Nottinghamshire’s Eddie Lewis has been selected as one of only three rally drivers in the UK to become a Motorsport UK Academy Squad member in 2020.
The 18-year-old from Newark joins 17 other drivers on the coveted programme which assists in the development and progression of young stars in the sport with the support of the UK’s governing body, Motorsport UK and a panel of coaches over the next two years.
Lewis has enjoyed a buoyant start to his rallying career after contesting his first competitive event in 2016. Like many aspiring youngsters, he elected to hone his skills in the F1000 Junior Rally Championship and after two years and an impressive season in which he was rarely off the podium, he won the Championship on his final year in the series.
Lewis contested his first “adult” event at the start of 2019 and with the focus on gaining experience for the future, he contested a handful of events on both gravel and asphalt in a Vauxhall Adam Cup car, before heading to Estonia for his first taste of R2 machinery which led to the acquisition of the latest generation Mk8 1.0litre EcoBoost M-Sport Fiesta R2T.
He would then tackle one of the biggest challenges in the sport, Britain’s round of the FIA World Rally Championship, Wales Rally GB in October of last year. A tough event saw him overcome challenges on each day of the four-leg rally, to record his maiden WRC finish at just 17-years-of age.
Lewis would turn his attentions to the Junior British Rally Championship in 2020 and the battle for a €60,000 prize fund towards a 2021 campaign in the FIA Junior World Rally Championship thanks to M-Sport and Pirelli. The new-look series reverts to a single-make formula this year, with all contenders driving the M-Sport built machines and with one round down, he has already impressed onlookers with his pace, taking fourth overall and his first stage win at the opener in February.
Lewis impressed on his Junior BRC debut in February
– Click to download high res version – Image credit – Jakob Ebrey Photography
Following an impressive career-path in the sport, Eddie attracted the attention of the Motorsport UK Academy panel who announced their selection on Friday (28th February), with Lewis being named as one of only three rally drivers in the Squad for 2020.
The programme will offer an unrivalled mix of training and education sessions, aimed at assisting the development of their career and the rise towards professional motorsport, focusing on fitness and mental aptitude as well as driver training.
“It really is an honour and a privilege to be named as a Motorsport UK Academy Squad member for 2020,” said Lewis.
“Throughout my career, I have done whatever I can to follow a career path which offers the opportunity to gain experience and learn as much as possible whilst pushing myself and my abilities. Progression has always been a key focus for me and it’s fantastic that my efforts have been recognised by the Academy. Being able to tap into the wealth of knowledge and experience that it provides is a priceless asset to me and my career. It really does mean a lot and I can’t wait to get stuck into the programme”.
Eddie is backed by Mechanical Solutions, SSSI Ltd, Newark Steel, John Haugland Winter Rally School, Speedline Corse & Pirelli.
Motorsport UK comments:
Motorsport UK Academy Coach, James Wozencroft:
“The Motorsport UK Squad programme offers a great opportunity for a driver to develop their knowledge in all of the factors relevant to achieving their goals in the sport. The industry experts offer real insight into specialist fields that is often not possible to access and so I’m really looking forward to working with the new selection of athletes and helping them utilise this information to become the best drivers they can be.”
Motorsport UK Competitors Pathway Manager, Katie Baldwin:
“I would like to congratulate the selected drivers for their ambition and commitment which has ultimately gained them a place on the Squad programme for 2020. The Motorsport UK Academy will provide beneficial insight, education and guidance to support them in their journey to becoming a professional driver. We are looking forward to working with the group over the next 24 months”