Joins Jack Butel in SWB’s two-car campaign
Fifth different nationality to opt for Ford-backed junior single-seater category
Teenage Brazilian karting star Rafa Martins is set to follow in the wheeltracks of many of his country’s racing heroes, including Ayrton Senna, by starting his car-racing career in Britain at the wheel of a Ford-powered single-seater.
Martins,16, has signed to contest the forthcoming MSA Formula season with the SWB Motorsport team, and enjoyed his first taste of the Ford EcoBoost-engined FIA-certified Formula 4 car at Brands Hatch last week, and was in action at Snetterton on Monday, impressing SWB team manager Simon Baldry:
“It was Rafa’s first proper experience of a racing car and he acquitted himself well. Brands Hatch was very wet and not a great learning experience but the Snetterton test was dry and very productive and he covered 70 laps. We were happy with the times he did and with the feedback he gave us about the new car; he’s a sensible lad and he does what he’s told, and I think he will be one to watch as the season progresses.”
Martins will partner BARC Formula Renault graduate Jack Butel in the two-car SWB Motorsport team in MSA Formula. Daventry-based SWB was formed in 2010 by motorsport engineering graduate Baldry after several seasons of service with Fortec Motorsport. The team has won races in club-level Formula Renault and has enjoyed considerable karting success, as well as Scholarship podium finishes in Formula Ford during 2013 and ’14.
There is just a month to go before the live-televised opening rounds of MSA Formula at Brands Hatch (4/5 April), and a remarkable field of rookie racing talent is gathering to contest it, including 15-year-old British karting champions Enaam Ahmed, Sandy Mitchell, Lando Norris, Josh Smith and Dan Ticktum. Martins is the fifth different nationality of driver to announce his participation, joining pilots from the UK, Romania, India and the USA.
MSA Formula – Certified by FIA, Powered by Ford EcoBoost is Britain’s official version of the FIA’s Formula 4 concept and will be the British Touring Car Championship’s single-seater support series, enjoying live TV coverage and bumper raceday spectator attendance.
The championship will be decided over 30 races; three at each of the 10 BTCC meetings to be held between April and October. The winning driver will hold the title FIA Formula 4 Champion of Great Britain, and will earn 10 Grand Prix Superlicence points to get his or her career off to a flying start, in addition to being awarded a career-enhancing test drive with a leading FIA Formula 3 team.