- Experienced F4 racers Rafael Martins and Luis Leeds join the team
- Seats also for karting graduates Jack Martin and Ayrton Simmons
- Team boss Horner says another competitive season is in prospect
11 DECEMBER, 2015 – Brazilian talent Rafael Martins is set to continue his MSA Formula career next season with the TRS Arden team, joining championship newcomers Luis Leeds, Jack Martin and Ayrton Simmons in a four-car assault on the Ford EcoBoost-powered series.
Australian Leeds, 15, is a fresh signing to the Red Bull Junior programme and arrives in the UK with experience of the Mygale-Ford EcoBoost chassis thanks to successful outings in the Australian F4 Championship. Britons Martin, 15, and Simmons, currently 14, have extensive karting CVs.
Rafael Martins, who turns 17 in February, made a big impression in MSA Formula last season – his first season of car racing – scoring two overall podium finishes on his way to championship ninth with SWB Motorsport. Said Rafa: “I am very happy to join this great team that finished second in the MSA Formula Championship. I believe I had a great rookie year with a smaller team, and I’m sure with TRS Arden I will have every opportunity to compete for wins and the championship from the start to the finish of the season. I just want to thank everyone who believes in me and supports me to be able to be part of this great team.”
Ben Bloomfield, TRS Arden’s F4 team manager, said the team was delighted to have all its drivers signed for the coming season: “We have two drivers coming to Arden with experience from Formula 4 and two rookies who have had very competitive seasons in karting. They both tested very well with the team and impressed with their level of skill, determination and professionalism in their approach to the cars. We are looking forward to another strong and competitive season in 2016.”
TRS Arden claimed nine MSA Formula race wins in 2015 courtesy drivers Ricky Collard (the championship runner-up), Sandy Mitchell and Rookie champion Enaam Ahmed. Garry Horner, the CEO and team principal, said: “We are absolutely delighted with our signings for the upcoming season in MSA Formula. With these four talented young drivers, we are sure we have the right line-up to have a very competitive and successful season.”
Luis Leeds claimed two wins and nine podium finishes in his first season of single-seater racing at home in Australia, and enjoyed a career highlight last month when he won the opening race of the new Mexico F4 Series at the Mexican Grand Prix. “I am ecstatic to be given the opportunity by Red Bull to be a part of the TRS Arden F4 team and to race in MSA Formula,” he said. “Thank you so much to the Red Bull Junior Team and Dr Marko for setting this up and helping me to pursue my dream of racing in Formula 1. Racing in this year’s Australian F4 and Formula Ford Championships has introduced me into the world of open-wheel racing. I believe that I will head into 2016 with a great team providing me with the car and support that I need.”
Jack Martin joins the team following a season in EuroMax international karting and the British SuperOne Championship, where he enjoyed several top-10 finishes. The British driver joined the Young Racing Driver Academy, partnered by Arden, in 2013 and has performed progressively in testing with Arden’s MSA Formula team. “I am very excited to join TRS Arden for my first season in single seater racing,” said Jack. “I have moved on from karting this year and spent the last few months focusing on testing in cars. I have spent some time working with the Arden team already, having been with their young driver programme since 2013, so it was the natural choice to select Arden to race with next year.”
Ayrton Simmons, who will not reach MSA Formula’s required minimum age of 15 until the end of April, has participated in the SuperOne and Rotax Euro Challenge Championships this year. He finished fifth of 48 competitors in his first outing at the MSA Kart Masters GP at the UK’s largest kart track, PFI. Said Simmons: “I am very happy for this opportunity to do what I love. I know it will be a complicated season because I will miss two rounds but I will do my best and I’m very grateful to have the team’s trust. Thank you to all the YRDA staff for the good work getting me ready for the change to single seaters, and to my family and sponsors because I couldn’t do this without their support.”
The opening rounds of MSA Formula – Certified by FIA, Powered by Ford EcoBoost are set for Brands Hatch in early April. The series is Britain’s official version of the FIA’s Formula 4 concept and was introduced this season as a supporting series on the live-televised British Touring Car Championship package.