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The latest news from the world of racing

Kicking off their European pre-season programme, Greaves Motorsport will be at Circuit Paul Ricard for the Official Test of the 2014 European Le Mans Series, Tuesday and Wednesday (1st/2nd April). The team’s 2014 drivers, Tom Kimber-Smith and Chris Dyson will be leading the team’s extensive test programme. They will be joined at the Test in the #41 car by the young American, Matt McMurry, making his European motorsport debut. In the #28 entry will be ex-Radical SR8 Champions, Tony Wells and James Littlejohn, also making their first appearance in the LM P2 class of endurance racing.

A window of opportunity has arisen for a suitably qualified driver to join the team at the test and any interested parties should contact the Team Manager, Jacob Greaves, at either jacob.greaves@greavesmotorsport.com or +44 7817 645 408

In addition to the previously announced programmes at Le Mans and in the European Le Mans Series, the team is considering a further campaign in either the Asian Le Mans Series or the Tudor United SportsCar Championship. Any enquiries should be made to the above contact.

Darryl O'YoungHong Kong Chinese racing driver, Darryl O’Young, has signed with Aston Martin Racing in a Bamboo Engineering run Aston Martin Vantage GTE for the LM GTE Pro class of the FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC). O’Young becomes the first Chinese full season driver in the WEC, making his move after completing 4 seasons in the World Touring Car Championship from 2010-2013.

O’Young will be entering the WEC season with a 3 man driver line-up this year, partnering with Alex Macdowall of Great Britain and Fernando Rees of Brazil. With an ultra-competitive roster of the worlds best GT drivers entered in this year’s WEC, it will make for a season of close hard fought racing on their quest for the FIA World Championship title.

Says O’Young, “I will miss the World Touring Car Championship as it was a great racing series. I enjoyed my 4 seasons there and had some great races and made nice friendships. With the new regulations in the WTCC, it was difficult to enter the championship so I began exploring other options.”

O’Young continued, “I competed the past 2 years with Craft Racing AMR and got to know the guys at Aston Martin Racing. Combine this with my strong relationship with Bamboo Engineering and it has now formed a perfect program for me in the WEC. I have had success in GT Racing and at the Le Mans 24 last year, so I hope to take all this experience and turn it into a successful campaign together with Alex and Fernando. It will be a very tough season as the driver line-ups in the GTE Pro category are very strong, but I am confident that if we all work together as a team, we can come out on top. It is an honor to represent Aston Martin Racing this year in the #99 Aston.”

The FIA World Endurance Championship enters its 2nd season since its return. Organized by the Automobile Club de l’Ouest and sanctioned by the FIA, the race calendar includes 8 rounds, with 7 rounds of 6 hour races and the 24 hours of Le Mans. The series kicks off on April 20th at Silverstone in the United Kingdom.

O’Young continues his long-time partnership with Lung Kee Metal (LKM) and Fuspeed in his 2014 world championship campaign.

MuizzuddinIt was definitively a bitter sweet weekend for Muizzuddin Musyaffa Abdul Gafar, who missed the podium finish in the first round of WSK Champions Cup at the Muro Leccese’s “La Conca” circuit.

11-year-old Malaysian emerged as one of the fastest in the 60 Mini class. He set the sixth time in the qualifying – with 44 drivers on track – 0.196 down the lap record. Muizz claimed the second place in the first heat, then finishing sixth in the second, but moved to the back of the grid when he came wide with the slick tires at the first bend and went off in the last Saturday manche, due to the wet/dry conditions.

Recovering to third in the pre-final race, the young Gamoto Racing team’s driver continued in good shape, eventually scoring the fourth final place.

The next and last WSK Champions Cup round is scheduled in less than a week on the same Italian track.

Sean WalkinshawDouble engine failure during preparation for the opening round of the EuroFormula Open Winter Series at Paul Ricard in France this weekend prevented Sean Walkinshaw from showing his true pace on his debut in the category’s top class – the Briton having to settle for a frustrating 11th place finish.

Making his competitive debut with leading team Campos Racing, the 20-year-old from Chipping Norton had high hopes of a strong start to the Winter Series but an unfortunate engine blow-up during the first test session on Friday, 28th February, set the scene for an exasperating weekend.

While the Campos mechanics did a fantastic job to switch powerplants as quickly as possible, the track time lost was significant. Despite that, Sean was able to re-emerge on circuit halfway through the third run with a new engine bolted into his Dallara and he subsequently went on to give a clear indication of his genuine speed with the second fastest time in the rain-hit final session of the day.

Aiming for a deserved trouble-free run on Saturday, 1st March, the Oxfordshire driver began the day impressively with the sixth quickest time in the first of two morning practice sessions – especially noteworthy when taking into account his lack of dry track time – but, incredibly, a second engine failure followed.

Ultimately qualifying 13th on the grid for round one, Sean managed to make progress over the course of the 14 laps to end the race in 11th position, just 1.5 seconds outside the top 10. Having circulated with top five pace, the event turned out to be a classic case of what might have been.

“It has been a frustrating start to the Winter Series, that’s the best way to sum it up, but there are some positives to take away”, said a phlegmatic Sean, “We definitely had the pace when I was able to run without any issues, my car felt great, but the engine problems limited our running and then impacted on qualifying. We did what we could in the race.

“The organisers of the championship have been great and taken full responsibility for the engine problems and the Campos guys did a fantastic job changing engines, it’s just unfortunate we had two blow-ups. We know we can be quick in the next round at Barcelona, we tested well there before Christmas so I’m confident and definitely looking forward to it.”

Round two of the EuroFormula Open Winter Series will take place a fortnight from now on Saturday, 15th March, at the Circuit de Catalunya in Spain. Pre-event testing will precede the race meeting at the Barcelona track on Friday, 14th March.

Cameron TwynhamBRDC Rising Star Cameron Twynham continued his preparations for this year’s EuroFormula Open campaign with an encouraging display in the opening Winter Series round at Paul Ricard on Saturday (March 1).

The 18-year-old from Market Harborough made an excellent start to his weekend during Friday testing, overcoming small technical problems to record the day’s fastest lap during the second session. That dominance continued in the wet third session when the Team West-Tec driver set a blistering time that only two of his rivals managed to get within a second of.

Saturday’s qualifying session therefore promised much, before a problem with his car’s Electronic Control Unit – which significantly impacted on straight-line speed – hampered preparations during the morning’s final practice.

Unbowed, Twynham pulled out all the stops in qualifying to set a lap good enough for fourth on the grid and only 0.310sec shy of pole position. Having registered his personal best through sector one and the session’s quickest through the second, only a small error towards the end of the lap cost him a place on the front row. But by going a second quicker than he’d managed in testing, the MSA Academy ace was still understandably pleased with the effort.

“My pace on Friday was brilliant, and to top the timesheets for the first time was a great feeling,” enthused Twynham. “With the upgraded engines in 2014, we will all experience a few problems here and there and it seems I had my fair share this weekend. But my engineer Jonathan Kennard and coach Ollie Millroy did an incredible job of pinpointing the problem on Saturday morning and getting me ready for qualifying.

“The session was easily the best of my career, and I was very close to cracking the top-two, although I’ve still not put a full lap together with a car that is fully operational, so there’s still plenty more to find.”

Come the afternoon’s race, Twynham initially made a superb start only to lose momentum avoiding a sluggish Alex Palou, which relegated him to fifth by the end of lap one. Despite this, the leading Team West-Tec driver managed to hold off the Spaniard thanks to some great defensive driving over the 14-lap contest, providing plenty of positives ahead of the final Winter Series round and upcoming EuroFormula Open season.

“I’m incredibly happy with how the weekend went, although the race proved to be a defensive exercise to maintain fifth as I didn’t have the right set-up, but I enjoyed the battle nonetheless,” explained Twynham. “I exceeded my targets for this weekend, which gives me enormous confidence going into the second round of the Winter Series at Barcelona.

“I have to thank all my family and sponsors for their incredible support this weekend, in addition to all my fans on social media who also showed incredible faith in me once again.”

The final round of the Winter Series takes place at Barcelona on March 14/15, giving Twynham another opportunity to prepare for the first EuroFormula Open event at the Nurburgring on May 2-4.

Welsh racing driver Seb Morris has received yet another big boost ahead of his maiden season of competition in Europe this year, having been invited by Sport Wales to be part of its prestigious ‘Elite Cymru’ scheme.

Marford-based Seb, who was recently confirmed as the newest member of the Caterham F1 Team’s Racing Academy, is incredibly proud to be representing Sport Wales throughout his first year in the Formula Renault 2.0 Northern European Cup (NEC) and is delighted to receive such key support.

Fittingly notified of his selection for the Elite Cymru program on St David’s Day, Saturday, 1st March, the 18-year-old is determined to proudly fly the flag for his home nation as he strives to challenge for the NEC crown with top team Fortec Motorsport.

“It really is a fantastic honour to have been invited onto the Elite Cymru scheme and I will do my utmost to justify the support of everyone at Sport Wales”, commented Seb, “This season is going to be the most important of my career by far and with the backing of Sport Wales and the Caterham Racing Academy, I’m in a very privileged position.”

Inaugurated in 1997, the Elite Cymru scheme has solely covered non-Olympic sports such as motor racing and snooker, Commonwealth Games sports such as squash and bowls or sports which medal on a world level, such as golf, since 2006.

Receiving National Lottery funding, and supported by the Welsh Assembly Government, Sport Wales works tirelessly to champion all sports while nurturing and helping to develop the best young talent the country has to offer.

Seb’s first races in the 2014 Formula Renault 2.0 Northern European Cup will come at Monza in Italy over the weekend 12th/13th April. Before then, officially timed pre-season testing will take place at Hockenheim in Germany and Assen in The Netherlands at the end of March.

Cameron TwynhamUp and coming British racing driver Cameron Twynham will enter the new season as a BRDC Rising Star after his breakthrough 2013 campaign was recognised by the British Racing Drivers’ Club.

The Market Harborough teenager is currently preparing to move into the top tier of Euroformula Open (formerly European F3 Open) with the same Team West-Tec squad that helped him finish runner-up in last season’s Copa Class.

The 18-year-old follows in the footsteps of Formula 1 world champion Lewis Hamilton in gaining the distinction after being scouted by a member of the ‘Rising Stars Panel’. Indeed, the scheme has a track record of promoting only the most promising individuals, with Twynham’s selection coming just three months after he was added to the MSA Academy.

What’s more, Twynham will carry the BRDC Rising Star’s instantly recognisable blue roundel on his car throughout the 2014 season.

“The Rising Stars news came as a bit of a shock; I didn’t know anything about it until I received a letter in the post asking me to attend an interview,” admitted Twynham. “I’d like to think they chose me for my performances last season. 2013 went really well, and it will be very important to use the BRDC Rising Stars title this year. It will certainly be an advantage in terms of networking, as we will have a much better idea of who to speak with, and I think it will be good for my career overall.”

Unwilling to rest on his laurels, Twynham was busy preparing for the upcoming season in Jerez, Spain, last weekend where he gained valuable mileage in the Dallara F312 chassis he will campaign this year.

Further testing takes place at Paul Ricard next Friday (February 28) ahead of Twynham’s first competitive outing of the year just a day later when the Euroformula Open Winter Series begins. The former French Grand Prix venue has proven a happy hunting ground before, with the Brit scoring his maiden F3 victory there in 2013.

“I was really happy with how testing went, though we still need to work on the set-up. We are constantly improving, but there is a lot more to come. The F312 chassis is totally different, and it will take some getting used to how it handles in the corners.

“That said, I think we can instantly be on the pace at Paul Ricard. And hopefully we can make the podium again, just as I did in my first F3 race there in the 2013 Winter Series. Of course winning, like we managed in the main series’ opening round last season, would be even better, but it’s important to bear in mind that we’ll be treating it as a test session to prepare for the new season. We’ll be doing a lot of work between now and the first race to ensure we are in the best possible position for the opening Euroformula round in May.”

Following the conclusion of the two-round Winter Series at Paul Ricard and Barcelona (14/15 March) Euroformula Open travels to the Nurburgring in Germany for its opening event on May 2-4.

Seb MorrisFormula Renault 2.0 Northern European Cup racer Seb Morris has today, Monday, 3rd February, been confirmed as the latest addition to the Caterham Racing Academy – meaning the 18-year-old will compete in 2014 with the full support of the Caterham F1 Team’s driver program.

Seb, from Marford near Wrexham, makes the step-up to Formula Renault 2.0 NEC this year with Fortec Motorsport after becoming Vice-Champion of the BRDC Formula 4 Championship in 2013 with Hillspeed.

Ending last season with one win and nine other podiums, he was also selected as a finalist for the prestigious McLaren Autosport BRDC Award. Outside the cockpit, Seb works with Jack Wills as one of its ‘Young Britons’ and as an ambassador for TAG Heuer.

Mia Sharizman, Head of Caterham Racing Academy, commented: “Seb is another outstanding addition to our list of Academy drivers. His talent speaks for itself and we are very pleased to be able to provide him with the full range of support available to all our Academy drivers as he makes the step up to Formula Renault NEC. He will be a strong contender for championship honours this season and, if, as we firmly believe he will, he fulfills his promise, the UK will have another serious motorsport talent to back.”

Seb added: “Joining the Caterham Academy is pretty huge for me. Matt Parry [2013 Formula Renault 2.0 NEC Champion] is someone I look up to, and who I had a real battle with in the McLaren Autosport Awards.  I am following his footsteps this year, both as a Caterham driver and in NEC and I am looking to win it as Matt did.  To be part of an F1 team, with all the support and knowledge that brings, is a massive step forwards for my career.”

Seb’s motorsport career began in 2007 when he started racing karts aged 11. By 2010, he had progressed to the Ginetta Junior Championship where he showed his ability and became the youngest ever podium finisher and Winter Series Champion at 14-years-old. In 2011, Seb won the main Ginetta Junior title and was also awarded the Welsh Young Driver of the Year accolade.

In 2012, Seb was selected as a member of the Motor Sports Association (MSA) Academy and was also named a British Racing Drivers’ Club Rising Star. He moved into single-seater racing in the UK based Protyre Formula Renault Championship and finished the season as the highest placed rookie and third overall. He followed this by becoming the Winter Series Champion.

Photo by Jakob Ebrey PHotography.

Alexander RossiCaterham F1 Team and Caterham Racing have confirmed Alexander Rossi for 2014.

Alexander Rossi renews his GP2 challenge with Caterham Racing after finishing the 2013 season as best rookie, he will start the new season as a serious championship contender. He will combine his GP2 commitments with another year as a Reserve Driver for Caterham F1 Team at all non-GP2 race weekends, continuing his development towards an ultimate race drive in Formula One.

Cyril Abiteboul, Team Principal and CEO, Caterham F1 Team: “In GP2 we want to be competing for race wins and titles from the first race. Alexander showed last year that he’s ready to make a push for the championship, and we’re continuing his F1 development in 2014 by combining his GP2 commitments with another year as an F1 team Reserve Driver. I firmly believe he has the talent to achieve the ambitious targets we are setting him and I’m excited about seeing him fulfil his potential in GP2 this year. We are excited about adding more to Caterham Racing’s already crowded trophy cabinet and use that as a benchmark for the F1 team!”

Alexander Rossi: “I am pleased to be back with EQ8 Caterham Racing for 2014 fighting for a GP2 Championship. My 2013 program had some changes which meant I missed the pre-season tests and a couple of the early GP2 races, however, throughout the season the team and I made some big progress and by Abu Dhabi we were definitely one of the cars to beat. This continued in the post-season tests and I’m quite confident about the pace in 2014.

“As returning Caterham F1 Team Reserve Driver my duties will continue with F1 outings, simulator driver and on track Reserve for non-GP2 weekends. This is the perfect development for my future F1 race drive as I play an important role in assisting the team develop its 2014 car, something that will be particularly important this year with the current technical changes.

“I have to thank everyone involved at Caterham and Team Rossi for making this happen. We have a fantastic chance to win the GP2 title in 2014, while the F1 team achieves its goals of moving forward. This is an important era for all of us, as the sport enters a new generation. What a great way to start 2014!”

Mia Sharizman, EQ8 Caterham Racing Team PrincipaI: “I am delighted to announce that Alexander will continue with us into 2014. This announcement also means that we can focus on our 2014 preparations much earlier than we have been able to in previous years. Our team has undergone a number of changes since the end of the 2013 season which we believe gives us the capability to have our best season to date, and to build on our previous Championship results.”

“Our plan for Alexander in 2014 is part of a two year GP2 programme. After finishing 2013 as top rookie it is now time for him to mount a challenge for the Championship, and with the experience he has gained and the increased support he will have in 2014, I believe that the Championship is a realistic target.”

Richard GondaRichard Gonda has been signed by Accelerate Driver Development Ltd (ADD), a UK-based leading management organisation.

Gonda, who is the only Slovakian single-seater race driver, has been making a name for himself in his native country as a potential future F1 driver and last year successfully won the European F3 Open series Copa class title, scoring 100 points in total and impressively taking eleven podiums – including seven wins.

“I’m sure that after the results I have achieved, especially the title in the European F3 Open series, it has come at the right moment to co-operate with Graeme [Glew] and John [Byfield] of Accelerate Driver Development Ltd (ADD), who have so much experience in the world of motorsport and in F1,” said the 19-year-old, who began karting in 2003, before then moving to Formula Renault in 2010.

“I believe that with Graeme, John and Accelerate Driver Development Ltd (ADD), who choose me to progress with, I can successfully reach the highest level in single-seater racing.

“We will need to work very hard in the near future, but I hope we can realise our first significant step to our target which is to race in the AutoGP World Series in 2014.

“It is all looking very exciting.”

Graeme Glew, Director, Accelerate Driver Development Ltd (ADD), meanwhile believes Gonda has what it takes to progress to the pinnacle of the sport.

“Having watched Richard in last year’s European F3 Open Series he always impressed me with his speed and calm attitude,” said Glew. “Even when he had to start from the back in one of the races at Spa-Francorchamps in Belgium, the way he carved through the field was very impressive and a sure sign he is a winner.”

“It is clear that given the opportunity, Richard will go all the way to the very top of the sport and the fact he is the only race driver to come out of Slovakia creates a unique opportunity for him,” Glew added.

ADD was established back in 2010 by Glew and Byfield, who between them have over 50 years of motorsport experience at all levels from grass roots to the very pinnacle of the sport, F1. The organisation headed up by Glew specialises in driver management and sponsorship acquisition and currently also looks after, in addition to Gonda, Ferrari F1 Academy member, Nicolas Costa, as well as Robert La Rocca, Liam Venter and Lucas Biagioni. ADD also recently launched a new Driver Development Initiative at the Autosport International Show at the NEC in Birmingham, the Accelerate Driver Development Junior Academy, naming karters Sam Pooley, Cameron Roberts, Kyle Hornby and Brett Ward on its initial intake.

Photo by Foto Speedy / www.fotospeedy.it