Reigning Protyre Formula Renault champion entrant MGR Motorsport has today, Wednesday, 5th February, officially confirmed a capacity four car line-up for the 2014 season – headed by Brazilian star-in-the-making Pietro Fittipaldi.
Returning for a second year in the hugely competitive category, the grandson of double Formula One World Champion Emerson Fittipaldi switches to Bardon-based MGR for his sophomore season.
Joining the 17-year-old South American will be fellow second year competitor Matteo Ferrer (Colchester), who debuted with MGR in Protyre Formula Renault in 2013, and two series newcomers – Colin Noble Jnr (Penicuik, Midlothian), the reigning Radical SR1 Cup Champion, and promising 16-year-old Indian Tarun Reddy.
Unlike his first season in the UK last year, Fittipaldi will focus his racing commitments exclusively on Protyre Formula Renault in 2014 but will factor a European testing schedule in Formula Renault into his plans.
Arriving in Britain last year with the distinction of having won his first car racing title, the NASCAR Limited Late Model Series, at the tender age of 15, Fittipaldi improved markedly to conclude the Protyre Formula Renault season eighth in the championship with a best finish of fifth place. He also became a race winner in his dovetailed BRDC Formula 4 programme.
Ferrer, who is currently gaining extra experience in the New Zealand-based Toyota Racing Series, had a mixed season in Protyre Formula Renault last year but showed flashes of great pace and posted a best finish of fourth position at Rockingham – only his second year of racing at any level.
The 18-year-old Italian also secured two other top six results along the way but his championship placing was compromised after having to miss the three Thruxton races mid-season, following an accident in qualifying. Nonetheless, he ended the campaign little more than 30 points shy of the overall top six and went on to become a podium finisher in the BRDC Formula 4 Winter Series.
“I don’t think anyone quite appreciated how big a learning curve Pietro had last year”, said MGR team principal Mark Godwin, “We saw some real flashes of talent from him and we’re delighted he’s become part of the team for Protyre Formula Renault this year. He has all the right attributes to go a very long way in this sport, he has the ability and has a very good chance of winning races this year.
“Matteo improved massively as the season went on last year, he’ll definitely be a front-runner and he’s going to have the experience from the TRS in New Zealand to draw on as well. He’s been up against some tough drivers out there but he’s shown good pace, just like he did in the Winter Series in F4 last November – getting a podium there was a big boost.”
Protyre Formula Renault rookie Noble Jnr, who has purchased the FR 2.0 which was taken to the 2013 title by McLaren Autosport BRDC Award finalist Chris Middlehurst, arrives in the championship for his maiden season of single-seater action off the back of winning the inaugural Radical SR1 Cup.
Proving to be the dominant force, the son of 2012 Radical UK Cup Champion Colin Noble Snr was a revelation and won seven out of eight races to seal the title in his first season more than 50 points clear of his nearest challenger.
Reddy, who is managed by British Formula 3 International Series race winner Rupert Svendsen-Cook, will make his UK racing debut in Protyre Formula Renault having tested with MGR Motorsport at the end of last year.
The teenager, formerly part of the Sahara Force India F1 Team Academy, progressed from karting into cars at the tender age of 15 in his native India in the MRF 1600 series. Underlining his promise, Reddy became the youngest ever winner of a race in the category in only his third outing.
“Tarun has shown well in the testing he’s done with us, it looks like he could be one to watch and he’s got Rupert [Svendsen-Cook] behind him looking after his career”, said Godwin, “Rupert knows the Renault is the best car for Tarun to learn in and this is where he needs to be.
“We haven’t done any testing with Colin yet, but he’s got a championship-winning package under him and he did a fantastic job in the Radicals last year. I’m sure he’ll be very competitive from the off and we’ll have four strong drivers. The aim is to try and emulate what we did last season!”
The opening three rounds of the 2014 Protyre Formula Renault Championship will take place on 5th/6th April at Rockingham International Super Sportscar Circuit in Northamptonshire.
Protyre Formula Renault Championship