JAPANESE DRIVER SHO HANAWA CONFIRMED AT TEAM GODDARD FOR 2009 F3 AUSTRALIAN DRIVERS CHAMPIONSHIP AFTER A BRITISH DRIVER won in 2008, the Formula 3 Australian Drivers Championship is assured a continuing international presence into 2009 following...
JAPANESE DRIVER SHO HANAWA CONFIRMED AT TEAM GODDARD FOR 2009 F3 AUSTRALIAN DRIVERS CHAMPIONSHIP
AFTER A BRITISH DRIVER won in 2008, the Formula 3 Australian Drivers Championship is assured a continuing international presence into 2009 following conformation today that Team Goddard has signed Japanese driver Sho Hanawa for a full campaign on the Gold Star.
20-year-old Hanawa will drive a Dallara F307 Mercedes entry for the former Asian F3 championship winning outfit that has committed to the full Australian championship this year.
Yokohama-based Hanawa tested with Team Goddard at Mallala Raceway near Adelaide in January and set times favourable to the benchmark set in qualifying last year. He has also tested at the teams' home base of Sepang, in Malaysia, lapping within Asian F3 record pace.
Hanawa has completed three partial seasons of Formula Renault in the United Kingdom, and has a competitive Karting background prior to that.
He becomes the first Japanese driver to race in the Formula 3 Australian Drivers Championship, continuing the strong international representation witnessed in recent years following participation from the likes of James Winslow, Charlie Hollings and Ben Clucas (Britain) and Italian ace Marco Mapelli - not to mention current 2009 TanderSport driver Ben Crighton, a New Zealander.
Team Goddard will test further at Mallala ahead of the first round, to be held at the Clipsal 500 Adelaide between March 19 - 22. The team has indicated a desire to run a multi-car program this year and are currently working on adding a teammate for Hanawa this season.
Team Goddard has won the Asian F3 Championship on multiple occasions and raced in Australia two seasons ago at the non-championship F3 races at the Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne, ensuring that they are not without local experience ahead of this years' campaign.
"We know it is going to be challenge to win in Australia because it is a very hard fought championship but we are confident we will be competitive this season with Sho behind the wheel" said Team boss, Mark Goddard.
"Ideally we would like to run two drivers and we hope that we can sign up a team mate for Sho prior to the first event."
Team Goddard has entered into an agreement with Adelaide-based Team BRM, who will house the teams' Australian operations and provide transport and pit facilities this season. Team Goddard crew, including Team Owner Mark Goddard and experienced engineer Roberto Bautista, will fly in for each round of the championship to prepare and run the car as an independent Team Goddard entry.
The formula 3 Australian Drives championship begins at the Clipsal 500 Adelaide between March 19 - 22.