Rising talent Neil McFadyen, one of the most exciting new prospects in Australian motorsport, has been signed to drive with WPS Racing in this year's Sandown and Bathurst endurance events. McFadyen joins drivers David Besnard, Malaysian Alex ...
Rising talent Neil McFadyen, one of the most exciting new prospects in Australian motorsport, has been signed to drive with WPS Racing in this year's Sandown and Bathurst endurance events.
McFadyen joins drivers David Besnard, Malaysian Alex Yoong and Kiwi John McIntyre in one of the two WPS Racing Ford Falcons to compete in the ninth and tenth rounds of the V8 Supercar Championship Series.
Team owner Craig Gore, who is also the chairman of team sponsor Wright Patton Shakespeare Financial Group, said he was yet to finalise the driver combinations for the two events.
"We have a great mix of youth and experience in our teams and that augurs well for our chances in the upcoming endurance events," said Gore.
"It is great to welcome Neil into the team as he has shown great promise in both karting and Formula Ford, the proving grounds of Australian motorsport champions of the future."
McFadyen fills the position created by last week's mid-season departure of driver Mark Noske.
"I'm absolutely ecstatic with the opportunity," said McFadyen.
"This gives me a guaranteed seat in two of the biggest races of the year so it's an offer too good to refuse.
"I had the prospect of a drive with another team. When the WPS Racing option became available the other team supported me in the interests of forwarding my career. I thank them for their support."
The deal to put McFadyen behind the wheel for the endurance events also has an added sweetener, with WPS Racing taking an option to extend his contract into the 2005 season.
The team's other new signing, ex-Formula One driver Alex Yoong, has the same option in his agreement.
"The motivation for the option agreements is to give us a little time to assess the most appropriate driver to join David Besnard in the 2005 season," said Gore.
"Both Alex and Neil are great talents and we wanted to give each of them every opportunity to prove themselves."
While Yoong's background includes a stint across two seasons with the powerful Minardi F1 team, McFadyen's background is in carting and the Formula Ford category.
He was the first person to win all three international classes in Australian carting, taking the Junior Intercontinental A title in 1998, the Senior Intercontinental A title in 1999 and the Formula A title in 2000.
His potential was again confirmed in 2002 when he competed in the Formula Ford national championships and came fourth in an older-spec car crewed by himself and his father.
McFadyen went on to win the 2003 Australian Formula Ford Championship.
In 2004 he had six wins and two seconds from eight starts in winning the Australian Drivers Championship in Formula 4000.
He also made his debut in the V8 Supercar Championship Series when he secured a one-off drive in the Queensland 300 at Ipswich last month.
"I was coming 14th with 6 laps but I made a few mistakes and ended up 18th," said McFadyen.
"I was pretty happy with my pace but I could have done better. Anyway, I'll be better for the experience."
McFadyen has relocated from Sydney to the Gold Coast to familiarise himself with WPS Racing ahead of the Betta Electrical Sandown 500 on September 10-12.
He will then travel to the second of the endurance events, the Bob Jane T-Marts 1000 at Bathurst's Mount Panorama, on October 7-10.