Rafael Villagomez will race in British and French Formula 4 this year after winning the second edition of the Richard Mille Young Talent Academy shootout.
The Mexican karter, who raced for shootout partner Birel ART in KZ2 shifter karts last year, triumphed over 16 other teenaged drivers from 14 countries over three days of tricky weather conditions at Le Mans early last December.
Drivers, picked by Birel ART distributors and the factory kart team, were tested on physical, mental and media skills, and drove the Mygale chassis used in French F4.
Villagomez has also signed a deal with Fortec Motorsports to contest eight of the 10 British F4 rounds. He will miss the Brands Hatch Indy round early in the season and the Silverstone International round late in the year.
?I?m happy to announce that I will be joining Fortec Motorsport for the 2020 F4 British Championship,? said Villagomez.
?It will be my first year moving from karting and joining a team like Fortec is very exciting, I?ve already tested with the team and the feeling was great. I can?t wait to keep working with them and keep on improving throughout my first year.”
The Mexican’s shootout success came in difficult conditions, with fog meaning drivers initially had to set laps in the French F4 cars behind the safety car, before they were free to lap for two 30-minute sessions.
Seven drivers made it to the final phase of the shootout, with Villagomez being joined by NACAM F4 frontrunner Pablo Perez de Lara and one-time F4 South East Asia racer Shrien Naidoo, French Junior karting champion Craig Tanic, F1600 racer Mac Clark, Greece’s Giorgios Markogiannis and Thailand’s Satumno Thanapongpan.
These seven had one final 15-minute session in the fog, which concluded in Villagomez being declared winner.
“Rafael Villagomez undoubtedly made the difference by making steady progress over the two days,” said Birel ART president Ronni Sala.
“This second edition of the Richard Mille Young Talent Academy confirmed the great interest in its concept by giving young kart racers racing under the colours of Birel ART a great opportunity to prepare for their move to single-seaters.
I salute the impeccable behaviour of every participant and wish Rafael, our 2019 winner, every success.”