The 2017 CAMS Foundation Rising Stars have enjoyed a productive weekend networking with motor sport identities and gaining critical media experience at the 2017 Australian Grand Prix.
Simon Fallon, Cameron Shields, Zane Morse and Ryan Suhle witnessed first-hand the demands placed on professional racing drivers outside of driving.
Former CAMS Foundation recipient Daniel Ricciardo met with the four Rising Stars and wished them well in their upcoming Australian Formula 4 season.
“It’s nice that Australia has a bit more of a presence now with Formula cars and open-wheel racing,” Ricciardo said.
“If you have success in that, it gives you the choice – it doesn’t hinder at all the V8 path but it also gives you that option and confidence to maybe leap over and try some Formula stuff in Europe or elsewhere.”
Ricciardo also offered advice to the Rising Stars, based off his own experiences racing in Asia and Europe prior to his ultimate goal in Formula 1.
“Try and learn from the people around you, the people that have done that. Use your own talent and your commitment, but soak up everything from a young age,” Ricciardo said.
“There’s so much to learn and don’t think you know it all straight away. I’m still learning, and I’ve been in it a fair while now. Be open minded, but trust your ability.”
Throughout the weekend, the four drivers gained critical public speaking skills on stage in front of spectators as they spoke about Australian Formula 4, the CAMS Foundation Rising Star programme, and their perspective of being a racing driver at such a young age.
Their public speaking skills were also developed by speaking with prospective sponsors and people from within the motor racing industry such as Mark Skaife and Molly Taylor.
Rising Star Ryan Suhle, who arrives from a successful career in karting, said he and his fellow Rising Stars felt honoured to be a part of the program and the responsibilities that come with being a Rising Star.
“The CAMS Foundation has provided us with an incredible opportunity with the Rising Star program this year, and I’m absolutely stoked to be a part of the CAMS Jayco Australian Formula 4 Championship this year,” Suhle said.
“It was a great opportunity to learn a lot of media skills, I’ve gained a lot of confidence in front of a camera and crowd which will help me immensely.”
CAMS Foundation Chairman Valentina Stojanovska was impressed by the Rising Stars’ first public engagement of 2017 at the Australian Grand Prix.
“Our four Rising Stars proved why they were indeed selected to join our programme, and gained some very important learnings across this high-profile weekend at the Australian Grand Prix,” Stojanovska said.
“The CAMS Foundation is working hard to develop our Rising Star talent, both on and off the track. This was the first instance of our Rising Stars working together, and I look forward to witnessing how they will develop over this coming season.”
The four drivers receive in 2017 a $50,000 scholarship loan from the CAMS Foundation to put together a racing programme to compete in the CAMS Jayco Australian Formula 4 Championship.
“With the CAMS Foundation Rising Star featuring such impressive alumni as James Courtney, Will Davison, Matthew Brabham, Macauley Jones, Jack LeBroq, Scott Pye, and most recently Joey Mawson, we are excited to see how our Rising Stars of 2017 develop into Australia’s next generation of motor racing stars,” CAMS Foundation Director Mark Skaife said.
“Importantly, the CAMS Jayco Australian Formula 4 Championship is internationally credentialed as a pathway for young drivers looking to make their mark in Australia in Supercars, or to those aspiring for an international open-wheel career such as past CAMS Foundation recipients Daniel Ricciardo and Will Power.”
Cameron Shields, who will be partnered at Team BRM with fellow Rising Star Simon Fallon, is looking forward to his Formula 4 debut next month.
“I’m certainly looking at making a stand in the category and hopefully I can be right up the front throughout the season,” Shields said.
“I am looking forward to the level playing field that Formula 4 provides technically and can’t wait for the series to start in early April.”
The CAMS Foundation Rising Stars will first race at the opening round of the CAMS Jayco Australian Formula 4 Championship at Sandown Raceway in Victoria on April 7–9.
Zane Morse’s early karting achievements came as 2011 ACT Rookie Champion, 2012 ACT J-Max Champion, 2013 SA J-Max Champion, 2015 Queensland KF3 Champion and the first junior back-to-back National J-Max Champion in 2014 and 2015.
Ryan Suhle won Championships in both 2012 and 2014 at the Ipswich Kart Club and had podium finishes in 2014 at the NT, SA, QLD and Tasmanian State Championships. His career highlight so far as been travelling to Europe to represent Australia in the CIK-FIA World Cup in 2014 in Italy.