“It’s a pleasure to welcome and to give a chance to a new, young French coming man in our team” – Jean-Paul Driot
The Formula Renault 3.5 Series preparatory tests finished on 24th November and the French team has already selected one of its two drivers for the 2013 season.
Norman Nato, the first to be announced, will take a big step in 2013 by moving up to the Formula Renault 3.5. He was born on 8th July 1992 in Cannes and straight from the cradle he was immersed in motor sport as his father was a team boss! Thus, it was a logical step for him to make his debut in karts in 2003. The following year he won the French Junior Championship and the French Cadet Champion in 2005. He had a long career in karts reaching world level in 2009.
He then became one of the Equipe de France Circuits FFSA drivers. In 2010 he had his first taste of single-seaters with the Auto Sport Academy and finished second in the championship. He wasted no time and moved up to the Formula Renault 2.0 Eurocup in 2011. After a year’s promising apprenticeship he came fourth this year in the same category with one victory and four podiums. In parallel, Norman filled the runner-up spot in the FR 2.0 ALPS with four victories, eight podiums and five pole positions.
He then had good test sessions in FR 3.5 in Barcelona setting the fastest time, and at Motorland Aragon (3rd and 5th on the final day). These performances convinced DAMS and himself to link their destinies in 2013.
Jean-Paul Driot, CEO: “It’s a pleasure to welcome and to give a chance to a new, young French coming man in our team. Norman had a great career in karts after which he made rapid progress in single-seaters. His test in our car was very convincing as much by his times as by his overall approach to racing with the engineers and the team. So we’re delighted to entrust him with a drive for next season, and I’m certain that he’ll soon be among the front-runners.”
Norman Nato: “I’m obviously very happy to join DAMS and I’d like to thank them for putting their confidence in me. They’re a great team with enormous experience and recognized know-how as well as a top-level engineering staff. The squad has won a raft of titles in different categories and for me it’s the best package possible in FR 3.5. Obviously, there’s a huge difference in performance between FR 3.5 and FR 2.0: in particular in terms of power and acceleration. I’m happy with the November tests; I adapted well and lapped consistently in the top six. Like any driver I race to win and I’m going to try and do that next season. Realistically speaking, however, I’m going to concentrate on learning about Formula 3.5 and do my best to improve as quickly as possible. Between now and the next tests in February I’ll be following an intense fitness training programme to be ready when the championship kicks off! I can’t wait for the 2013 season to begin. Finally, I’d like to thank the RC Formula team for which I drove this year, as well as the FFSA and my partners the Groupe Segond and Enzo Hotels who’ve given me great support.”