The reigning Australian Formula Ford champion, Anton De Pasquale, embarks on his break-through Formula Renault 1.6 Northern European Championship campaign at Zandvoort this weekend.
De Pasquale remains confident after settling into his new home with the Salzburg-based Lechner Racing squad ahead of the opening round of the NEC which includes two races at the former home of the Dutch F1 Grand Prix.
“I really feel at home in my new team and environment,” De Pasquale said.
“Lechner has been just great and pre-season testing and preparation have gone to plan.
“I’ve got to say, it was quite an overwhelming experience to have the opportunity to test at somewhere like Spa. Wow, what an impressive joint.”
“To be honest the weekend can’t come soon enough, I’m really just keen to get back to actual racing.
“My last Formula Ford race in December seems a long time ago. I’m expecting to come up against some strong competition this year, but I have a great network around me and I feel prepared.”
The championship is validating it’s credentials with 2013 champion Roy Geerts and runner up Martin Rump both progressing to Formula Renault 2.0 for 2014.
Rump one of the consistent front-runners and race/round winners in the cut-throat Toyota Racing Series which finished in New Zealand in February.
DePasquale expects strong competition from the third and fourth placed drivers from the 2013 championship – Janneau Esmeijer and Larry Ten Voorde – returning to chase the title.
The Championship forms part of the established 1.6, 2.0 and 3.5 litre Formula Renault ‘staircase’ to Formula One, with McLaren F1’s Kevin Magnussen the most notable recent recruit.
Formula Renault 1.6 is intentionally positioned in Europe as a nursery wings and slicks category and has formed part of many F1 drivers career paths.
2014 Formula Renault 1.6 NEC Championship calendar
Round 1: April 21 – Zandvoort
Round 2: June 2 – Spa-Francorchamps
Round 3: July 13 – Nurburgring
Round 4: August 3 – Assen
Round 5: August 30 Zolder
Round 6: October 5 – Spa-Francorchamps
Round 7: October 19 – Zandvoort