Welsh wonder Hywel Lloyd has become the first competitor to register for the 2009 Cooper Tires British Formula 3 International Series, it has been announced.

Hywel, who finished third in the championship's National class last year in his debut F3 season, is to step up a gear and join the International class at the wheel of a latest-spec Dallara chassis prepared by family team CF Racing.

Harry Lloyd, Hywel's father and team manager, said his son's 2008 results, which included class race victories at Monza and Silverstone, prompted the team to accelerate its strategy.

"We had a three-year plan when we went into Formula 3, and had aimed to step up after two seasons in the National class," he explained. "But Hywel finished third in his debut season, so we had achieved more than we had hoped for or expected and it was time to move on. That's why we have decided to go up to the International class; Hywel will be the first Welshman to race at this level for more than 20 years."

Hywel does not underestimate the challenge he faces, but he has already been behind the wheel of his new mount, having tested both in the UK and in Spain in December.

"It's very competitive and we are really looking forward to it," he continued. "Lots of people only ever talk about doing it - but we are committed and we have shown our commitment by entering."

Lloyd's Corwen Forestry-backed Dallara F309 will be powered by a Mugen Honda engine prepared by respected tuner Neil Brown Engineering.

"They did a great job for us last year and they are with us again and helping us with preparation already," Lloyd Senior summed-up.