Aaron Steele will contest more than just the originally planned season finale with Litespeed F3, inking a deal for at least two additional events in the wake of his debut podium at Snetterton last weekend.
After a difficult build-up to the weekend, the 20-year-old excelled by taking third and fourth in the National Class of the two British F3 series races for the locally-based Litespeed team. In the opening round, he passed several cars from 20th on the overall grid, and ran as high as third in class during the opening laps. On the pace from the off, he overcame a gearbox problem - that made it difficult to change between third and fourth gears later in the race - and claimed fourth in the category for older cars, claiming the first ten points of his 2009 campaign.
Race two capped a brilliant weekend as, starting from 19th, Steele once again made his way up to third in class and, this time, retained the position until the chequered flag, reeling off a string of consistent lap times to seal a champagne-soaked podium appearance.
"It was certainly hard work, and I was pushing like crazy every single lap!" he reported, "I studied the data from race one carefully and was able to make good progress in race two.
"Racing for Litespeed this weekend has been fantastic. Everyone has been willing me to do well and the whole team have put their heart and soul into squeezing the best from the car. It's great to have that level of commitment from the guys. I didn't set myself any targets coming into Snetterton because I wasn't sure exactly what to expect but, now that I know my way around the car, I'll be aiming for two podiums next time out."
'Next time out' had been slated as the season finale on his local track at Brands Hatch, but Steele's performance at Snetterton has led to an opportunity to race in at least two more events, starting with rounds eleven and twelve at Donington Park later this month.
"Aaron has had a great first weekend," team principal Nino Judge confirmed, "Snetterton was meant to be an extended test for him, so to come away with a podium is an outstanding result. He made progress every session and seemed more and more comfortable in his 'new office' as the weekend went on. He didn't come off the track once - a great achievement for a rookie driver - and, even when he had a couple of a mechanical problems, he didn't get flustered.
"What impressed me most was his determination. He really believes that he belongs in the upper echelons of motorsport. Aaron has proved himself as a good team player and he will be racing for us at least two more times this season."
Steele will first turn his attention to an official Cooper Tires British F3 Championship test with Litespeed on the Brands Hatch GP circuit today [7 July], which will provide valuable track time for both his next outing at Donington Park in two weeks' time and the season finale on the same circuit at Brands Hatch in September.