UNIONVILLE, ONT., CAN. (March 4, 2002) - Former Formula Ford 2000 Zetec Championship Oval Crown Champion Billy Asaro has announced he will contest the British Formula 3 Championship in 2002 with Sweeney Racing.
"This is really exciting for me," said the twenty-year-old Asaro. "The British Formula 3 series has a fantastic reputation for the talent it draws. When you're in that kind of environment, it pushes you to be better. You have to work harder, focus harder. This is going to be very challenging, but it will make me a better racing driver and I'm confident I will do well with Sweeney Racing."
Sweeney Racing, based in Norfolk, England, is new to the Formula 3 arena, but by no means short of experienced staff and quality equipment. The team took over Jaguar's operation after the prestigious marquee opted out of the series at the end of the 2001 season. Sweeney Racing maintains good ties with the Jaguar racing outfit and Niki Lauda, a two-time world champion and head of Jaguar Racing, has hinted at some lapping in one of their Formula 1 cars at the end of the season if the Formula 3 campaign goes well. To oversee the cars, comprised of Dallara chassis and Mugen Honda engines, team principal John Sweeney hired engineer Roly Vincini, who carries impressive credentials having worked with several Formula One stars, including triple world champions Ayrton Senna and Nelson Piquet.
"Billy will be a huge asset to the team, as well as the championship," said Sweeney. "There aren't that many North American drivers that come across to Britain and my hope is that Billy will show that it is a great route to take for aspiring F1 and CART drivers."
Asaro, of Unionville, Ont., Can., heads to England following a convincing year in the Formula Ford 2000 Zetec Championship series. Last year, with Key Motorsport, he won three times and scored seven top-three finishes in the 13-race championship, winning the Oval Crown and finishing second in the National Championship. The lead up to last year's successes include, a year in the Zetec Championship supported by Forsythe Racing, three wins in eight races in the 1999 Canadian Formula Ford Championship, a season at French racing school La Filiere in 1998; and finishing his karting career in 1997 as a Canadian Grand National Champion.
"There's a lot of people I have to thank right now," said Asaro. "Sweeney Racing, of course, for this opportunity and Belleville Rodair for their continued support. My friends and family have always played a big role and have been behind me since I was a little kid driving a go-kart. It's amazing to think of how far I've come."
Asaro will fly to England shortly to prepare for the first of thirteen double race events, which begins at Brands Hatch, March 29 to April 1.
The 2002 Formula Ford 2000 Zetec Championship commences March 14-15, 2002, with a doubleheader at Sebring International Raceway, as part of the prestigious Mobil 1 12 Hours of Sebring weekend.