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Formula Renault 3.5

2012 Eurocup Formula Renault 2.0 champion Stoffel Vandoorne enjoyed an especially productive February. As well as topping the timesheets with Fortec Motorsports at this year’s opening Formula Renault 3.5 Series collective testing session at Motorland Aragon, the Belgian also signed for the McLaren Young Driver Programme. We talk to him about a career that is on the up and up.

The first testing session of the year and the fastest time – you’ve already made your mark on Formula Renault 3.5.
It’s been a pretty long winter so it’s good to be at the top of the standings right from day one. It was difficult to judge how we were doing in the morning because the track was drying, but we saw in the afternoon that the work he’d done in the winter had been well worthwhile. I’m happy and we’re heading in the right direction.

What have you been up to over the winter break?
It’s a time of year when you have to work on your physical fitness. You’re not driving and you have to think first and foremost about preparing for the season.

How did your move to the McLaren Young Driver Programme come about?
We’ve been in contact since the middle of the 2011 season. I met Alexander Wurz at the FIA Institute Young Driver Excellence Academy and it was he who put us in touch. Their team started to follow my progress after that and I presented my results to them at the end of 2011. McLaren sporting director Sam Michael set up a meeting at the factory in early 2012 and McLaren followed me throughout my World Series by Renault season. Then, two days after I won the Eurocup Formula Renault 2.0 title, they asked me to join the McLaren Young Driver Programme.

Is your next objective to drive in Formula One?
I have to take things step by step and I’m focusing on Formula Renault 3.5 Series for the time being. It’s going to be a very tight championship and it won’t be an easy one to win.

Official Renault Sport Press Release.

Posted: 06 March 2013
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