25 OCTOBER, 2017 – Sebastian Priaulx, son of triple World Touring Car Champion and Ford GT driver Andy Priaulx MBE, has agreed terms with Arden in a deal to contest the 2018 F4 British Championship certified by FIA – powered by Ford EcoBoost.
The announcement comes just weeks after the curtain fell on a stellar campaign for the 16-year-old. It saw him crowned Ginetta Junior vice-champion with 13 podiums, including seven victories. Four wins out of five races in the space of two meetings a particular highlight, along with an unrivalled tally of eight pole positions.
“It’s a great feeling to have my 2018 plans confirmed,” said a thrilled Priaulx. “We’ve got a very exciting year ahead of us racing with Arden in the F4 British Championship.
“It’s a prestigious series with manufacturer backing from Ford and with my Dad driving for the Ford GT team it’s really cool.
“To make the step up to single-seaters and race in British F4 is a real milestone in my career. It’s always been my aim to live the single-seater dream. Winning in British F4 opens doors and it is the starting point for Formula 1.”
Garry Horner, Arden CEO and team principal, added: “We are delighted to have Seb joining our team at Arden. We have admired his dedication and ability throughout the previous season and are looking forward to a successful year in Formula 4.”
Priaulx began karting aged eight and rapidly became a multiple champion in Cadet, Mini Max and Junior Max classes.
Aged 15 he added a Ginetta Junior Winter Series title to his name. This followed a Ginetta Junior Championship campaign in 2016 which saw him take a victory and two pole positions in his rookie season.
Priaulx will be hoping to emulate FIA British Formula 4 Champions Lando Norris and Jamie Caroline, who both triumphed in Ginetta Juniors before making the step up to the UK’s leading single-seater series.
“2017 was a bit of a strange season with everything that happened with Ginetta and having to switch teams part way through the campaign,” explained Priaulx. “It was all out of my control and I just focused on performing at my best.
“I walked away as vice-champion, my head held high and proud of what I achieved. Now I’m aiming to win the British F4 title.
“Racing in single-seaters is going to be a new challenge for me. There’s a lot to learn. I’m excited for what lies ahead as I work towards my goal of race victories and hopefully a title tilt.
“Having raced in Ginettas, which run alongside British F4 on the TOCA package, I know the tracks on the calendar well and that experience can help me.”
Sebastian’s father Andy has long extolled the importance of drivers gaining single-seater experience and developing an understanding of racing with slicks and wings; targeting British F4 as the series in which his son should make a single-seater debut. The move to British F4 the fruition of several years’ hard work.
“Every driver needs single-seater experience,” said Priaulx. “It’s so important.
“Looking at how British F4 has evolved over the last couple of seasons it’s clearly the place for young drivers to be. The cars look great, the competition is fierce and the TOCA package is really strong.
“A big part of becoming a professional racing driver is working with major brands and Ford is one of those. Ford’s commitment to motor racing gives Seb the chance to achieve great things in his career.
“I also drive for Ford so hopefully together we can win our respective races and championships. We want to take this opportunity to write a very special ‘Priaulx’ chapter in Ford’s history.”
For Sebastian, the target is clear: To secure the most coveted championship in British single-seater racing and the 12 FIA Super Licence points which go with it to propel him towards Formula 1.
At Arden he is well placed to achieve this. The Banbury based outfit head into 2018 after three consecutive years of fighting at the front in British F4. 2017 saw them duke it out for both the drivers’ and teams’ titles in the season finale and amass more podiums and pole positions than any other squad.
“Arden’s facilities are very impressive and all the staff are incredibly professional,” enthused Priaulx.
“When I visited the workshop I could get up close and personal with their Formula 2 cars. As a young driver it’s really inspiring to be able to see the next steps on the FIA single-seater pyramid right in front of you.
“Arden is a team that can take you from British F4 all the way up to Formula 2. They can give you the tools to succeed.”
In addition to drawing on the experience and expertise of the Arden team, Priaulx can rely on the support of sponsor 1st Central Insurance. A key player in the car insurance market, 1st Central have become an integral part of Priaulx’s fledgling career, a fact which is not lost on the Guernseyman.
“1st Central Insurance made it possible for me to race in 2017 and have played a crucial part in getting me on the British F4 grid. I’m over the moon to have them as a sponsor.
“To have the support of such a well-respected company gives me a lot of confidence. I want to keep performing, make them proud and have fun along the way.”
Priaulx and Arden’s F4 British Championship certified by FIA – powered by Ford EcoBoost campaign will kick off at Brands Hatch on 7/8 April, 2018.