15-year-old Caio Collet came away from a three-day shootout at the Paul Ricard Circuit to claim the Winfield Racing School‘s top prize, a scholarship for the 2018 French F4 Championship.
The Brazilian was one of eighteen drivers selected for the shootout, beating a largely French contingent to make it through to the final three and securing his name in the Volant Winfield history books. Collet himself is managed by Nicolas Todt.
Last year he competed in the Junior World Karting Championship, finishing third in the KF Class, while he has spent the winter in Dubai entering and winning a race in the Formula 4 UAE Championship where he now sits fifth in the standings despite missing half of the season.
After a day of testing, Collet, along with 2017 French F4 race winners Pierre-Louis Chovet and South African Stuart White made it to the final in which the three tested the Mygale FIA-F4. Having seen his rivals score maximum points in the off-track evaluations Collet knew it would be an uphill battle.
He remained resilient though, putting in a number of strong first runs. Each driver would get five timed laps with Collet and White swapping overall fastest times. In a final lap push, the Brazilian set a personal best of 1min 33.135, giving him the overall best lap. To add, it also meant that he recorded the best average lap over the five runs, with a time of 1min 33.541 seconds.
In what was a tough decision from the judges, Collet would be handed the prize over 17-year-old White.
“Regarding the candidates, we are delighted by their extremely high level of performance.” said Frédéric Garcia, Winfield Group President. “The selection for the final was difficult and we did not take into account just the lap times. Physical and mental evaluations, as well as the candidate’s human and sporting qualities also directed our choice.
“We have worked on the [scholarship] regulations for a long time. It had to be strict to make sure it did not create suspicion on how the winner was decided. In the end we are proud to return the Volant Winfield’s great reputation and international scope to the 21st century.”
Elsewhere, Théo Pourchaire won the Trophée Winfield, a prize given to the most impressive from the youngest group of drivers, which also includes free entry into next years Volant Winfield.
So far thirteen drivers, including Collet, White, Chovet, Pourchaire and Arthur Leclerc have all announced they’ll be racing in the French series with more set to be revealed.