Formula Ford Champion Scott Pye is to step up to the Cooper Tires British Formula 3 International Series for 2011 with the Mercedes-powered Double R team. Pye’s drive with the championship-winning squad was confirmed this afternoon (Thursday) at a special launch event at Mercedes World in Surrey.
The 21-year-old from Mount Gambier in South Australia enjoyed his first taste of F3 power in testing at Rockingham earlier this week. “It’s hugely exciting for me,” he said, “and also very daunting because it’s a big leap from Formula Ford to a Formula 3 car. But I’m with a great team and I’m enjoying the challenge.”
Ex-F1 driver Perry McCarthy corresponded with motorsport-mad Scott for many years, offering advice and encouragement, before bringing him over to race last year in the MSA Formula Ford Championship of Great Britain. McCarthy’s faith was repaid with 12 race wins and the coveted championship title.
Says McCarthy: “I am backing Scotty not just because of his undoubted speed in a race car but because he has the attitude and focus of a champion and I believe he is a Formula 1 driver just waiting to happen.”
Pye is hoping to follow in the wheeltracks of his countrymen Mark Webber, the 2010 World Championship frontrunner and a former Formula Ford Champion and British Formula 3 race-winner, and Daniel Ricciardo, who was Cooper Tires British Formula 3 Champion in 2009 and is now the Toro Rosso F1 team’s first reserve.
Scott has many Australian backers behind him, including the Australian Motor Sport Federation, Australian Business and Triple Eight Race Engineering, the leading V8 Supercar team, whose boss Roland Dane said: “We are very happy to be supporting Scotty again and looking forward to him showing his potential this year. We hope that he will be the latest in the long line of Australian talent to succeed.”
There have been three Australian champions in British Formula 3: Tim Schenken (1968), David Brabham (1989) and Ricciardo. Pye’s first British F3 race outings are scheduled for the middle of next month, at the Italian Grand Prix circuit of Monza.