08 Dec Rowland and Barnicoat to step up with Fortec Motorsports
Racing Steps Foundation back Rowland to join Fortec Motorsports for 2014 Formula Renault 3.5 campaign and Barnicoat for Formula Renault 2.0 NEC and ALPS campaign
Oliver Rowland is to step up to the World Series by Renault Formula Renault 3.5 championship with Fortec in 2014.
Rowland, who is fully-funded and managed by the Racing Steps Foundation, clinched the seat following an impressive performance at a three-day FR3.5 test at Aragon last month.
The 2013 Eurocup Formula Renault 2.0 runner-up finished in the top three in three out of the six sessions at the test.
Fellow RSF protégé Ben Barnicoat is also moving on with Fortec Motorsports.
The multiple kart champion – who made the transition to cars with a dominant display in the BARC Formula Renault 2.0 Autumn Cup at Rockingham in mid-November – is to graduate to the Formula Renault 2.0 NEC Series with Fortec.
He will also compete in non-clashing rounds in the Formula Renault 2.0 ALPS series.
The Chesterfield teenager, who won two out of the three races to claim the Autumn Cup, will follow in the tracks of fellow RSF-backed drivers Oliver Rowland who cut his single-seater teeth in Formula Renault 2.0.
Rowland, a former McLaren Autosport BRDC Award winner, said: “Formula Renault 3.5 with a top team like Fortec is a fantastic opportunity for me. I can’t thank the Foundation enough for the continued backing they are providing me with.
“I think my style of driving is well-suited to the car and together with Fortec I know we have what it takes to challenge for wins and the title.
“Clearly it’s not going to be easy but they won the title in 2012 with Robin Frijns in his rookie year and were runners-up this year with Stoffel Vandoorne, who was also a rookie, which shows it’s perfectly possible.”
Barnicoat, after his successful debut at Rockingham, shares similar ambitions. “I’ll be approaching this in exactly the same way as I’ve started every season and series I’ve raced in – with the intention of fighting for the NEC title.
“Jake Dennis won it in his first year with Fortec, as did Matt Parry this year so I’ll certainly be trying my hardest to do the same in 2014 to make it three in a row for the team.”
Jamie Dye, Fortec Managing Director, added: “We are really excited to have Oliver and Ben join the team for 2014, both are excellent drivers and have shown they are ready to make a step up. I would like to thank the Racing Steps Foundation for their continued belief in what we do and am really looking forward to the season ahead.”