TEAM NEWS: Former Formula BMW racer Sam Abay will join Carlin Motorsport for the 2008 Lloyds TSB Insurance British F3 International Series. The 20 year-old Australian, who finished eighth in a competitive season of Formula BMW UK this year, has already completed a number of test days with the British squad.
Prior to racing in the UK, Abay competed in Formula BMW Asia, where he finished runner-up in the 2006 season following 15 impressive podiums and five race wins.
Abay will follow in the footsteps of fellow countryman Mark Webber when he lines up for his first F3 race in March. Webber is one of many F1 stars who learnt their race craft in BF3, drivers such as Rubens Barrichello, Jenson Button, David Coulthard and Takuma Sato - who won the championship with Carlin in 2001 - have all competed in British F3 before reaching the highest level of the sport.
Abay has already completed several days testing at Snetterton, Pembrey and Oulton Park and is judged to have made great progress by the team. His quick adaptation to the F3 car from the less powerful Formula BMW machine he raced in the 2007 season was particularly impressive.
Carlin, who are three times winners of the British F3 championship, have so far announced they will run British racer Oliver Turvey, New Zealander Brendon Hartley and Jaime Alguersuari alongside Abay next season.
Consisting of 11 rounds, the 2008 British F3 championship will kick off at Oulton Park on 24 March. Taking in circuits such as Brands Hatch, Silverstone and F1 tracks Monza and Spa-Francorchamps, the British F3 championship offers drivers a unique combination of track styles in preparation for a career in international motorsport.
Commenting on his signing to Carlin, Abay said, “I am absolutely thrilled to be joining the team and I believe that I can learn a lot from racing for them next year. I hope I can contribute to the enormous success that Carlin has already had “.
Team Principal Trevor Carlin added, “Sam makes a big leap from Formula BMW to F3, but his progress in testing so far has been very impressive. He has continued to listen to the advice of the engineer and take on board any suggestions. He also has a great understanding of the mechanics and set-up of the car and in that respect he’s a very intelligent driver.
“It’s fantastic that we have been able to announce four of our drivers so early on, this will give us a great opportunity to test throughout the winter and gel as a team, putting us in great shape for the 2008 season.”