The international invasion of Australia’s most prestigious open-wheel championship will continue in 2007 with Astuti Motorsport today confirming the signing of Austrian speedster Walter Grubmuller for the opening round of the 2007 Kumho Tyres Australian Formula 3 Championship.

Grubmuller, 17, comes highly rated to the Melbourne-based outfit fresh from a short stint in the Asian Formula 3 Championship late in 2006.

In what is set to be a busy month for the Austrian teenager, he will compete in the first round of the 2007 Asian series in China before making his Australian debut two weeks later on February 2 – 4 for the high-aiming Astuti team.

Grubmuller’s signing to Astuti Motorsport continues the growing international interest in the Kumho Tyres Australian Formula 3 championship that is set to feature a number of international drivers this year, following the successes of Ben Clucas, James Winslow and Bruno Senna in 2006.

Astuti, who finished third in last year’s Gold Star championship with Michael Trimble, has recently completed extensive testing in preparation for the 2007 season and are high on confidence heading into the opening round – to be run at the A1GP World Cup of Motorsport event at Eastern Creek.

“I’m very excited to have been able to sign Walter for the first round of 2007,” Said team owner Sam Astuti.

“Our program is coming together really well, it’s been a very satisfying off season. We have done a lot of testing and it’s gone very well. The new members of our crew have gelled quickly and I’m very excited about the potential for the year ahead.

”Walter is a very good young driver and I’m certain that he won’t be there to make up the numbers at Eastern Creek. We’re excited to have him.” Astuti said.

Grubmuller began karting in Austria in the year 2000, before moving into the ranks of Formula Renault, competing in both the Italian and European championships.

In November 2006 he made his Formula 3 race debut with the Speedtech Asia outfit in the Asian Formula 3 Championship, driving an older model car in the final four races at Batangas, in the Philippines.

He set times well within the top six of the competitive field, and joins the likes of Mat Sofi, Leanne Tander, Tim Macrow, Chris Alajajian and Stuart Kostera as confirmed drivers for the first round of the Australian championship this year.

Whilst not yet ready to confirm the driver of their second car, Astuti Motorsport has confirmed that they will run a two-car program right from the start of this year’s championship.

“We purchased the second car last year with the intention of running a two car team in the championship this year, and that’s what we are going to do,” Sam Astuti said.

“We hope to be able to confirm the second driver for the A1GP event at Eastern Creek very shortly.”

The 2007 Championship gets underway in less than three weeks time at Eastern Creek Raceway, in Sydney, on February 2 – 4.

At least two further outright driver / team announcements are expected within the following week, the 2007 field already shaping up as one of the most competitive on record.

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