Rowland and Dennis promoted from karts to cars
The Racing Steps Foundation has finalised its driver line-up for 2011 with the recruitment of multiple kart champions Oliver Rowland and Jake Dennis to its elite single-seater squad.
Rowland (18), winner of the 2010 CIK-FIA Super KF World Cup, will graduate to Formula Renault UK with long-term RSF partner Fortec Motorsport.
Dennis (15), the 2010 CIK-FIA U18 Karting World Champion, moves up to the new InterSteps Championship. He also will race with Fortec.
The pair joins fellow RSF-backed Brits James Calado and Jack Harvey.
Calado (21), the 2010 British F3 International Vice-Champion, is stepping up to GP3 with the championship-winning Lotus ART Grand Prix squad.
Harvey (17), runner-up in the 2010 Formula BMW Europe Championship, is switching to the British F3 International series with the crack Carlin team where he follows in the tracks of Calado and Oliver Turvey, the RSF's first recruit back in 2007.
New signing Rowland and Dennis - who has been funded by the RSF in karting over the last three years - will be mentored throughout their respective transition years by their RSF elders.
The old RSF hands have considerable experience of both Formula Renault and the Formula BMW Mygale FB02 car which will be used in the soon to be launched one-make InterSteps series.
Rowland won the RSF-backed Formula Renault seat after an extensive evaluation and test process that included a four-driver shootout at Rockingham and the six-race winter series in which he finished a creditable seventh.
The promotion of Dennis from karts to cars has been made possible by the imminent start-up of the RSF-supported InterSteps Championship.
InterSteps has authorisation from the Motor Sports Association, the governing body of UK motorsport, to run 15 years-old drivers in the national championship provided they turn 16 during the course of the season in which they race.
The dispensation allows Dennis to make the transition from karts to cars a year earlier than would have been possible previously.
The 2011 line-up excludes senior driver Turvey whose three-year career development programme with the Foundation came to an end at the close of the 2010 GP2 championship in Abu Dhabi.
Turvey - who over the course of his rookie season in GP2 claimed four podium finishes, one pole position and one fastest lap to clinch sixth place in the championship - stays on at the Foundation in an advisory and mentoring role.
During his time with the RSF the Penrith-based driver raced in the British F3 International and World Series by Renault FR3.5 Championships as well as GP2.
"The promotion of Oliver Rowland and Jake Dennis from karts to cars completes our single-seater line-up for 2011," said RSF founder Graham Sharp.
"All the drivers are accomplished race winners and have been placed with outstanding teams to give them the best possible opportunity to show what they're capable of.
"Since the inception of the Foundation in late 2007 we've enjoyed remarkable success in identifying and supporting talented but under-funded British drivers who would undoubtedly have fallen by the wayside without our help.
"All have shown themselves to be to be worthy of the investment made in them, demonstrating that they have the talent and dedication to make it into the top echelons of motorsport.
"Oliver Turvey, our first signing back in 2007, leads the way in that respect. He's now on the cusp of becoming a professional racing driver which is what we set out to achieve. So from our point of view it's now a case of 'mission accomplished'.
"To have played a part in steering him to the doorstep of F1 has been a huge privilege. We wish him every success in the future."