SWR Snaps Up Highly-Rated Viljoen Lars Viljoen will make the leap from Formula BMW test driver to Formula BMW UK Championship racer with Team SWR in 2005. The 19-year-old British driver gained substantial Formula BMW mileage during the 2004 ...
SWR Snaps Up Highly-Rated Viljoen
Lars Viljoen will make the leap from Formula BMW test driver to Formula BMW UK Championship racer with Team SWR in 2005.
The 19-year-old British driver gained substantial Formula BMW mileage during the 2004 season in his capacity as Panther Motorsport's official test driver. Viljoen had wisely chosen to develop his skills and learn the Formula BMW machine in a testing role after a sponsorship shortfall precluded his planned graduation to the full championship. He also gained valuable technical knowledge by working with the team at race weekends. Now he will have the chance to put what he has learnt into practice in a racing situation with Team SWR-Pioneer.
"The fact that Lars already has plenty of experience of the Formula BMW chassis will be a great advantage this season," said SWR Team Principal Trevor Powell. "But he hasn't been signed just because he knows the car -- we tested alongside Lars several times during the winter and by our reckoning he was extremely fast. Once we realised he was available and interested in driving for us we concluded a deal very quickly.
"A year spent on the outside looking in will make him even more determined to make an impression when he finally gets the chance to race in the championship with us this season."
Viljoen arrives in Formula BMW via several successful seasons of karting, some Formula Ford 1600 testing and Silverstone Racing School's 2003 winter series, taking two victories in the latter. He was also invited to drive the medical car in the Brands Hatch rounds of the British Superbike Championship last season.
Team SWR-Pioneer remains in negotiation with several experienced drivers interested in joining Viljoen and Matt Harris in its 2005 Formula BMW UK line-up. Josh Fisher and Nick Jones have already been confirmed for the team's parallel assault on the National Class of British Formula Three, with discussions ongoing regarding the third and final seat in the F3 programme.