Sam Bird will switch from the British F3 Championship to the Formula 3 Euro Series in 2008 following news that he has signed a deal with Manor Motorsport.

The 20-year-old, who impressed during his debut season in Formula 3 this year, winning two races and finishing fourth overall in the standings, is said to be 'absolutely thrilled' with the deal.

"When I sat down with my management team to look at my options for 2008, there was a case for remaining in the UK Series where I did well in my rookie year and I know the tracks, the tyres and the overall set-up. However, given my longer-term ambition in this sport, we felt that I needed to remain on the steep learning curve I have thrived on for the last few years and the Euro Series certainly presents that challenge," he explained, after signing the contract with Manor owner and team principal, John Booth.

"I have known John for several years," added the MSA Elite Driver. "He has always been extremely supportive towards me, even when I was competing against his team in Formula Renault and I always hoped that I would drive for him one day."

Booth meanwhile reckons that Bird can spring a surprise in the Euro Series and is pleased to have finally linked up with the Brit: "I am obviously delighted to have Sam joining Manor Motorsport, after three years of trying to get him on board," he continued.

"It would have been an easy option for Sam to stay in the British Series for 2008, but he has shown a great deal of courage and confidence to take on the challenge of the Euro Series Championship. I am sure that he will be a strong contender having been the strongest F3 Rookie in 2007."

In a separate development Bird also confirmed that he will continue to enjoy support from BP Ultimate.

"I am over the moon that BP Ultimate are fully supportive of my European challenge," Sam stated. "I have worn their colours with pride in the British Championship this year and I am determined to achieve success for them in the Euro Series in 2008.

"Between BP Ultimate, Manor Motorsport and myself, it looks like we have a bit of a British thing going! We will together be aiming to fly the Union Jack high in Europe next season."

"We are delighted to offer Sam our continued support as he takes on the Formula 3 Euro Series," added Mark Reader, BP's UK Fuels marketing manager. "He has been a valuable ambassador for BP Ultimate throughout 2007 and we are excited to be working with Sam again as he takes on this new challenge in 2008."