Double GP3 Series race winner and former McLaren Autosport BRDC Award finalist Jake Hughes has this morning, Monday, 19th December, been confirmed at Hitech GP for the 2017 FIA Formula 3 European Championship. Hughes, who ended this year’s GP3 Series eighth in the championship with two wins to his credit including a terrific final round victory in Abu Dhabi, joins the previously announced Ralf Aron and Nikita Mazepin as part of Hitech’s strong three car attack in FIA F3 for next season. He also made two outings in Formula 3 in 2016 with the most notable being an impressive showing on his FIA F3 European Championship debut in the final round at Hockenheim, securing two front row starts and a podium finish. In the prestigious end-of-year Macau Formula 3 Grand Prix, Hughes finished sixth and best rookie.
After completing several successful test days in one of Hitech GP’s potent Dallara-Mercedes F3 challengers in recent weeks, the 22-year-old from Birmingham is now relishing the prospect of mounting a sustained championship challenge in key feeder category FIA F3. “I can’t wait for next season”, said Hughes, “I’m extremely happy to be racing with Hitech GP in the FIA Formula 3 European Championship in 2017, I’ve loved every minute in the car during testing and get on so well with all of the guys in the team, we all work really well together. I have always rated F3 highly – clearly, you get a lot of track time and also the opportunity to put yourself in front of a lot of influential people.
“For me, even though it’ll be my first full season in FIA F3, and you never stop learning, I have a good feel for the car and how competitive we could be. I will be up against several very strong second year drivers and championship-winning teams, but will do my utmost to be a contender.”
After a brief karting career Hughes arrived in car racing in 2013 and delivered an outstanding campaign in BRDC Formula 4 to become the new category’s inaugural champion, leading to a nomination for that year’s McLaren Autosport BRDC Award. Graduating into European competition the following year in Formula Renault, Hughes was invited onto the BMW Motorsport Junior Driver programme and in 2015 continued his progression with race victories in Eurocup Formula Renault and Formula Renault 2.0 Alps. Notably, he was a finalist in that year’s McLaren Autosport BRDC Award.
Commenting on Hughes’ arrival at Hitech GP, team principal Oliver Oakes said: “We are extremely pleased to have signed Jake for next season. He’s a driver who has impressed us, not just in his one-off appearances in F3 but also the job he has done in GP3 this year. Jake has fitted in really well with the team over the winter tests we’ve completed and I am looking forward to us challenging for honours in 2017. He’s clearly a very capable, adaptable and quick young driver and will be one to watch for sure next season in FIA F3.”