AMERICAN ACE D'AGOSTINO SIGNS FOR MANOR COMPETITION Manor Competition is delighted to announce it will enter four cars for the 17th and 18th rounds of the Formula Renault UK season at Donington Park Grand Prix Circuit next weekend, 8th/9th ...
AMERICAN ACE D'AGOSTINO SIGNS FOR MANOR COMPETITION
Manor Competition is delighted to announce it will enter four cars for the 17th and 18th rounds of the Formula Renault UK season at Donington Park Grand Prix Circuit next weekend, 8th/9th September, after agreeing an 11th hour deal with American single-seater star Joe D'Agostino.
Marking a welcome return to Britain for the Indianapolis-based racer, the 22-year-old multiple UK Formula Ford race-winner and 2004 Scholarship Class Champion will join Alexander Sims, Kris Loane and Alex Morgan at Manor for the penultimate two rounds of the 2007 championship as he bids to re-establish his glowing reputation.
D'Agostino, who is currently residing just north of Slough while staying in the UK, has a tremendous racing CV and although he has been out of active competition for well over a year, hopes are high he will be able to quickly re-adapt to the Formula Renault UK car he last experienced in late-2005, albeit with a newly upgraded aerodynamic package.
Commenting on his deal with Manor, an ecstatic D'Agostino said: "I'm so happy to be racing with Manor. It's good to be back in England as the place brings back so many good memories for me. Donington is one of my favourite circuits, it's always been good to me so I'm really excited about this opportunity.
"I so wish we could have done something sooner but it's all about budget, when I knew Manor had a spare car I wanted to jump at the chance to return to Formula Renault UK but it's been hard to get the sponsorship together. I'm so grateful to the team for keeping in touch with me and working to make this happen, I'm really excited!"
After a successful three-year tenure in karting, D'Agostino graduated to cars in 2003 and became Formula Dodge Regional Series Champion. He then moved into Formula Ford and the International Formula Ford Championship as a Team USA Scholarship Winner.
His British debut came in 2004 in the UK Formula Ford Championship and after becoming Scholarship Class Champion in his maiden season with nine wins and seven podiums, he went on to finish an excellent third overall in the main series in 2005.
D'Agostino's Formula Renault UK debut came towards the end of the 2005 campaign with four outings, but at that point his career reached a crossroads. An opportunity to return to the USA after being selected for the Newman/Wachs entry in Champ Car Atlantic was too good to let slip but it didn't quite work out.
"The last year and a half has been pretty tough and it certainly knocked my confidence", said D'Agostino, "It's a real shame as it started as such a good opportunity. What they tried to do with Newman/Wachs was great but the execution of it just wasn't there.
"I was so happy when Tony (Shaw) got in touch with me and it meant a huge amount he and the team thought enough of me to want me to be a part of Manor Competition. At Albacete in 2005 when I tested with Manor it was incredible, we had three fantastic days.
"I'd have loved to have raced with Manor in 2006 but the sponsorship was very hard to come by. Right now we're just in for Donington but it'd be fantastic if we can raise the budget to race at Thruxton too, we'll just have to see. If we can have a good run next weekend it certainly won't do us any harm." Manor & D'Agostino delighted to be reunited D'Agostino's return to Formula Renault UK has been made possible thanks to Arai, Mockett.com, the Mayes Group and other personal sponsors and hopes are high he and the team will be able to pick-up where they left off at Albacete at the end of 2005, a test where he set the fastest lap any Manor driver has ever achieved at the Spanish track.
Since that time, team boss Tony Shaw has kept a close eye on D'Agostino's career and is delighted to finally be able to field the American in one of the team's cars over a full race weekend.
"Joe's a fantastic driver, someone we at Manor hold in incredibly high regard and it's fantastic to finally be able to enter a race weekend with him in one of our cars", said a delighted Shaw, "We've been talking to him for a long time and it's great news he has been able to raise the necessary sponsorship to join us for Donington.
"It's such a shame the last couple of years have been so tough for Joe, he was superb in Formula Ford and did a good job on his Renault debut with Team JLR in 2005. He's been out of competitive action for quite a while but a driver of Joe's talent shouldn't take long to get back in the swing of things."
Shaw added: "It's also going to be great for Alexander, Kris and Alex to have an experienced team-mate on-board. Joe's definitely a team player and we're really looking forward to seeing him race in Manor colours at Donington. It's a terrific boost for us into what's unquestionably the biggest weekend of the season."
Not doing things by halves, D'Agostino's racing return will come as part of Formula Renault UK's biggest meeting of the season, the World Series by Renault-supporting 17th and 18th rounds of the campaign. With over 100,000 spectators expected to attend during the course of the weekend, the event promises to be huge.
D'Agostino's first experience of the new-for-2007 Formula Renault UK car, with its upgraded aerodynamics, will come at Donington Park Grand Prix Circuit two days from now, Wednesday, 5th September, during official pre-event testing.
Qualifying will then take place at the Leicestershire venue at approximately 13.15 on Saturday, 8th September, with both races scheduled for Sunday, 9th September -- round 17 timetabled to begin at 09.00 and round 18 set to follow at 16.00.