Kimiya Sato and Andrea Roda have become the first two drivers to be officially announced for the 2013 season of the Auto GP World Series.
Roda was announced as a Virtuosi UK driver on Monday, while the next day Euronova Racing confirmed Sato as one of their drivers.
At 23, the Japanese racer is one of the most experienced juniors in single-seaters, having raced in different classes of F3 since 2009. In 2011, Sato finished tenth in F3 Euro Series, securing a win at Zandvoort during the campaign. The next year he was third in German F3, leading the standings at one point but falling behind both the eventual champion Jimmy Eriksson and rookie Lucas Auer closer to the end of the season.
Regarding his switch to Auto GP, Sato said: “I am very happy to be racing in Auto GP with Euronova Racing for the 2013 season. I want to say thank you very much to everyone who has worked hard to help me and who has supported me during my career so far. I will do my best to be a title contender this year and look forward to an exciting season”.
The 22-year-old Italian is also somewhat of a junior single-seater veteran, although his successes have been less noticeable than Sato’s. After spending two years in Formula Renault 2.0 Italy, achieving one podium in 2009, he went on to participate in the now-defunct Italian F3. After finishing 12th in the standings in 2011, he graduated to the F3 Euro Series, where he ended up 13th with 15 points in total.
Concerning his move to the series, Roda commented: “I’m very happy to take this adventure with the team Virtuosi UK, I am confident that we will do well together. It’s going to be hard but the first goal is a place onto the podium, then we see what happens”.
Sato’s new team, Euronova Racing, was third in the teams’ standings of the 2012 Auto GP season, with their most successful driver, Russian youngster Sergey Sirotkin, finishing the season third in the individual standings.
Meanwhile, Virtuosi UK finished that same year one place behind Euronova with their main driver Pal Varhaug becoming the series vice-champion.