News 01 Dec 2015

Hitech GP gets back-up from Aotech

New Formula 3 team Hitech Grand Prix has struck an engineering deal with AOTech, a sister company to single-seater powerhouse ART Grand Prix.

The engineering company, jointly founded by ART boss Frederic Vasseur and OAK Racing LMP chief Jacques Nicolet, will provide engineering support to Hitech, which will run a three-car team of Dallara-Mercedes in next season’s F3 European Championship.

AOTech director Guillaume le Goff told Autosport: “We are collaborating in three areas.

“We are doing work on our simulator in France; we are collaborating also on aero, on-track and off-track, with also a lot of CFD work; and also there will be some on-track engineering consulting – we have had two race engineers going with the team to tests since September.”

ART won six consecutive titles in the old F3 Euro Series from 2004-09, including in its former guise of ASM, before pulling out of the category at the end of 2010.

It is understood that Hitech’s deal with AOTech is for two years, with an option of a third.

The relationship between the parties goes back to Hitech boss David Hayle’s earlier team Hitech Racing, which he established for 2003 with cars bought from Vasseur’s French F3 title-winning ASM squad.

Hitech GP has further strengthened its engineering force by recruiting former Prema Powerteam technical director John McGill.

Anglo-Dutchman McGill, formerly at the BAR, Benetton/Renault and Toro Rosso F1 teams, voluntarily stepped back into a straight engineering role at Prema for 2015, when he ran Jake Dennis to third in the championship.

He started with Hitech at the beginning of November, so missed the Macau Grand Prix.

Hayle said:

“John wanted a new challenge and saw us as that, and we wanted someone with as much experience as we could get – thankfully for us he decided he’d like to give it a go!”

Hitech continues its testing programme at Barcelona this week.

Euro F3 race winner George Russell and Formula Renault NEC graduate Nikita Mazepin, both of whom look likely to join the team for 2016, are joined by Callum Ilott, who like Russell has raced for Carlin this season.