Race driver Billy Asaro of Unionville, Ontario, has taken a big step forward in his quest to compete at motorsport's top level. This year, he will join Sweeney Racing to compete in the British Formula 3 series, a prime feeder for the Formula One...
Race driver Billy Asaro of Unionville, Ontario, has taken a big step forward in his quest to compete at motorsport's top level. This year, he will join Sweeney Racing to compete in the British Formula 3 series, a prime feeder for the Formula One World Championship that has seen drivers like Jackie Stewart, Ayrton Senna, Mika Hakkinen, David Coulthard, Jenson Button and last year's champion, Takumo Sato, move up to the premier series.
"This is really exciting for me," said the twenty-year-old Canadian who started racing karts when he was ten. "The British Formula 3 series has a fantastic reputation for the talent it draws and drivers show up from all over the world. When you're in that kind of environment, it pushes you to be better. You have to work harder, focus harder. This is going to be very challenging, but it will make me a better racing driver and I'm confident I will do well with Sweeney Racing."
Sweeney Racing, based in Norfolk, England, is new to the Formula Three arena, but by no means short of experienced staff and quality equipment. The team took over Jaguar's operation after the prestigious marquee opted out of the series at the end of the 2001 season. Sweeney Racing maintains good ties with the Jaguar racing outfit and Niki Lauda, a two-time world champion and head of Jaguar Racing, has hinted at some lapping in one of their Formula One cars at the end of the season if the Formula Three campaign goes well. To oversee the cars comprised of Dallara chassis and Mugen Honda engines, team principal John Sweeney hired engineer Roly Vincini who carries impressive credentials having worked with several Formula One stars, including triple world champions Senna and Nelson Piquet.
Sweeney is delighted to have snapped up one of North America's brightest rising stars, believing his team and the series itself will benefit. "Billy will be a huge asset to the team as well as the championship," he said. "There aren't that many North American drivers that come across to Britain and my hope is that Billy will show that it is a great route to take for aspiring F1 and CART drivers."
Asaro, heads to England following a convincing year in the US Formula 2000 series. Last year, with Key Motorsport, he won three times and scored seven top-three finishes in the thirteen-race series, winning the Oval Crown and finishing second in the National Championship. The lead up to last year's successes include: a year of US Formula 2000 supported by Forsythe Racing; three wins in eight races in the 1999 Canadian Formula Ford Championship; a season at French racing school La Filiere in 1998; and bowing out of karting in 1997 as a Canadian Grand National Champion.
"There's a lot of people I have to thank right now," said Asaro. "Sweeney Racing, of course, for this opportunity and Belleville Rodair for their continued support. My friends and family have always played a big role and have been behind me since I was a little kid driving a go-kart. It's amazing to think of how far I've come."
On Sunday, Asaro will fly to England where he and the team will prepare for the first of thirteen double race events. The season opens at Brands Hatch, March 29 to April 1.