F3 Euroseries rookie Martin Plowman has decided to follow in the footsteps of fellow Britons Dario Franchitti, Dan Wheldon, Jay Howard and Alex Lloyd by swapping Europe for America in a bid to raise his racing profile.

Former Indy Pro Series champion Panther Racing announced that it had reached an agreement with the current Volkswagen F3 Euroseries driver, who will decamp tgo the USA to pilot one of its Indy Lights entries in the 2009 season.

Panther is coming off a successful third season back in the IndyCar feeder series, collecting four victories in the hands of another Briton, former Asian F3 champion Dillon Battistini, including the prestigious Freedom 100 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

"We're extremely proud of the success our Indy Lights programme has enjoyed over the past several seasons," team co-owner John Barnes said, "We certainly feel like Martin is a tremendous addition to our programme and we're excited to see him in a Panther car very soon. He's a young driver with a lot of upside and the team is looking forward to helping him develop into a great open-wheel competitor."

Panther also has something of a tradition of running British drivers, having taken one of the first to cross the Atlantic, Mark Taylor, to the 2003 IPS title. IndyCar and Indy 500 champion Dan Wheldon also began his US career with the team, and returns to the fold in 2009.

"It's a real honour and a fantastic opportunity to join the Panther Racing team," Plowman said, "Moving up to the Firestone Indy Lights series will be a big step for me on many levels, as I will have to face driving on an oval for the very first time. Everything will be new to me, from the car to all of the circuits and even the culture and way of life, as I will be moving to live in Indianapolis shortly.

The 20-year old Briton spent the 2008 season racing in the F3 Euroseries, havingb graduated from a successful karting career via the Formula Renault Eurocup.

"It's a really exciting time," Plowman continued, "I'm looking forward to learning something new every day. After meeting the Panther Racing crew, I was really impressed by the whole team's passion for motorsport and to succeed, so I can't wait to be a part of that.

"However, I would also like to take the opportunity to thank Volkswagen for their support in Europe. I have been proud to wear the VW badge and hope I can continue the relationship in the US."

Plowman was a key contributor to Volkswagen's F3 programme, and Volkswagen motorsport director, Kris Nissen didn't rule out future involvement with Plowman as his career in America nears its debut.

"I am sorry to see Martin leave us because I rate him very highly," Nissen said, "However, I am also very excited for Martin as I know he has a great opportunity to progress his career in the United States.

"I will be watching carefully and, if he gets the results that we all know he is capable of, I would hope that we will be working together again in the future."

Panther currently ranks second all-time in Indy Lights and Pro Series victories, with 13 wins in 58 starts putting it only behind rival Sam Schmidt Motorsports.

Having run Battistini and Brent Sherman for much of 2008, and Bobby Wilson when Battistini stepped down, Panther expects to have a multi-car line-up for the 2009 Indy Lights season.


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