BRITISH OPEN WHEEL ACE SIGNS WITH TEAM BRM
South Australia's Team BRM has today confirmed that British Formula 3 National Class race winner Ben Clucas has signed with the team to compete in the 2006 Kumho Tyres Australian Formula 3 Championship for the CAMS Gold Star.
The British driver will drive a John Deere / Gawler Farm Machinery supported Dallara F304-speiss for the team this season and will be looking to give his career a further boost by using the Australian series' as a launching pad for a return to international competition.
Clucas, 21, comes to the team after a partial season in the ultra competitive British Formula 3 National Class series' in 2005 that saw him stand on the podium five times and take one race win in a short eight-race campaign.
Prior to that Clucas was part of the Toyota Young Driver Development program in Europe, a finalist in the McLaren Autosport driver of the year awards and also raced in Italian Formula Renault with the Prema Powerteam.
Clusas' prior results include winning the Avon Junior Formula Ford Championship in 2002 -- a year that included a front row start in the prestigious Formula Ford festival.
He is also a multiple British Karting champion, notable highlights including winning all five karting championships he contested in 1999.
Team BRM owner Bronte Rundle said that signing the rising international star was a definite coup for the Adelaide Based, two-time championship winning team.
"We are obviously very pleased to have been able to sign Ben Clucas to drive for us this season," Rundle said.
"He comes to us highly credentialed and with a proven record of being one of the quickest drivers wherever he has raced. I'm confident that he is going to be highly competitive this season and should give Team BRM a very strong chance of regaining the Kumho Tyres Australian Formula 3 Championship in 2006.
"I'm looking forward to having Ben drive for us this season." He said.
Clucas will renew a relationship with Team BRM's head engineer Marcus Koch this season, the pair having successfully worked together in the British Formula Renault Winter Cup and British Formula Ford.
"It's going to be great to renew acquaintances with Ben in Australia this season," said Koch, who this year heads up the team's engineering efforts.
"When I worked with Ben he was definitely the fastest driver in the field and I'm confident that he is going to be very competitive this season.
"He's a fantastic guy, a good driver and I think he'll be great to have here." He said.
Car owner James Rosenberg said he was looking forward to seeing Clucas compare to the Australian Formula 3 field.
"I'm very keen to see how Ben compares against the quality Australian Formula 3 Fields. This is an opportunity to put a talented British driver into the car and see how he goes.
"We looked at putting an Australian in the seat, which was one of my goals for this season, but that wasn't able to transpire. In the end the opportunity to put Clucas in the car was too good to pass up."
Team BRM will make further announcements regarding their driver line up for the 2006 racing season in coming weeks, however the team still has an available seat in their third F304 Dallara and is continuing efforts to find a driver for the entry this season.