Young race car drivers trying to make it big in motorsports face many hurdles along the way.
Team owner Chip Ganassi has now created a program to help foster young talent and hopefully make their path to the top levels of racing a little easier.
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The Generation Ganassi (Gen G) program will help identify young racing talent and provide mentoring along the way. The program will work with drivers 13 to 18 years of age and focus on both personal and professional mentorship.
"I have always been very passionate about trying to give back to the racing community as it has given me so much throughout my life," said Ganassi. "I have always had a real interest in finding and trying to develop young racing talent and over the years have even experienced success in doing it. This is simply an effort to give young drivers a 'leg up' as they navigate the turbulent waters of auto racing. The hope is that a program like this can make a difference in some drivers' careers."
Fifteen-year-old go-kart racer Devlin Defrancesco is the first driver named to the Gen G program. Defrancesco was the 2013 Canadian National Junior champion, vice champion of the CSAI Italian Championship and finished third in the CIK FIA European Karting Championship.
"I couldn't be happier to be the first recipient of the Generation Ganassi award," said Defrancesco. "To be identified by Chip Ganassi is not only an honor but also something that I will use as motivation to live up to the standards that Chip and his organization has always had for their drivers. This is a big day for me."
Each year the Gen G program will select 10 young drivers and pair them with a current Ganassi driver, competition person and others from the team's business operations team.
For those young drivers hoping to be a part of the Gen G program, they must first go through an application process and submit a video essay explaining why they should be selected. The deadline for submissions is Jan. 31, 2016 and the winners will be announced in March 2016.