Wade Van Hooser of Tulare, California — Red Bull Driver Search semi-final winner traveled to Austria and Portugal for the RBDS 6-day finals, October 8-14, 2004. Fifteen-year-old Van Hooser took part in medical tests at the RB Diagnostics and Training Center in Thalgau, Austria where he participated in monitored cycling, endurance and strength tests.
Then off to Portugal for Orientation at the Autodromo Fernanda Pires Da Silva Circuit for actual testing on the track. Van Hooser and the two other USA RB semi-finalists walked and biked the track prior to pouring their custom fitted seats for the 2-day testing in Alan Docking Racing-prepared Formula 3 cars on the former Formula 1 race circuit. The testing was followed up by driver interviews.
Current RB USA Junior Driver, Colin Fleming assisted the RBDS judges with coaching the semi-finalists by setting baseline times.
The environment was new to Van Hooser and felt he adapted instantaneously to the car and improved on his lack familiarity of the track quickly. Van Hooser said he will always remember this once-in-a-life-time experience and thanks Red Bull for developing the driver search program and for giving him the opportunity to take part in the semi-finals and finals. Red Bull developed the RBDS program in 2002 as a long-term program designed to find, test and support upcoming young American racing talent while addressing the lack of Americans competing for the pinnacle of motor racing, the Formula One World Championship.
Although the judging was close and very intense between the three USA semi-finalists, Van Hooser was not selected at this time. Van Hooser credits everyone including his family for making this experience possible and hopes Red Bull keeps an eye on him in 2005.