Fortec Motorsports is the first of the leading teams from the Protyre Formula Renault Championship to reveal its full driver line-up for the 2013 campaign after today, Monday, 28th January, confirming a capacity four-car entry.
The Daventry outfit, which steered Seb Morris to last November’s Winter Series title, will field a squad with a truly international flavour. Spearheaded by British karting graduate Sam MacLeod (Cambridge) and returning Chinese racer Hong Wei Cao (Stoke-on-Trent), the team will also feature Malaysian newcomer Weiron Tan (London) and Hong Kong-born racer Wei Fung Thong (Liverpool).
“We’re really pleased to have all four deals done so early, I think it’s going to be a very open season this year with so many of the experienced guys having moved on”, said Fortec team manager Steve Lynch, “It’ll be a learning year for Sam but he’s been very quick in testing and we’re confident he and Martin [Cao] will be fighting at the front for regular podiums.
“Sam’s already proving himself to be a very good driver and we’re looking for Martin to continue where he left off in the Winter Series, he’s committed to making a big push this year. We know it’ll be a whole new challenge for Tan and Thong but we’re sure they’ll both make strong progress, setting a strong base for next year and, hopefully, a future move up the ladder with Fortec.”
MacLeod competed in British and European KF2 Championship karting last year, having debuted in continental-level action in 2011 where he was fourth in the CIK-FIA European Championship. Prior to that, in 2010, MacLeod was fifth overall in the KF3 class of the UK-based Formula Kart Stars series.
Cao, also known as ‘Martin’, is the most experienced of Fortec’s quartet. After making his British racing debut in Protyre Formula Renault last year, the 19-year-old Keele University student went on to achieve his maiden podium in the 2012 Winter Series – concluding the four round championship fifth overall. He was also the 2008 Asian Formula Renault Champion.
Malaysian driver Tan, who is part of the AirAsia Caterham Driver Development Programme, moves into Protyre Formula Renault from the JK Racing Asia Series where he was seventh overall last year, taking two podiums along the way. The 18-year-old, from Kuala Lumpur, also contested selected JK Racing Asia Series rounds in 2011 alongside a campaign in the Malaysian Super Series.
Hong Kong youngster Thong, who is also referred to as ‘Shaun’, competed in Asian Formula Renault in 2012 where he was third overall and took one race victory. The 17-year-old, who currently studies at Liverpool University, also tried his hand at GT racing with outings in the Malaysian Super Series, Porsche Carrera Cup Asia and the Trofeo Maserati World Series.
Commenting on Fortec’s announcement, Protyre Formula Renault promoter Simon North said: “Having a team the stature of Fortec as an integral part of Protyre Formula Renault really is very important for the championship as a whole, we’re obviously delighted with the confirmation of four drivers and the international flavour underlines the increasing reach of Protyre Formula Renault.
“Fortec is one of the biggest and most successful teams, both nationally and internationally, and I’m sure everyone there will be determined to add the main Protyre Formula Renault title to the Winter Series crown won last year.”
Protyre Formula Renault features an expanded 16 race calendar for 2013, beginning with two races at Donington Park in the East Midlands on 13th/14th April before embarking on a run of four ‘triple headers’ at Snetterton in Norfolk, Thruxton in Hampshire, Croft in North Yorkshire and Rockingham in Northamptonshire.
The season finale, like the championship opener, will be a double-header and will take place at Silverstone National Circuit over the weekend 28th/29th September alongside the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship.
Along with headline sponsor Protyre, Formula Renault is additionally supported by Michelin, The Lubricant Consultancy, Petronas Syntium and NGK Spark Plugs.