Scandinavian racer Atte Lehtonen will return to the Protyre Formula Renault Championship for a second season this year it is officially confirmed today, Tuesday, 18th March, having finalised a deal with Daventry team SWB Motorsport.
Joining single-seater newcomer Jack Butel (Jersey) at the Simon Baldry-led squad, the 19-year-old from Jyväskylä in Finland is set for a full championship campaign in 2014 having contested a part season last year.
Achieving a brace of top 10 results, one at Rockingham and the other during the televised season finale at Silverstone, Lehtonen certainly improved towards the end of his first season in Protyre Formula Renault despite a distinct lack of testing.
With more testing opportunities open to the Finn this year, coupled with key involvement in the McLaren Applied Technologies ’Performance Academy’ at the F1 team’s Woking base, SWB team principal Baldry is confident the youngster will make significant strides.
Following a formative career in karting in his native Finland, Lehtonen graduated into single-seater car racing in the 2011 Finnish Formula Ford Championship where he was named ’Rookie of the Year’ after a stellar maiden campaign. Travelling to the UK in 2012, he contested several rounds of the 750 Motor Club’s F4 Championship and achieved two podiums.
Further underlining the international reach and appeal of Protyre Formula Renault, Lehtonen’s return to the championship this year means of the 14 drivers so far officially confirmed for the new season, at least nine nationalities will be represented on the grid.
”It’s fantastic to see Atte returning to Protyre Formula Renault this year and we’re delighted SWB has two cars on the grid this season”, said championship promoter Simon North, ”It’s yet another endorsement of the category’s stature and continued cost-effectiveness we are continuing to attract so many international drivers.”
Unable to attend the Media Day and timed test at Rockingham tomorrow, Wednesday, 19th March, Lehtonen’s first ’official’ appearance of the year in his Tatuus FR 2.0 chassis will come on the opening weekend of the season, 5th/6th April, at the Northamptonshire venue’s International Super Sports Car Circuit.
Along with headline sponsor Protyre, Formula Renault is additionally supported by Michelin.