22-year-old American Paul Edwards will contest this year's British F3 Championship driving for Alan Docking Racing, it was announced today. Edwards will run alongside experienced British teammate Andy Priaulx in the Silverstone-based team's Dallara F301-Mugen Honda. The move follows Edwards' outstanding test runs with the team last October and caps a winter of intensive sponsorship hunting by the young Californian.
Edwards' move up the next rung of the ladder leading to Formula One will be supported by Doug Mockett and Company, a US distributor of premium architectural hardware and fixtures. "It's been a long-held ambition of mine to help a deserving young American into British F3, and with Paul I feel I've found the right driver," said company owner Doug Mockett. "There's nothing like British F3 for proving that a driver has what it takes to win in F1, and that's what I think Paul will demonstrate this season."
joining Mockett will be a group of private investors from the US, while Edwards is hoping to land additional sponsorship as the season approaches to secure the funding he requires. "F3 is when you really step into the spotlight, and you need a full budget to do your best with a professional team," Edwards said. "I feel I am in the best position this year with Alan Docking Racing. I believe in everyone on the team and with us working together I know we will achieve the results we are all working so hard at."
Edwards's signing gives Docking one of its most competitive driver line-ups in over 20 years as a British F3 entrant. "Andy's expected to win races this year, but from what we've seen of Paul, we can see winning races with both drivers," team owner Alan Docking commented. "I've been at this game a long time, and Paul is one of the strongest F3 rookies I've ever seen. He's got the natural ability and a good head on his shoulders to go with it. The whole team is excited at having him on board."
The team's chief engineer, Paul Antony, is also a compatriot of Edwards. "It's a bit special being able to help develop a young American with real talent." Antony said. "It seems the US is taking more of an interest in F1, so I think Paul's arrival on the scene is well timed. But the important thing isn't his nationality - it's that he's ready to run with the best from anywhere in the world."
Edwards made the commitment to European racing at the outset of his career, and has been a winner in Formula Ford, Formula Opel, and Formula Palmer Audi on his way to F3. The three-time recipient of the Valvoline Team USA Scholarship is looking forward to flying the flag again in 2001. "It's no secret I want to be the next American in F1, and F3 is the way to get there. It's a crucial step in my education as a driver, and I couldn't have picked a better school than ADR. The team is totally professional but friendly at the same time. I'm grateful for their confidence in me, and also want to thank Doug Mockett and my other sponsors for the opportunity to show what I can do."