James Jakes will remain with Scuderia Coloni for the 2011 GP2 season, the team has confirmed.
The 23-year-old from Leeds joined the team for the 2010 season finale at Abu Dhabi last November, before remaining with the team for the post-season tests at the same Yas Marina circuit, Jakes topping the timesheets on the opening day.
The announcement completes Coloni's lineup for the upcoming season, Jakes joining the already confirmed Michael Herck in the Italian team. Team boss Paolo Coloni is pleased that Jakes will remain with the team after impressing him at the end of last year.
“We are very happy to have James with us,” said Coloni. “We already knew that he was one of the most interesting talents around, but we were amazed by his progression in Abu Dhabi. He learned a lot in the race weekend, and this proved to be very useful for the following testing session. Furthermore, he had an instant feeling with the team, getting along really well with the engineers and all the guys.
“Working together was a pleasure, and as a consequence we managed to give him a car that he really liked. He did the rest with some great driving, boasting a staggering pace. We were looking forward to having him with us for the season, and I feel really satisfied because I think that we have a very competitive line-up for the coming season.”
After racing in the Formula 3 Euro Series in 2007 and 2008, Jakes made his GP2 debut in the 2008-09 Asia Series, racing for Super Nova. He sat out most of the 2009 season, returning to the Super Nova team for the opening round of the 2009-10 Asia Series. He raced for Manor in the 2010 GP3 Series, finishing eighth in the final standings, despite missing four races due to injury.
“After missing some of last season with my hand injury, I was really pleased to get into the GP2 car at Abu Dhabi,” said Jakes. “It was a great opportunity to reset myself for the real physical effort needed to drive these cars competitively. At the next Abu Dhabi test day the following week, the team really came together for me, we made some changes identified during the race weekend and the car was very good, it was great to be top of the time sheet.
“We had discussions with a number of other teams, but recognizing the skill and enthusiasm existing at Scuderia Coloni this year, I felt they were the best option for me. Asia will be very different challenge this year with the new car and new tyre. It will be very important to get a good platform for the main season and I look forward to this challenge.”
New team partner Lauda Sport Management stated: “We are delighted to see that Scuderia Coloni will enter 2011 with such an impressive line-up as we just started this cooperation. This seems very promising for the future.”