Up And Comers

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Yet another extraordinary young New Zealand motor racing talent, 16-year-old Mitch Evans, is this weekend about to find out if he can take his Australasian open-wheel dominance into Europe.

He heads to the opening round of his GP3 campaign this weekend in Istanbul, Turkey, with high hopes of doing well both for himself and his MW Arden team.

Pre-season testing has gone well for Evans, who has never driven a GP3 car before, consistently vying for the fastest lap times among many more established drivers.

Evans has turned heads with his speed and race craft here in New Zealand, in Australia and in his forays further abroad. So much so that Red Bull F1 driver Mark Webber, his manager Ann Webber, and Red Bull team principal Christian Horner all agree he's the young man with the right fit for their MW Arden GP3 team.

"It's absolutely incredible to get the opportunity, to be honest," said Evans. "To have someone from the F1 paddock, especially a driver, mentoring me is incredible.

"I'm really looking forward to the first race and seeing how I rate up against the overseas drivers."

If those three think a young Kiwi driver may have the goods to go all the way, motor racing fans in New Zealand should keep an eye on Evans' progress this season.

He arrives in Turkey this weekend as the Toyota Racing Series champion and the youngest driver to win the New Zealand Grand Prix. In doing so he also became the youngest driver in the world to win an international FIA-recognised Grand Prix.

This result came hot on the heels of Evans winning the International Young Driver of the Year in 2009 and he was pipped for the overall Driver of the Year title by Formula One drivers Sebastien Vettel and Jenson Button.

High praise indeed for someone so young about to embark on his next big adventure.

Racing in a support class for the blue riband of motorsport, Evans is perfectly placed for the movers and shakers of F1, if he does well, to take note that he may be a star of the future.

"I met Mitch for the first time at last year's Australian Grand Prix and was amazed at how switched on he was. When I was at that age, I was only karting and was barely thinking about Formula One - it shows how much things have changed over the years," said Webber.

"At this very early stage he is displaying all the right ingredients and characteristics to be successful at the highest level and he has some great people behind him who I'm certain will do everything to ensure he fulfils his dream. It's really important that he chooses his next steps carefully and I'm looking forward to playing my part by using my own personal experiences and contacts to make the move as seamless as possible, and helping his development on and off the track."

Having attended Motorsport New Zealand's Elite Motorsport Academy in Dunedin, Evans has an understanding that it's a holistic approach to motor racing that enables a driver to reach the heights of international competition. And as such he is at pains to mention that without the support of his parents and many sponsors including the influential (especially in motorsport circles) Giltrap family, the task would have been even more difficult.

"All my sponsors have been great and without my Mum and Dad and the likes of the Giltraps, gen-i and Banklink I doubt everything would have happened.

"I'm really excited to be racing with MW Arden in the 2011 GP3 Series. The test in Estoril went well and we are really happy joining the team as they are very professional. I'm looking forward to working with them in my first year of racing in Europe.

"It's certainly going to be a very tough series and a steep learning curve as I've not raced at any of these circuits before but I'm looking forward to the challenge and the whole experience of living in Europe," said Evans.

By Eric Thompson

Edited by HandyNZL

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Mitch is friggin quick...and a quick learner. I expect he'll do well in GP3 and it won't be long before his name is mentioned as a driver for F1

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Mitch takes his maiden win in the first race at Barcelona having qual'ed on pole (on a track he's never been on before)

The boy's got game.

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conected with RedBull and win from pole? did he shout:'that's what i am talking about' and point a finger when he got out of car?:blink:

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GO MITCHY! Mitch takes third in race one at Valencia and moves into the SERIES LEAD...go you good thing....GP2 next year...F1 in 2013 for Red Bull alongside Vettel...(that being my masterplan to destroy Seb Vettel...muwhahahaha!!!)

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