Christo confirms step up ..


West Midland youngster signs with Fortec Motorsport for Cooper Tires British F3 campaign

Riki “Christo” Christodoulou will contest the 2009 Cooper Tires British Formula 3 International Series. The 20-year-old from Sutton Coldfield has confirmed today (3 Apr) that he will race a Dallara F309 Mercedes for Fortec Motorsport, the Daventry-based team that ran “Christo” in the Formula Renault UK Championship for the past two years

“It’s an established breeding ground for up-and-coming Formula One drivers,” confirmed Birmingham-born Riki. “The racing is close and the cars are ‘mini’ Grand Prix cars in many respects with the F1 teams monitoring this category closely.

“My aim is to win the F3 championship title at my first attempt – I know I have the ability, the passion, the hunger and importantly, the tools to do the job – it’s down to me whether I succeed.

“Fortec is a top quality team who are themselves determined to win the F3 title for the first time while I believe the Dallara chassis and Mercedes engine combination is the best.”

Riki has consistently set top-three fastest times in official pre-season F3 testing. He will contest 10 events, seven in the UK and three overseas in Belgium, Germany and Portugal with each event hosting two, 30 minute races.

“I’ve tested an F3 car on about 10 occasions now,” he added. “Since the Formula Renault UK season finished last October, I’ve spent the winter months considering all options including the World Series by Renault category as well as F3.

“It’s taken a long time to confirm our 2009 plans but now I can get my head down and focus on the opening races of the season – I can’t wait to make my F3 debut.”

Cars are powered by two-litre powered engines with a top speed in excess of 160mph and 0-60mph in 3secs with all cars using Cooper radial tyres. As the UK’s leading single seater racing championship, British Formula 3 has long been the traditional training ground for the stars of the future and over the years British F3 Champions have gone onto greater things.

Legends such as fellow Brummie Mansell – 30 years ago – along with fellow Brits Damon Hill, James Hunt and more recently Johnny Herbert, David Coulthard and Jenson Button have used F3 as a stepping stone to F1.

“Christo” embarks on only his third year of racing single-seaters after racing karts for 10 years. Riki, who is sponsored by Alpinestars and British Car Registrations, finished fifth (2008) and sixth (2007) in the Formula Renault UK Championship.

Earlier this week (31 Mar) “Christo” was confirmed as a member of the British Racing Drivers’ Club (BRDC) Superstars initiative for a second year. The initiative supports young drivers from a cross-section of motor racing disciplines and championships.

BRDC Superstars Director, Tim Harvey, commented: “This year’s 13 ‘Superstars’ will receive direct assistance in all aspects of professional motor sport. This includes help with physical and mental training, career guidance, team building skills, marketing advice, access to industry seminars and workshops with BRDC Members and other influential people within motor sport.”

The opening two rounds of the prestigious Cooper Tires F3 series are at Oulton Park near Tarporley in Cheshire on Easter Monday (13 Apr) – a 2.692-mile track Riki is familiar with from his Formula Renault UK days and having already bettered the existing F3 lap record in tests last month (10-11 Mar).

2009 Cooper Tires British Formula 3 International Series

13 Apr               Oulton Park (Int), Cheshire (Rds 1 & 2)

26 Apr               Donington Park (Nat), Leics (Rds 3 & 4)

2/3 May             Silverstone (GP), N’thants (Rds 5 & 6)

31 May             Rockingham, N’thants (Rds 7 & 8)

07 Jun               Hockenheim (D) (Rds 9 & 10)

05 Jul                Snetterton, Norfolk (Rds 11 & 12)

24/25 Jul           Spa (B) (Rds 13 & 14)

16 Aug              Silverstone (Int), N’thants (Rds 15 & 16)

13 Sep              Algarve (Por) (Rds 17 & 18) 

20 Sep              Brands Hatch (GP), Kent (Rds 19 & 20

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