Current Rookie Class championship leader, T-Sport’s Bart Hylkema has been rewarded for his dominant form this season with a race-seat in the 2011 Cooper Tyres British Formula 3 International Series. The promotion comes with immediate effect and lasts until the season’s end, meaning the young Dutchman makes his  debut at the Paul Ricard circuit on 15-17 July.

11 Rookie Class victories out of a possible 15 was evidence enough for T-Sport to field him against International stars like Felipe Nasr, Lucas Foresti and Kevin Magnussen.

After Round 15, Hylkema leads his only class rival Kotaro Sakurai by 55 points, but is more than eager to leave the class and challenge the International pack: “I've wanted to do this for a little while now,” said Hylkema, “and after discussing it with my family, manager, my sponsors and the team, we're all agreed this is the perfect time to make the move and I want to thank them very much for making this possible. It really is a very exciting step and one I'm sure will be the right decision. There are 15 races left this year so we have plenty of time to work on understanding the A-class car and how to get the most from it.

“It would have been nice to go on and, hopefully, to win the Rookie Class title but this step is much better for my development as a driver and much more important for my career as a whole. Since the start of the season I've learned a lot and I feel this is the right time to take that knowledge and move things up a level. If you want to be the best you can, you have to race the best.”

But his addition is rather unlikely to be a distraction for current championship leader Felipe Nasr, who holds an strong 75 point lead over nearest rival Lucas Foresti. Whilst the 2011 season has proven to be an exciting an unpredictable one with 7 different winners in 15 races, no other drivers  have been able to match the consistency of Nasr, who is rarely seen out of the top 5. Carlin team-mate, Kevin Magnussen has looked set on several occasions to squarely defeat Felipe, but a long string of bad luck, such as engine gremlins whilst leading at the Nürburgring, have hindered him from mounting a real championship challenge – the Dane will undoubtedly be looking for a stronger weekend at the French circuit.

British Formula 3 enjoys the headlining support of Cooper Tires and is additionally backed by Sunoco Racing Fuels, Anglo American Oil Company and OAMPS.

Paul Ricard timetable (CET)
Friday 15 July: 1030-1115 & 1555-1640 free practice
Saturday 16 July: 1000-1030 qualifying; 1500 Round 16 (30 mins)
Sunday 17 July: 1000 Round 17 (20 mins); 1645 Round 18 (40 mins)