Formula 3 Australian Drivers Championship leader Joey Foster has challenged the current crop of Australian Formula Ford drivers to make the step up to challenge him at the next level of single-seater competition.

The Briton leads this years' Gold Star points' race and is hoping to continue the trend of former Formula 3 champions to move on to bigger things, such as former F3 Champion Michael Caruso - who took his maiden V8 Supercar victory in Darwin.

Foster contested the weekends' round of the Australian Formula Ford Championship with Team BRM in a one-off return to the cars in which he forged his single seat career in the United Kingdom, having won the Formula Ford Festival in 2003 prior to his successful move to Formula 3.

Despite not having driven a Formula Ford racer competitively for some time, Foster was quickly on the pace at the weekend - qualifying less than half a second from pole position. With more laps Foster believed he could have challenged runaway series leader Nick Percat, a man who scored an F3 podium last season in a one-off drive.

Now, having raced against this years' field, Foster has thrown the gauntlet down to the youth in Formula Ford to take him on in the Formula 3 Australian Drivers Championship as the next step in their careers.

"I'd love to take them on in an F3 car for a round or two this year before they do the full championship in 2010," Foster challenged. "Given I hadn't raced a Formula Ford for so long and didn't know the track It wasn't a bad weekend - now I'd like them to come and have a run against me on my turf to see what they are capable of!

"Formula Ford is a great category and was a big part of the development of my career, but there is also no doubt in my mind that Formula 3 is the next step if a driver wants to go to Europe and race, or wants to go to V8 Supercars.

"Having raced in both categories in Australia this year people would be surprised at how affordable Australian Formula 3 is relative to both Formula Ford, and especially compared to racing in Europe. That's why I'm here this year."

Foster added that Caruso's victory in the latest round of the V8 Supercar Championship had given him extra motivation to succeed, with a move into tin-top racing a possibility for the future.

"Now I have seen someone like Michael Caruso go on to win a race in V8 Supercars first hand is further proof of how worthwhile racing in Formula 3 really is," he said. "The fact you can do it very cost effectively here is a plus.

"If any of the drivers wants to go and race professionally in Europe, America or in V8s, they should be in Australian F3 after racing Formula Ford. That's why I'm here."



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