New Zealand race driver Dominic Storey departs for the United Kingdom this week to begin preparations for the 2009 Formula Renault Eurocup and Western European Championships with SG Formula.
The announcement comes after Storey, a former graduate of the Asian Formula BMW and Toyota Racing Series championships, spent the latter half of 2008 travelling across Europe with the SG Formula outfit, testing with the team in France and joining them as a guest at various Eurocup events.
Though promised nothing when he ventured abroad to pursue the opportunity of racing in Formula One's initial feeder series, Storey quickly caught the eye of SG founder Stéphane Guérin after first testing with the team at the Val de Vienne circuit.
Impressed with the young kiwi's speed and consistency behind the wheel and his commitment outside of the cockpit, Guérin entered the 19-year old in an official Eurocup test at Magny Cours in September, where Storey matched the pace of the leading championship drivers and prompted an immediate signing to SG Formula for the 2009 season.
Guérin's personal interest in Storey has also led to the Frenchman, who has previously managed Renault Formula One test driver Romain Grosjean, taking on the management role of the kiwi driver as he progresses through the ranks of European motorsport.
The significance of Guérin's management means that the majority of Dominic's 2009 race season is financially covered by outside sources, leaving only the requirement of travel and living expenses throughout the year.
The path to Europe for Dominic Storey in 1998 when he took up competition in local and international karting, before stepping up to single seaters two years ago upon being awarded the 2006 Formula BMW Asia Scholarship.
Dominic tasted success in Formula BMW in claiming six podium finishes and fifth overall in the championship, before returning home to compete in the 2007/08 Toyota Racing Series. Both gave Dominic sufficient grounding in both driving and understanding a 'wings and slicks' race car, which will be of utmost importance as he joins the fiercely competitive field for this year's Formula Renault Eurocup.
Here, he will join the ranks of many past and present greats of the sport before him, including world champions Kimi Räikkönen and Lewis Hamilton and most recently fellow kiwi and Formula One hopeful Brendon Hartley, who took overall victory in the 2007 series.
Hartley has since moved on and will this year compete in the Formula 3 Euro Series; where Storey aims to compete in 2010 providing he meets the requirements set by himself, his team and his management throughout this season's Formula Renault campaign.
This includes not only consistency and results behind the wheel, but also the forging of a solid working relationship with his engineers and crew within the SG Formula team, and most importantly a noticeable level of improvement over the year in preparation for Formula 3.
Storey's entry into the adjacent Formula Renault Western European Championship, encompassing French and Spanish circuits and the Eurocup's top teams and drivers, will provide him with the extra seat time needed to achieve these goals and move one step closer to his dream of racing in Formula One.
Dominic departs for his new base just north of London in Milton Keynes on Thursday, where he will resume his rigorous pre-season training regime aided by methods picked up last year from Formula Medicine – a leading motorsport fitness academy based in Italy.
He will also continue networking with potential sponsors and supporters to generate the finances needed for travel and living expenses throughout his stay, before embarking on six days of pre-season testing and the opening round of the Western European Championship in Nogaro, France in April.
The Formula Renault Eurocup kicks off a week later at the famed Barcelona circuit in Spain, with eleven more events at some of the world's most glamorous Grand Prix venues to follow through to November.
QUOTES | Dominic Storey
"This opportunity to race in the Formula Renault Eurocup is fantastic and I am totally focussed on making the most of it. I know that this championship is the toughest junior single seater class in the world and if I do well here I'll be one step closer to my goal of Formula One.
"In testing with SG Formula last year I quickly saw how professional and determined they are. I learnt a heck of a lot throughout the winter tests by working closely with the SG engineers, and now I have to put this into action and achieve the results we deserve this season.
"My goal of course is to win this season. The key to this will be consistency throughout – the fields are so big that you really have to be up the sharp end in every race.
"I have had a wonderful Christmas break at home over the New Zealand summer and improved my fitness in all areas, so I feel I'm fully prepared for the challenge ahead and I can't wait for the first race in April!"
Dominic Storey Racing Calendar 2009
10-12 Apr | Nogaro, France | WEC
17-19 Apr | Barcelona, Spain | Eurocup + WEC
01-03 May | Spa Francorchamps, Belgium | Eurocup
15-17 May | Pau, France | WEC
29-31 May | Magny Cours. France | WEC
12-14 June | Hungaroring, Hungary | Eurocup
03-05 July | Silverstone, England | Eurocup
17-19 July | Le Mans, France | Eurocup
11-13 Sep | Valencia, Spain | WEC
18-20 Sep | Nurburgring, Germany | Eurocup
09-11 Oct | Dijon, France | WEC
23-25 Oct | Motorland, Spain | Eurocup
06-08 Nov | Portimao, Portugal | WEC
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