Dubai-based teenager Shahaan Engineer is delighted to officially confirm his participation in the 2012 Certina Formula Renault 2.0 UK Championship after agreeing a deal with multiple title winning team Fortec Motorsports.
Remaining with the Daventry-based squad for his first full year of car racing competition, having debuted with Fortec last November in the six round Protyre Formula Renault 2.0 UK ‘Finals Series’, the 16-year-old will be one of the youngest and least experienced drivers in the ultra-competitive championship which begins on 31st March/1st April at Brands Hatch in Kent.
Currently competing in New Zealand’s Toyota Racing Series to gain essential mileage and seat time ahead of the main 2012 Formula Renault UK season, Indian-born Shahaan is relishing the chance to continue his relationship with Fortec.
Utterly dominant last year, winning the driver and team Formula Renault UK titles, the Richard Dutton-led squad will provide the Indian with the best schooling possible in a championship which has produced the likes of FIA Formula One World Champions Kimi Raikkonen and Lewis Hamilton.
“It’s fantastic to be back racing with Fortec this year in Formula Renault UK”, said Shahaan, “There’s no doubt it’s the best team in the championship and I can’t wait for pre-season testing to start. It’ll be an unbelievably tough season, it’s such a competitive championship, but by racing with the best drivers and being with the champion team I’ll be able to learn a huge amount.”
Dubai-domiciled Shahaan only started his motor racing career in 2008 when he took the UAE karting scene by storm. In his first race in the Middle East Karting Cup, aged only 12, the young rookie took a superb victory by six seconds – a massive margin in karting terms.
Debuting in Europe only two months later, he ran in the top order immediately against experienced drivers two and three years his senior. In 2010, Shahaan arrived in the UK to compete in the Formula One Management-backed Formula Kart Stars series and starred on his debut – qualifying third and finishing fifth on his first weekend, the youngster’s talent was clear to see.
Last year, the decision to rapidly progress into single-seater car racing was taken. Making a huge impression on the Fortec Motorsports squad during his first ever test in a Formula Renault BARC car at the challenging Oulton Park, so impressive was his performance Shahaan was advised to forego the club-level series and debut instead in the full national-level Formula Renault UK series.
Joining Fortec for the winter ‘Finals Series’, the debutant qualified an outstanding eighth out of 29 competitors during his maiden session and went on to take five strong points-scoring results from the six races contested.
“Shahaan's had a successful career in karting and his performances in the Finals Series demonstrated that he is more than capable of having a strong season with us”, said Fortec’s Formula Renault UK team manager Alex Fleming, “Although still very young, he is extremely focused and I’m sure that his hard work will pay off this season.”
Shahaan has one event remaining in the Toyota Racing Series, next weekend (11th/12th February) at Manfeild Autocourse in New Zealand. From there, he will return to the UK in readiness for his testing programme with Fortec ahead of the 2012 Certina Formula Renault 2.0 UK Championship season.