BF3

Nigel Clyde positive on 2002 season

Nigel Clyde's Team Avanti is a relatively new team as this is only its third season in the British Formula 3 Championship, but since it was founded in May 2000 it has made its presence felt in a very competitive series. Nigel's love of motor...

Nigel Clyde's Team Avanti is a relatively new team as this is only its third season in the British Formula 3 Championship, but since it was founded in May 2000 it has made its presence felt in a very competitive series.

Nigel's love of motor sport started soon after he was born in Ballymoney, Northern Ireland on the 23rd March, 1968. He was the third of four sons, all of whom loved fast cars.

It was not long before Nigel's interest turned into reality, as at the age of 13 he built and raced his first car. By his own admission, motor sport dominated his life and so it was no surprise he should become involved in it professionally.

Since his first full time job in the sport ten years ago Nigel has worked with some of the best teams and drivers. He started with one of the most successful teams in British motor sport, Paul Stewart Racing, in 1992. His first job was in Formula Vauxhall where he worked as a mechanic on Dario Franchitti's car that finished fourth in the championship. Then the following year they clinched the series together.

When Dario moved up to Formula 3 in 1994 Nigel moved with him and worked as his engineer. In 1995 he continued engineering with Paul Stewart Racing but was working with Ralph Firman, who came second in the series.

Nigel and Dario were reunited in 1996 with the AMG Mercedes team and they finished third in the ITC. It was 1997 when Nigel's big brake came and he was to move to Formula 1 with the Benetton team. For the first three years he was Test and Development Engineer working with the likes of Gerhard Berger, Jean Alesi, Giancarlo Fisichella and Alexander Wurz. Then in 1999 and 2000 he also worked as a Race Engineer.

Although Nigel loved what he was doing, his real ambition was always to have his own team. This dream came true when less than a month after leaving Benetton on the 14th April, 2000, Team Avanti was formed to compete in the British F3 series with its personnel being just Nigel and one mechanic. The team's first race with Andrew Kirkaldy was on the 4th May, and despite a very limited budget they notched up one second place and finished 13th in the Championship.

Things looked up for 2001 with the purchase of a second car and a transporter. Two weeks before the first round Matt Davies was signed to drive. With no testing under their belts they arrived at the first race an unknown entity. The team put the cat among the pigeons very early on by taking a pole and winning one of the two races at each of the first two rounds.

Sadly a major sponsor did not materialise, and the struggling team was not able to keep up its early season momentum so Matt finished eighth in the series. The second car appeared sporadically during the season with different drivers and at eventually Milos Pavlovic was 17th and Martin O'Connel 18th in the Championship.

Nigel is confident things will be very different in 2002. The team has moved to brand new premises in Witney, Oxfordshire, it has substantial backing and also two up and coming drivers in Northern Ireland's Matthew Gilmore and Italian Stefano Fabi, son of former Formula 1 driver, Teo Fabi.

-ta-

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