Youngest ever Aussie to drive an F3 car tests at Mallala
15/09/2009 at 12:34:06 AM:

THE youngest ever Australian driver to test a Formula 3 Australian Drivers Championship Car completed a successful debut test in an F304 Dallara at Mallala last weekend, continuing his already strong link to the Gold Star in the process.

15-year-old Rhys Newman, from Adelaide, completed 50 laps of the 2.6km Mallala circuit with the experienced R-Tek motorsport team that has helped fellow young drivers Jesse Wakeman and Roger I’Anson perform well this season.

Earlier this year, Newman was the first driver to be granted a CAMS competition license following the change in regulations allowing younger drivers to take to the track, and has since been racing with strong results in the competitive South Australian Formula Vee state title and the Shannons Nationals series.

The former Karting champion showed his promise by scoring pole position and winning just his second-ever Formula Vee race at Mallala, sitting in equal first place in the National series and third in the SA titles.

The affable youngster has support and backing from Australian Open Wheel legends John Walker – the 1979 Gold Star champion – and Martin Sampson, who supported Walkers’ racing via his Magnum Wheels business.

In supporting Newman this year the pair have reunited 30 years after their combined success in the 1979 Australian Drivers Championship and Australian Grand Prix, in the era of the 500-horsepower F5000 cars.

Walker was present for Newman’s Mallala test, bringing him full circle with the latest and greatest Gold Star machinery and giving the young South Australian driver invaluable experience on which to draw as he forges his own driving career.

By all accounts, Newman acquitted himself well in his first test of a Formula 3 car that requires a vastly different driving style to his 1200cc Formula Vee.

“I’m really grateful to Ian Richards and the R-Tek team for the opportunity to drive one of their cars,” Newman said.

“There was a lot to take in but the team was fantastic and great to work with. Being able to test this car will give us the basis for our decisions for where we will race next season.”

Experience team owner and former open-wheel champion Richards, who amongst other successes engineered Karl Reindler to the 2004 Australian Formula 3 Championship, said that Rhys showed his potential during the brief introductory test.

“The young lad put in a very good performance, followed instructions he was given and that’s all we can ask,” Richards said.

“At 15, he’s the youngest Australian to have tested a Formula 3 car so to put in the performance he did was excellent.

“Jumping into one of these cars is a huge leap from what he has been driving and with the exception of one minor ‘off’ he handled the car, the team environment and himself very well. It’s obvious that he has built a solid foundation of skills over many years of racing in Karting and now in Formula Vee, and he put them to excellent use during the test.

“He has a lot of potential and I’d like nothing more than to keep working with him.”

Newman will be back in action at Mallala this weekend (September 12-13) competing in the South Australian state titles, whilst the Formula 3 Australian Drivers’ Championship is in the midst of a two-month break prior to the season finale at Sandown on November 27-29.

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