HYLKEMA TO MAKE GP3 SERIES TEST DEBUT AT ESTORIL
Formula Renault UK racer Thomas Hylkema will make his test debut in a GP3 Series car next month at Estoril in Portugal with John Booth's Manor Racing team.
The Club Car, TORO and Geothex-backed driver, who will conclude his third season in the Formula Renault UK Championship with the affiliated Manor Competition squad a fortnight from now, aims to step-up to GP3 in 2011 so can't wait for his first experience of the Renault-engined Dallara.
"GP3 is probably our main option for next year so I'm really looking forward to the test, it's going to be a great experience", said the 22-year-old from Delft in The Netherlands, "We're definitely moving on from Formula Renault and GP3 is the best option. It's obviously on the Formula One support package which is great for sponsors."
Thomas will spend three days at Estoril's former Grand Prix track on 13th,14th and 15th October, and will then travel to Jerez in Spain for three further days of running the following week, 20th, 21st and 22nd October -- again with Manor Racing.
Inaugurated this year as a natural feeder category to sister championship GP2 and, of course, the FIA Formula One World Championship, GP3 has proven a huge success in its first season with some of the globe's most respected single-seater racing teams fielding multi-car entries.
Few of those squads have more history and heritage than Manor Racing, previously known as Manor Motorsport. Established by ex-racer John Booth in 1990, the team originally competed in Formula Ford and Formula Renault before progressing into the ranks of Formula 3. At all levels the team has enjoyed huge success.
The biggest development for the team came in 2009 when it was revealed Booth and his newly formed Manor Grand Prix operation had been granted an entry onto the F1 grid. Renamed Virgin Racing in deference to the team's title sponsor, the squad has a direct link with Manor Racing and offers a prize F1 test to Manor's most successful GP3 racer each season.
"Running with Manor for my GP3 test debut is great", added Thomas, "I've been very happy with the Manor Formula Renault team over the last two years and I've learned a lot. I really believe in the way Manor go racing and the mentality of the GP3 team is the same as the Formula Renault one. I visited the team at Spa a few weeks ago and immediately felt at home, I can't wait for the test."
Thomas' career began in karting in 2004 and after a couple of years he made the step-up to cars in the Benelux Racing League where he took his first victory at the Nurburgring in Germany. In 2007 he moved into Formula BMW in the German national championship and just a year later he graduated into the Formula Renault UK Championship where he has competed for the last three seasons.