Aaron Steele will make his British F3 Championship debut at Snetterton next weekend, having inked a deal to join the locally-based Litespeed team for rounds nine and ten of the series.
While Litespeed continues to run a National Class campaign, the Snetterton outing will give Steele a solid introduction to F3 racing in a season that has already seen him drive Team GBR's A1GP entry in the Friday practice sessions at Brands Hatch. The 20-year old FBMW, Palmer Audi and FRenault graduate will line-up alongside Litespeed's Brazilian regular, Victor Corrêa, in an expanded two-car entry this weekend, and admits that he is using the outing as a possible introduction that will see him return on 'home soil', at Brands Hatch for the season finale in September.
The 2008 McLaren Autosport
Award finalist conducted a shakedown test at Snetterton on Tuesday, but the run was disrupted by problems with his seat position and the car's cooling system, which limited him to a total of 29 laps. He hopes to fit another test before his race debut and will travel to Litespeed headquarters for a second seat fitting.
“The team worked through the night to make sure the car was ready for the test and there are so many positives going forward," he admitted, "From the little running I had, I felt confident with the car. It was enjoyable to drive, although I need more time to establish exactly what it can achieve. Racing for Litespeed F3 is a mega opportunity and it's important that I have good races and achieve good results. I'm confident that we'll shortly be right up there.”
Litespeed, which was knocked back in its bid to graduate to F1 under the resurrected Lotus banner, has run a series of young British drivers in F3 over the past year-and-a-half, including Callum McLeod and Jonathan Legris, and team principal Nino Judge sees no reason why Steele can't make an impact on debut.
“Aaron is an extremely talented young driver who has the potential to go all the way to F1," he insisted, "This is not just because of his proven technical understanding and racing ability; he also has the right temperament – he's ambitious but not egotistical, which makes him a marketable driver. He brings his legitimate aspirations to Litespeed F3 and in return we will give him the opportunities and support that such a naturally gifted driver deserves. We're always interested in supporting talented British drivers.”