Top Formula Renault Eurocup and Formula 3 Euroseries team SG Formula have announced they are to graduate to the World Series by Renault category from the Monaco round onwards.
The French outfit have submitted entries to the series on multiple occasions, but have only now been able to secure an available slot on the grid following the withdrawal of KTR, from whom the team have acquired the cars and equipment.
Pencilled in to make their debut at the Monaco Formula 1 support event, SG Formula have entered into a partnership with tour operators KMP, one that will see protégé Anton Nebylitskiy jump from the Comtec Racing team he began the year with and see out the season with SG.
In addition, Jules Bianchi, a French Formula Renault winner with SG, has been tapped for the Monaco round, although clashes with his commitments in the Formula 3 Euroseries rule him out for a longer spell.
“Our entry on the Formula Renault 3.5 Series scene is borne out of the close ties we have forged with the KMP Group, who are partnering with us on this venture,” said team manager Stéphane Guérin. “Formula Renault 2.0 remains at the core of what we do, and Formula 3 Euro Series racing is the tops both in sporting and engineering terms, but being able to offer 3.5 drives to our trainee drivers will definitely be a big plus for us.
“The category has a respectable following. The races take place on today's finest venues during World Series by Renault meetings, which are renowned for the quality of their organisation. 3.5 cars are very powerful – from the technical standpoint they are more like GP2 Series cars.
“We have been working with Anton Nebylitskiy since the close of the 2007 season and I'm delighted that we are continuing. The dea is to recruit drivers to race alongside him who are both quick and experienced, because Anton is still a rookie and needs a point of reference.
“For Monaco it will be Jules Bianchi. He joined us two years ago and rounded off his debut season by donning the French Champion's crown in FR2.0. The FR3.5 season is already under way, so we are not expecting any miracles on the results front. Our aim is to gain experience in the category and be ready for 2010. We are in this for the long haul.”
SG Formula have established plenty of success at Formula Renault 2.0 level, finishing second in the 2008 driver standings with Daniel Ricciardo, while they also scored podiums during their first F3 Euroseries season last year.