the students – selected because they had already demonstrated commitment and ability – are taught skills they may find useful in later life and in their careers.

“We also want them to grow up as successful businessmen and women,” said Samiha. “So the course includes marketing and business training, communication skills, we teach them how to be focused, determined – everything they need to be go-getters, equipped to achieve their goals.

“A good race driver has certain qualities in common with a good businessman, for example team work, how to communicate, how to be helpful and humble and how to focus.”

Students were selected based on their karting results over the past two years. One of the students, Amna Al Qubaisi, 13, said: “My goal is to become a Formula One driver. The most challenging part is trying to get a better time than your team mate. It takes a lot of effort.”

The students compete in karting and single-seat events, and attend a Spring Camp in Al Ain and a two-week, out-of-season summer camp in Europe.

To find out more about the program, check out www.mubadala.com

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