Welsh karting star Macaulay Austin will race in the Super One championship's KF3 class after signing with PKP Motorsport to drive a factory Dino. He will partner recent recruit Jessica Hawkins.

Austin had a successful 2011 season by winning the Welsh Junior Rotax title at Llandow and was also awarded the inaugural Dannie Pennell Trophy by Formula Kart Stars. The Trophy is awarded to the driver who best follows the spirit of the late kart team owner who died last July.

Austin's career includes 200 wins, two Welsh titles, ten club championships and four Celtic Challenge titles since he started karting aged eight. Before signing with Dino, he had been sponsored solely by his father Neil, who runs a car repair business.

Since he started racing, Austin has also been supported by Nicky Grist, co-driver for the late Colin McRae. Grist endorsed him publicly recently through his Stilo brand of helmets and safety equipment.

Grist said: "He's a young star that deserves a lot more of a chance that he has had up until now. He's a talent that needs to be picked up now or there is a risk it will go to waste. He's the underdog that has performed on ability rather than equipment and now that he has the equipment underneath him he'll be able to show everybody what he can really do."

Austin joins other top Welsh karters like Jordan Chamberlain, who will race in the KF1 World Championship as a factory driver; James Singleton, who is number 3 in World Rotax; superkart driver Dafydd Iles; Tom Harvey, who was Super One champion in 2010 and Michael Cox, who won the Super One Junior TKM 4 stroke title three times between 2003-05.

PKP Motorsport principal Leon Cole said: "Having tested Macaulay at the end of 2011 we knew that we wanted him on board with Dino/PKP. Sean [Girdler, joint principal] and I worked very hard to make this possible and we know believe we have a strong line up with both Macaulay and Jessica [Hawkins]."

"I'm under no illusions about how hard it's going to be but I'm the best prepared I've ever been," Austin added.

"It's the biggest challenge of my career and I'm training every day. This is where all the hard work and making the best of the equipment we could afford will pay off because I know that now my kit will be good."

by Simon Stiel