Team Lotus expands Young Driver Program

2 April 2011 

Team Lotus has expanded its Young Driver Development Program to now include seven drivers, up from two in 2010.

The program is a joint initiative between AirAsia and Team Lotus, aimed at discovering new talent within motorsports.

The 2011 program consists of Alexander Rossi, Tanart Sathienthirakul, Matt Parry, Max Klinkby-Silver, Weiron Tan, Senna Iriawan and Daim Hishamuddin. Information on all seven driver's can be found below.

The announcement was made during a demo run in Putrajaya in which AirAsia and announced a sponsorship extension with Team Lotus after supporting them during their rookie year.

Riad Asmat, Team Lotus CEO and GP2 Team AirAsia Team Principal added: "On behalf of Team Lotus and Team AirAsia I am absolutely delighted that we have now unveiled the Team Lotus AirAsia Driver Development Program.

"Since the very first days of Team Lotus we have wanted to give young drivers from Asia and around the world the chance to develop their talents and use our experience to help them achieve their goals, on and off track.

"Through Team Lotus in F1 and Team AirAsia in GP2 we have the perfect platforms to provide aspiring World Champions with a clear route to the very top and with AirAsia as our key partner in the Program we have a team of people to call on whose core philosophy is about making dreams come true."

Young Driver Information:

Alexander Rossi, 19 years-old from California, USA.

Alexander is a graduate of the Skip Barber Racing School; the world’s largest racing school where he competed in the Skip Barber National Championship in 2006. He finished third overall in the series and with seven wins, Alexander became the youngest race winner for the race series at the age of 14.

In 2007, the teenager finished third overall at the Formula BMW Americas series. He returned to the series the following year and was crowned champion of the 2008 season after winning 10 races. He then went on to win the Formula BMW World Champion in the same year and won a test with the BMW F1 team as his reward.

2009 saw Alexander making his way to Europe where he competed in the International Formula Master where he finished fourth and was the highest placed rookie in the series.

The youngster then made his way into the GP3 in 2010 to race for the ART Grand Prix team and ended the season with two wins and in fourth place in the overall standings.

In 2011 Alexander will be competing in the very competitive World Series by Renault.

Tanart Sathienthirakul, 18 years-old from Thailand.

Touted as the best driving talent to come out of Thailand since Prince Bira, the champion junior karter for the Asian Karting Open Championship has been race karting in Europe for the last two years in the KF2 class.

Last year, he won the final round of the CIK-FIA World Championship and finished 6th overall. For 2011, he will continue in racing in the highly competitive KF2 championship in Europe.

Matt Parry, 17 years-old from the United Kingdom.

Matt’s foray into motor sports began with motocross bikes when he was eight and it was two years later when he decided that he preferred go-karts instead.

Said to be one of the emerging talents from the UK and number one on Motoring News’ list for the top 50 drivers to look out for, Matt was the 2009 Formula Kart Stars champion where he dominated the series right from the start. The same year also saw him start the Rotax World Finals in pole position where he finished in second place.

In 2010, Matt led the standings of the prestigious Super 1 British Championship throughout the season before being crowned champion. This year he is moving up to cars with the Works Van Diemen team in European and British Formula Ford.

Max Klinkby-Silver, 16 years-old from Denmark.

Born in the UK to an English Father and Danish Mother, Max got his first go-kart when he was 12 years-old and started racing competitively in 2006.

He has grown into one of the most exciting kart talents around and in 2008 he moved from the junior category to the KF3 class. Last year he competed in the Master and the WSK Euro KF2 Championship.

Max is currently with team JRP and is competing in the International KF2 category and he recently qualified in Pole position for the prestigious Winter Cup out of 102 KF2 drivers.

Weiron Tan, 16 years-old from Malaysia.

Although Weiron only started karting at 13, in three short years he has become one of the most exciting karting talents from Malaysia. In 2010, Weiron won the Yamaha International Challenge at the age of 15 although the competition was meant for those 17 and above. The same year also saw him emerge as the runner of the Asian Karting Open Championship in the KF2 category. For this year, Weiron will compete in Europe with the Works Kosmic Kart team.

Senna Iriawan, 14 years-old from Indonesia.

Recipient of Rookie of the Year Award (Junior Class) at the 2009 Indonesian Karting Award, Senna is seen as one of the most promising talents from the country.

In 2010, he won the Asian Karting Open Championship (KF3 category) and also emerged as the Indonesian Junior Championship. Like Daim, Senna will be spending 2011 between Europe and Asia to gain more exposure and experience.

Daim Hishamuddin, 12 years-old from Singapore.

The first to join the AATLDDP, Daim started fun-karting at the age of eight and just two years later as a rookie, the youngster impressed many after being crowned the Yamaha SL Cadet Cup champion in 2008.

The following year, he continued his success by emerging as champion in the Rotax Max Challenge Asia in the Micromax category. In 2010, Daim completed a hat trick by winning the Yamaha SL Cadet Cup to give him three championships in a row. In 2011 the 13 year-old will be in racing in Europe for the first time in the KF3 category and will also be racing in the Asian Karting Open Championship.