2011 Formula Vee star Michael Epps has confirmed his graduation to the 2012 Formula Renault BARC Championship with new team JWA-Avilla.
In 2011, Epps competed in the 750mc Formula Vee Championship and took six podiums on his way to second in the championship as the top rookie. Now Epps is moving up to Renault BARC for his first season in 'slicks and wings' racing and despite his inexperience in the car and the series, Epps has his sights set on winning the championship at the first attempt.
Epps joins with new team JWA-Avilla, who also run a Porsche 999 RSR in the World Endurance Championship. Epps will be joined at the team by fellow Vee graduate Matt Tiffin.
Epps said: “I'm over the moon. Everyone in the team is great too. They are committed, ambitious and, like myself, they really want to win. This is no small team, they are serious guys with a lot of experience and knowledge in a hell of a lot of areas.”
Epps his got his first taste of the JWA car in a shakedown test at Rockingham a fortnight ago, before completing his first full test around the Snetterton 300 circuit last week. Both tests went well for Epps, filling the Hemel Hempstead-based student with confidence ahead of the new campaign.
Epps commented: “The Rockingham test wasn't much to look at really, we were just making sure things fitted well and that we all got on and worked together.
“Things felt much better at Snetterton and people were certainly aware of our pace. I was really starting to get to grips with the car too and pushing it much more to its limits. Some of these guys have been driving round all winter getting loads of track time, they are already completely up to speed. This is only my second day in the car and I have plenty of tests yet before the season starts.”
As well as preparing on track, Epps has been busy preparing off track at the Anytime Fitness gym centre in Hemel Hempstead, ensuring he's at peak physical condition for the new season.
Epps added: “It's a great gym, open 24 hours a day, and I use it at all sorts of times. I've done so much training over the winter that driving these cars is very easy on my physically. I've lost nearly 6kg and I'm so much stronger and fitter. I'm really ready for it this year now; I've worked so hard towards it in every angle possible. I plan to do what I always want to do with everything, and that is to be the best out there, full stop.”
You can keep up to date with Epp's season on www.michaelepps.co.uk and on twitter at @MichaelEppsUk .