Oakes, aged 22 from Norfolk, joins the team after a successful test at the Catalunya track, near Barcelona, earlier this month. He had offers from several GP3 teams before opting for Atech CRS, which is a joint venture between the successful British Atech GP and CRS Racing squads.
After winning a World Karting title in 2005, Oakes’s career in cars had unfortunately stalled. He was one of a group of Red Bull junior drivers to be victims of a cull of the team’s young-driver programme, and his comeback British Formula 3 campaign with Carlin Motorsport in 2009 was aborted due to contractual difficulties.
Since last autumn, Oakes has been taken on by the new Accelerate Driver Development management group, run by motorsport experts Graeme Glew, John Byfield and Kieren Crawley, a trio with a combined total of more than 70 years’ experience in the sport.
“We have spent the past couple of months negotiating and testing with GP3 teams,” said Oakes. “Last week at the Barcelona test I felt both me and the Atech team made a lot of progress, so this is the team I will be relaunching my racing career with!”
Atech team principal David Hayle added: “We have been chasing Oliver for some time to drive with our team, and last week in Barcelona we made some good progress with him. He has had a lot of bad luck in the past couple of years, so we are expecting him to be up there in what will prove to be an extremely competitive championship.”
The GP3 Series is a brand-new initiative, comprising eight rounds, six of which support Formula 1 Grands Prix, including the British GP at Silverstone on July 10/11. It is designed as the third step on the motorsport ladder, below Formula 1 and the GP2 Series. Drivers will compete in identical Dallara chassis powered by Renault turbo engines, with fields of approximately 30 drivers – many of whom are champions in junior categories – expected.
Accelerate Driver Development - Media