GP2 » 24 February 2010
Monras joins GP3 ranks, Oakes close to deal.
Former karting champions Miki Monras and Oliver Oakes look set to lock horns in the inaugural GP3 Series.
Former international karting star Miki Monras is among the latest drivers to have struck deals to contest the inaugural GP3 Series, while counterpart Oliver Oakes is believed to be edging towards an agreement to join him.
The Mark Webber/Christian Horner-overseen MW Arden team has snapped up 2006 European karting champion and Formula Renault Eurocup frontrunner Monras, while Briton Oakes, who won the world kart title in 2005, is still talking to several teams about a possible ride this season.
Talented Spanish 18-year old Monras steps up into GP3 after a successful 2009 campaign in both the Formula Renault Eurocup and Formula Renault WEC, where he finished fifth and fourth overall respectively.
"Everyone at MW Arden is delighted to have Miki on our GP3 programme," MW Arden team manager Julian Rouse commented, "He is a young very talented driver who competed right at the front of a very competitive European championship in 2009 and has also shown great consistency in his race results. We are very confident he has the ability to be competing right at the front straight away in GP3."
Monras, meanwhile, says he is delighted to have landed with a team with a track record of success, especially heading into an all-new series.
"I am really happy to be able to be a member of MW Arden," he noted, "It will be a season were all teams start from zero and I have plenty of confidence in MW Arden to be really competitive and fight for the leading places in GP3. The experience of MW Arden will give me a chance to demonstrate our potential as a team, and I am really looking forward to test the new GP3 car."
Oakes, too, has set his sights on contesting the GP3 Series this season, and has been targeted by several teams ahead of the maiden campaign. Accelerate Driver Development, which manages the 22-year old among others, is currently negotiating with teams on his behalf as he looks to bounce back from a part-season in British F3. Prior to that, he won races in Formula BMW and became a frontrunner in Formula Renault, as well as taking a sensational pole position in an abbreviated F3 campaign in 2008.
After a break from the cockpit, Oakes returned to the wheel of an F3 car this winter, setting very quick testing times with former championship-winning team Hitech Racing, and ADD is confident that he can be a contender in the F1 feeder series.
“It's a well-known fact in motorsport that Oliver Oakes is one of Britain's fastest up-and-coming young drivers," managing director Graeme Glew said, "He has had a lot of bad luck over the past couple of seasons, but his recent F3 test at Rockingham demonstrated that he can jump into any race car and instantly be quick. He is ADD's most senior young driver at 22, and we believe that GP3 will accelerate his career towards his ultimate goal of F1.”
The GP3 Series gets underway in earnest at the Circuit de Catalunya in early May, where it supports the Spanish Grand Prix, and ADD hopes to announce the identity of Oakes's team in the coming weeks, enabling him to undertake a full testing programme in the turbocharged Renault-engined machine.
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