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Carlton and Ellis win Jim Russell drives

Jim Russell Racing Drivers School has offered two full 2010 scholarships to American Gary Carlton and Canadian Alex Ellis, following the completion of its Future Driver Search programme at Infineon Raceway this week

Both Carlton (23) and Ellis (18) will receive fully-paid up drivers in the 16-race 2010 Jim Russell Championship Series using the school's purpose-built FJR-50 single-seater, which is based on Lola's most-recent Formula 3 car and powered by a two-litre turbocharged engine.

The series will feature two, 30 minute races, staged on consecutive days over eight weekends using a variety of configurations of the Sonoma Park facility.

The outright 2010 JRCS champion will then be given a fully-funded prize drive in the 2011 FIA Formula Two Championship.

Ellis and Carlton were chosen from a clutch of 40 hopefuls hailing from 10 countries after an extensive four-day selection process that included evaluations in karts, Mitsubishi Evolution X sedans and the FJR-50 by a panel that included multiple Le Mans 24 Hours winner Allan McNish.

The scheme is designed to single out the best young international talent from karting and junior motorsports categories who might not otherwise progress due to lack of funding or good fortune.

Ellis, who finished sixth in the 2009 Formula BMW Americas series, was chosen because he was judged to be the best all-rounder while Carlton, who steps up from a successful US karting career, set the fastest lap on the final day of the assessment in the FJR-50.

"The quality of talent of every driver in the competition was very good and judging the final six was extremely difficult - each of them were extremely talented with excellent personalities," said McNish. "Gary and Alex are two fantastic drivers and I'm certain their names will become well known in motorsport.

"I was delighted with just how well the entire event ran despite unfavorable weather conditions at times."

Fellow judge Chip Pankow, President of the Jim Russell Racing Drivers School, added: "The Future Driver 2010 Selection has exceeded our expectations on a number of fronts while the quality of drivers that have taken part has been truly impressive."

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