Tom ArmourManor Competition is delighted to confirm its return to a four car line-up, effective from today’s official Formula Renault UK test at Thruxton in Hampshire, after signing a deal with 18-year-old category rookie Tom Armour.

Armour, from Billericay in Essex, made his debut in Formula Renault UK during the opening two rounds of the season at Brands Hatch just over a week ago with a rival team. However, with Manor’s fourth car vacant due to budget shortfall for the original driver, Armour jumped at the chance to join the multiple champion squad.

Racing alongside title contenders Alexander Sims and Kris Loane, and Graduate Cup front-runner Henry Surtees, Armour is relishing the chance to show his true potential at Thruxton’s test session this afternoon. From there, his race debut as a Manor driver will come at Rockingham in Northamptonshire this weekend, 12th/13th April.

“Manor’s pedigree speaks for itself, I almost leapt through the roof when my dad told me the deal had been agreed”, said the elated teenager, “Tony and Sarah (Shaw) run a fantastic team and it’s a dream for us to be able to race with them.

“We always wanted to join Manor when we decided to come into the series at the end of last year but it looked like there wasn’t a seat available. When we realised at Brands Hatch that Manor’s fourth car was vacant, we knew that’s where we wanted to be.”

Although having raced karts extensively in Britain and Europe during his formative career, Manor’s new signing wasn’t able to achieve the results he unquestionably deserved due to a series of engine problems and other unfortunate mechanical failures.

Stepping away from motorsport at the conclusion of his karting career to begin a degree course at the University of Lincoln, Armour soon realised he missed racing and after taking part in several Formula Renault UK tests at the end of 2007 he was bitten by the bug once again.

Armour added: “Now I’m in a Manor car I really feel we’ll be able to show our true potential. I’m as eager and enthusiastic as I ever have been and while today’s test will be good, I can’t wait for next weekend’s races at Rockingham.”

The Essex racer, who currently studies Marketing and Advertising at the University of Lincoln, is the son of ex-Formula First, Formula Vauxhall, Formula 3, Euroboss F1 and World Sportscar competitor Phill Armour.

For New Ollerton based Manor Competition, the deal with Armour is terrific news and sees the team back to its four-car capacity for the first time since the World Series by Renault-supporting races at Donington Park’s Grand Prix Circuit last September.

“To be back to a four-car team is fantastic”, said team boss Tony Shaw, “When Tom and Phill indicated to us they wanted to come and race with Manor we were only too happy to get the deal agreed as quickly as possible. We really are absolutely delighted.

“He’s achieved a great deal in karting and clearly has a lot of talent. His first run in the car will be at Thruxton later today for the official test. Then we’re straight into the race meeting at Rockingham next weekend. We’re really looking forward to working with Tom and we’re confident he’ll be a terrific addition to the team.”

Rounds three and four of the 2008 Formula Renault UK Championship will take place at Rockingham International Super Sports Car Circuit this coming weekend, 12th/13th April.

Photo by Jakob Ebrey Photography.