Investors back budding Formula 1 driver

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The unique share issue to back the career of Justin Wilson, a budding British Formula One driver, has been over-subscribed.</p>The issue of shares in Justin Wilson plc has raised £1.2m, the amount needed to launch the career of Mr Wilson, aged 24, who drives for the Minardi team.</p>Because of the expensive nature of the sport, drivers need to raise money to get themselves into a team when they are not proven and, given the collapse in corporate sponsorship, Mr Wilson turned to ordinary investors. He is currently in his first season as a driver.</p>There were more than 900 investors to the issue, 70 per cent of whom went for the minimum investment of £500, while 20 per cent bought £1,000-worth of shares. Ninety shareholders put in more than £1,000. The shares are not listed but they entitle the holder to a share of future earnings from the driver, which will go to Justin Wilson plc.</p>"I'm delighted and flattered that so many people have chosen to invest in my career," said Mr Wilson. "I get asked a lot if it's added pressure knowing that people have invested their hard-earned money into Justin Wilson plc but as I keep saying, I view the investors as additional support and not additional pressure."</p>Of the backers to the issue, which is now closed, some 15 per cent were women. Investors are entitled to all Mr Wilson's earnings for the first three years of his career (after paying him a salary), going down in stages thereafter. Once investors have doubled their money, they are entitled to 10 per cent of Mr Wilson's earnings until 2012.</p>Of the seven races so far in this Grand Prix season, Mr Wilson came 11th and 13th place in the two races that his car has finished. If he impresses, he hopes to be snapped up by a more fancied team. </p>