Atech CRS GP has confirmed Belgian John Wartique to complete its three-car line up for the 2012 GP3 Series, joining Hungarian Tamas Pal Kiss and American Ethan Ringel.
The 21 year-old is one of the least experienced drivers on the grid, and like many had his first taste of motorsport in karting, although he only began competitive driving in 2003 aged 13, contesting the French Championship for the next five years in Rotax and 125cc gearbox karts.
His first unofficial single seater test came in 2008, but he moved into the Peugeot Sport 207 Championship the following year, finishing as runner-up with four podiums from six races. In 2010 and 2011, John again contested the 207 Cup, finishing ninth from 26 starters in 2010 and taking a podium finish last year, dovetailing that with an appearance in the Clio Cup in which he also took a podium finish.
However his smooth driving style was more evidently suited to single-seater racing and after several tests with the Leicestershire-based Atech CRS GP team decided GP3 was the right move.
“I know GP3 is a big step for me, but after three seasons in saloon cars I realised that my driving style is more suited to single seaters and that GP3 is where I wanted to be,” explained John. “Due to a lack of budget, I could never really give my best performance but I have gained a lot of mileage and experience so far with the Atech team and David Hayle in particular has been a great help during the pre-season testing.
“In Barcelona, which was my first proper single-seater test, I was only a couple of seconds off the fastest time. Although a lot of people have questioned my decision to do GP3 without the benefit of doing Formula Renault or Formula 3, I’m sure that I will continue to work well with the team, with my first objective to keep learning.”
Team Principal David Hayle was delighted to announce John as the final driver in the three-car line-up as the team embarks on its third season in GP3. “I have been very impressed with the way John has matured in the tests so far, and considering he has so little experience, he has come a long way.
“Right from the first test I was happy with his progress and the way he appeared to listen and take on board all of our advice, which will help us to continue to work well during the coming season. Although we have two rookies in the team, I am confident that they will both continue to learn quickly and that having the experience of Tamas in the team will greatly assist them.”
The opening rounds of the 2012 GP3 Series get underway as a support to the Spanish Grand Prix at the Circuit de Catalunya, Barcelona over the weekend of 11/12/13 May 2012.