Koch Advances in FIA Academy

Mazda MX-5 Cup Presented by BFGoodrich® Tires champ beat drivers from throughout the Americas in a shootout to move on to world-wide competition.

Mazda MX-5 Cup Presented by BFGoodrich® Tires champion Kenton Koch, of Glendora, Calif., will advance to the next stage of the FIA Institute Young Driver Excellence Academy after winning the Americas shootout in Mexico. Koch was nominated by the Sports Car Club of America to represent the U.S. and U.S. arm of the Federation Internationale de l’Automobile, the Automobile Competition Committee of the United States (ACCUS).

Koch competed against 11 other drivers from North and South America for the opportunity to move on to the final world-wide academy. The four-day selection event was hosted by the OMDAI, Mexico’s connection to the FIA, at the Autódromo Miguel E. Abed near Puebla, Mexico.

As part of the program, Koch went through many drills on and off the track aimed at charting his performance, including psychological testing, fitness testing and assessing presentability – plus, of course, driving skills. Aside from learning where he stands right now, Koch will get to sit down with instructors to learn how to maximize his performance with the goal of becoming a complete racecar driver able to compete at the highest levels of motorsports.

Koch reports that he had the fastest laps during all three days of driving, thanks in part to focusing on his mental preparation this past year. It was especially critical during the high-pressure final shootout, when he had to go out and put down the fastest lap.

The FIA Academy program has three main objectives: to increase skills in the area of driver and road safety; to actively promote the principles of safety, fairness and responsibility both on and off the track; and to prepare young drivers to compete at the pinnacle of the sport. The academy is open to drivers between the age of 15 and 23 years old. Each nominee must have a long-term goal to compete in top-level, international events and have a logical pathway to get there. Among the instructors are former Formula 1 driver Alex Wurz and former World Rally Champion co-driver Robert Reid.

The Academy started in 2011, and is supported by FIA Institute for Motor Sport Safety and Sustainability. Another American to go through the program is Marussia F1 driver Alexander Rossi, currently the only American to hold an FIA Superlicense.