Carlo van Dam has revealed that his recently-confirmed deal to contest the F3 Euroseries with the new Kolles & Heinz Union team provided a lifeline after his hopes of progressing up the Japanese motorsport ladder faded.
The 22-year old Dutchman had hoped to parlay his convincing All-Japan F3 title into something bigger, either in Formula Nippon or the national GT series, but found that the impending economic downturn meant that doors closed to him.
The Japanese F3 title was van Dam's second in the category, after he won the 2007 German crown, but he is not concerned about spending another year at F3 level, particularly following Volkswagen's decision to add the Kolles & Heinz Union team to its roster.
“I look forward to contributing to the success of this new team and working with Volkswagen,” van Dam said, “I had a fantastic season in Japan in 2008 and, last autumn, I had several offers from teams in Formula Nippon and the Japanese GT championship. Then Japanese motor racing was hit hard by the financial crisis, so I very much welcomed the offer from Kolles & Heinz Union and Volkswagen. As a driver, to be asked to help achieve the ambitions of a works supported team is very rewarding and,
of course, it represents a great challenge.”
The new Luxembourg-based team is headed by Werner Heinz, who has been involved in motor racing for many years and currently manages F1 driver Nick Heidfeld and Le Mans legend Tom Kristensen, among others. Colin Kolles also has F1 involvement on his CV, having worked with several teams in recent years, and also runs privateer Audis in the DTM and, for 2009, the Le Mans Series.
“We are happy because we have been able to attract such a good and experienced driver for our team," Heinz added, "Together, we want to prove that we can achieve our targets.”
A second driver to partner van Dam will be announced in due course, with the opening round of the Euroseries not scheduled until mid-May.