Twenty two year old Oliver Oakes has been confirmed by the ATech CRS GP team as one of their drivers ahead of the inaugural season of GP3, the third rung on the Motorsport ladder, below GP2 and Formula One. It will support the FIA Formula One World Championship at six of the eight rounds, including Oakes home round at Silverstone, Northamptonshire on the 10/11 July.
The Norfolk based racer has joined the team after a successful outing with them at the recent Barcelona test. Oakes had recieved a number of offers from GP3 teams before opting for ATech CRS. The team is a joint venture between Atech GP and CRS Racing.
After Oakes won a World Karting title in 2005, his career has stalled. He was one of a group of youngsters to be part of the Red Bull young driver cull, and his comeback in the Cooper Tyres British Formula Three International Series didn't go to plan after contractual problems with the leading outfit and GP3 rivals Carlin Motorsport.
Since the autumn of 2009, Oakes has been taken on by the new Accelerate Driver Development management group, which is run by Motorsport experts Graeme Glew, John Byfield and Kieren Crawley. The trio have a combined total of over seventy years' experience in the sport.
After the Atech deal was confirmed, Oakes commented: “We have spent the past couple of months negotiating and testing with GP3 teams, Last week at the Barcelona test I felt both me and the Atech team made a lot of progress, so this is the team I will be relaunching my racing career with!”
Atech team principal David Hayle then added: “We have been chasing Oliver for some time to drive with our team, and last week in Barcelona we made some good progress with him. He has had a lot of bad luck in the past couple of years, so we are expecting him to be up there in what will prove to be an extremely competitive championship.”
The brand new series will feature thirty drivers in identical Dallara chassis powered by a two litre turbo charged Renault engine. The first round for the series is alongside the Spanish Grand Prix at Barcelona on the 8/9 May.
Photo credit: Alastair Staley/GP3 Media Service