Next generation Astuti secures Formula Ford seat

The Sonic cars of Harrison Goodman (#88) and Valentino Astuti (#2)

Second-generation driver Valentino Astuti will make his debut in the 2021 Australian Formula Ford Championship for Sonic Motor Racing Services this weekend.

Astuti has been announced to race alongside third-year Formula Ford driver Harrison Goodman, who makes the switch from BF Racing.

“I’m definitely excited to get back into the car – it’s almost been 18 months since I last raced,” said Goodman, with reference to the COVID-cancelled 2020 season

“It will be good to get back in the car and see what I can do.

“It’s been a long lead up to race with Sonic. Last year was a struggle – I couldn’t get down to Melbourne to do as much preparation as I would have liked, but Sonic is proven to be the best in the business, so I’m looking forward to seeing how we gel together.

“I’ve raced two national series rounds in the past and a few state rounds. It’s one of my favourite tracks, so I can’t wait to get into the seat.”

As for Astuti, 18, he follows in the footsteps of his father Sam, a former open-wheel racer, and older Antonio, who is competing in the 2021 VHT S5000 Australian Drivers’ Championship.

Valentino will move into Formula Ford competition straight from karting, and will run the #2.

“I’m really excited for this year,” said Astuti.

“We thought we’d bypass state series and go straight into nationals and see how we do it. The competition will be tough in the national series, but we are ready to learn.

“Sonic is the best team to do it with. They’ll give me the best chance to have a crack at the championship.

“This year is a big learning curve. Next year would be the chance to have a big go at winning the title. This year is more about learning and moving my way through the field.”

The first of seven rounds on the 2021 calendar falls at Sydney Motorsport Park on March 6-7.

Sonic has a history of Australian Formula Ford success, winning 11 national titles with drivers including Will Davison, Jamie Whincup, David Reynolds, Nick Percat, Cameron Waters and Anton De Pasquale.

The Michael Ritter-owned squad also won the most recent crown in 2019 with now Triple Eight Super2 driver Angelo Mouzouris.

“It’s great to confirm that we have Harrison and Valentino in our cars for the national Formula Ford title,” said Ritter.

“For Harrison, we’re picking up where we left off. This is his first real crack at the championship, and we’d like to see him in the fight. We want to see him grow and learn.

“It will be the first ever car race for Valentino, and we’re putting him in at the highest level straightaway, but the idea is to fast-track his way to the front of the pack.

”All we’re looking for is progression in his performance through the year. There’s no specific target for results, it’s all about learning.

“We’re aiming to add a third car from Round 2 onwards, too. We’ve got a driver that we’ve been working with, and we hope to be able to stitch that deal together for the remaining rounds of the year.”

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