Jordan King has vowed to make a 'positive impression' during his maiden campaign in Formula 3 with Carlin in 2013 - and as the gifted Warwickshire ace gears up towards his debut in both the FIA Formula 3 European Championship and the abridged British F3 International Series, he has been tipped to be 'a real contender'.

With two prior seasons of car racing under his belt and after snaring the runner-up spoils in both the 2012 Formula Renault Northern European Cup and 2012/13 MRF Challenge in India - as well as winding up fifth in the New Zealand-based Toyota Racing Series twelve months ago - King felt the time was ripe to take the next step. The easy choice was which level to pick - the considerably harder choice, which team.

Torn between two established, title-winning F3 powerhouses, the highly-rated Stoneleigh-based speed demon reflected that it was probably the toughest decision of his fledgling single-seater career to-date, and one that - after testing for both outfits towards the end of last year - he spent several weeks carefully mulling over.

"It didn't come down to any one particular factor, to be truthful, and either way, it wouldn't have been like I was making a bad move," King explained. "Both teams are very experienced and have consistently done an excellent job - and I really enjoyed the time I spent with them both.

"Carlin has a superb track record - comfortably the best of any team in recent British F3 history. Even with the debut of a new car last season, they got on top of it in no time at all and went on to clinch the championship - for the fifth year in a row - which demonstrates real expertise and strength-in-depth.

"They're a fantastic bunch of guys, and what ultimately swung it in their favour is that Carlin offers more possibilities later down the line, with the potential to graduate with the team into GP2, GP3 or the World Series by Renault if you make a positive impression."

That, indeed, is precisely what the 18-year-old McLaren Autosport Award finalist, British Racing Drivers' Club (BRDC) Rising Star and MSA Academy member intends to do over the coming months. Although only limited testing is permitted ahead of the European F3 curtain-raiser around legendary Italian Grand Prix venue Monza on the penultimate weekend in March, King has visited the majority of the circuits on the calendar before and is 'quietly confident' about his prospects.

"Physically, it isn't too much of a step-up, to be honest, and the more I have driven the F3 car, the easier it has felt," affirmed the Hugo Boss brand ambassador, proving that he is settling seamlessly into his new surroundings. "There isn't a great deal more power, although the engine is more responsive than in the Formula Renault. It's mainly about getting used to the different G-Forces and the fact that there is more downforce. Overall, it just feels like a natural progression.

"I'm not going to be the title favourite by any stretch of the imagination, but I'll be disappointed if I'm not up there competing towards the front of the field. I think that's a reasonable target."

Those objectives are shared by Trevor Carlin, founder and team principal of the Surrey-based operation that bears his name and for which reigning triple F1 World Champion Sebastian Vettel, no less, raced in the World Series by Renault in 2006 and 2007. Carlin fully expects his newest prot?g? to make swift progress and turn more than a few heads this year aboard his Volkswagen-powered Dallara chassis.

"We've been watching Jordan's career with interest for a while now," he revealed, "and he's clearly a very promising British talent. F3 is the perfect environment for a young driver to learn the basics of developing a car and the effect of aerodynamics.

"Jordan has shown all the signs that he is more than ready for this step in his career, and despite the challenge that lies ahead as a rookie, I anticipate him being a real contender in the FIA Formula 3 European Championship. I look forward to seeing what surprises he can deliver."