Will Stevens and Lewis Williamson have agreed deals with multiple championship winning Manor Competition to race for them in 2010 in Formula Renault UK, alongside returning Dutchman Thomas Hylkema.
The New Ollerton based team took Dean Smith to the overall title last year providing the springboard for him to win the McLaren Autosport BRDC Award and with it, an F1 test.
The team will be looking to Stevens, Hylkema and Williamson to challenge for the title.
Thomas Hylkema secured his maiden podium finish during the 2009 Formula Renault Winter Series, en route to fourth in the overall standings.
The 21 year old Dutchman will be heading into his third season of the UK series, and will be hoping his past experiences will be useful for 2010. Away from the track, Thomas will be continuing his Aerospace Engineering studies.
Tony Shaw, team owner commented on Thomas resigning with the team “To have the continuity of working with Thomas again is tremendous. He really came into his own last year and performed superbly in the Winter Championship. He thoroughly deserved his maiden podiums and we're confident he'll be right at the sharp end from the off.”
For Stevens and Williamson, 2010 will see them enter their second seasons of open-wheeled racing, both of them having had successful karting careers before their move into single seaters, Williamson ended his karting career with a hat trick of titles in 2008: the British ICC UK Karting Championship, the British ICC UK Grand Prix Championship and the ICC UK Open Championship.
18 Year Old Stevens, who recently was selected as one of the 2010 MSA Team UK Scheme, showed huge amounts of potential in his maiden season with Fortec Motorsport, and finished 7th overall in the standings, with one outright podium finish and second of the Graduate Cup runners.
20 year old Scotsman Lewis Williamson, who finished 10th overall in his maiden season of Formula Renault, is currently a BRDC Rising Star and will be looking to build on his 2009 performances, which saw a brace of podiums come his way, with a best result of second in the final round on the Brands Grand Prix loop last year.
Tony Shaw commented in the teams' signings “We're absolutely thrilled to bits to have completed deals with Thomas, Will and Lewis. We have so much promise and potential with these three guys, they're all very fast and talented and one of the key things is each of them has good experience – that will be so important with the brand new car.”
Will's deal happened without a test for the team, something Shaw considered fantastic, and Shaw has high hopes for Williamson for the forthcoming season as well: “To have been approached by Will's people and to have agreed a deal in a very short period of time, without him having even tested our car, is fantastic. Lewis has been very impressive in the tests he has done with us and we're delighted to have him in the team. Both he and Will had very strong debut seasons last year and are sure to be consistent front-runners.”
The team has one more drive available for 2010 and are currently in discussions with a number of drivers over the drive.
The first officially timed pre season test is on the 2nd and 3rd March, at Brands Hatch, Kent.
The start of the 2010 Formula Renault UK Championship and the debut for the new car is at Thruxton, Hampshire over the Easter weekend, the 3rd and 4th April. The season concludes at Brands Hatch, on the Indy track, on the 9th and 10th October.
Photo credit: Jakob Ebrey Photography