Alex Peroni will test the new FIA Formula 3 Championship car in the official test next week.
The Tasmanian will team up with Campos Racing for the test on 29 November – 1 December at the Yas Marina Circuit – the venue for the final GP3 Series race this weekend which will be replaced by the new series.
Making this move will be a big step up for the Hobart native, who has been racing in Formula Renault Eurocup this year.
Not only are the 3.4 litre cars significantly faster than what he has been racing, but all rounds will be held in conjunction with Formula One events.
This allows drivers – and their sponsors – the opportunity to gain global exposure.
Peroni hit the headlines earlier this year during the Renault Eurocup’s appearance at the Monaco Grand Prix.
His dominant victory on Saturday followed by a close second on Sunday boosted his profile in front of the Formula 1 teams.
Two more race wins in the Formula Renault North European Championship round the streets of Pau, were the standout point in his 2018.
“I’m incredibly excited to be testing for the 2019 FIA Formula 3 Championship,” he said.
“It’s actually a double-step up from Formula Renault, because the new Formula 3 car will have a lot more power – 410 bhp compared to 210 bhp – and more aerodynamic downforce.
“But after four years in junior development categories I’m ready for the challenge of racing in a top-level series.
“This year was at times frustrating, because there weren’t many races where we had the speed to challenge for wins or even podiums.
“I was usually competitive on twisty, low-speed tracks like Monaco, Pau and Hungaroring, especially when there wasn’t a lot of grip. But as a racing driver you want to be competitive all the time.”
Peroni and his team are working hard to secure the budget to contest in the F3 next year.
While he is close to reaching the target, he understands that funding is important in climbing the motorsport ladder.
“The top teams have the newest cars and equipment, and the best race engineers who know how to optimise car and driver performance at any racetrack in any conditions.
“Obviously that costs those teams more money, which in turn costs drivers who race with them more money.
“The bottom line is that to get one of the handful of drives with a top team you need the extra funding– something I haven’t had in the past.
“I’m satisfied with my results to date, considering the funding gap to most of my rivals. But I know I can do even better, given the opportunity.
“While I have just about enough funding to enter the FIA Formula 3 Championship, to be a regular podium contender I need a car that’s as good as anyone else’s.”
Last week, the Confederation of Australian Motor Sport (CAMS) hosted a function in Melbourne for prospective supporters of Peroni’s career.
“It’s great that the CAMS Foundation has stepped in at this crucial stage,” he said.
“Now I’m more optimistic than ever of securing the funding to achieve my ultimate goal of racing in Formula 1.
“Thanks to my 2018 supporters and corporate sponsors, in particular Blundstone, RACT and Richardson Devine Marine. They’ve given me the opportunity to go further than I ever dreamed as a seven year-old racing karts in Tasmania.
“I’ll keep doing everything I can to justify their support into the future.”
For now, Peroni’s focus switches to the test next week on a circuit he is not familiar with.
“I’ve put all that behind me, and am fully focused on the three-day test at Abu Dhabi in the week after the Formula 1 Grand Prix.
“Abu Dhabi is very important for drivers planning to race in the new FIA Formula 3 Championship next year. It’s their last chance to show the teams their capabilities – not just how fast they are on the track, but how they work with race engineers too – before the end of the year.
“It won’t be easy driving a faster car on an unfamiliar circuit, but it’s something I’ve had to do before. I’m really looking forward to the challenge!”