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21 Feb 2013

Established single-seater star Jake Cook will make the transition to the Protyre Formula Renault Championship this year after today, Thursday, 21st February, confirming a deal with front-running team Hillspeed.

Arriving in the hugely competitive series after three successful seasons in the Dunlop MSA Formula Ford Championship of Great Britain, where the 19-year-old was Vice-Champion last year, Cook will spearhead Hillspeed’s bid to reclaim the Protyre Formula Renault title it won in 2010.

“We’re over the moon to have agreed a deal with Jake to race with Hillspeed this year, he’s a very talented young driver and we’re sure he’s going to be a consistent challenger in Protyre Formula Renault”, said team principal Richard Ollerenshaw.

“I’ve kept a close eye on Jake’s progress through Ginetta Junior and Formula Ford and he’s always been someone we wanted in the team. Our relationship with the Cook family, and in particular Paula [Cook – Jake’s aunty and manager], stretches back many years so it’s fantastic to finally be able to work with them in Formula Renault.”

Newcastle University student Cook, who originally hails from Rotherham, won the inaugural Racing Steps Foundation MSA (Motor Sports Association) Young Driver of the Year award at the conclusion of 2010 after an excellent debut season in Formula Ford.

Unlike the vast majority of his peers, the Yorkshireman didn’t arrive in car racing off the back of a lengthy karting career – his full debut came in Ginetta Junior in 2008. The following season, Cook established himself as a true front-runner from the outset and claimed eight race wins, two other podiums, five fastest race laps and eight pole positions en route to becoming Vice-Champion.

Switching to single-seaters in 2010 with a move into British Formula Ford, the youngster memorably climbed the podium at Zandvoort in The Netherlands during his first international race weekend and rounded-out the year inside the championship top 10.

Hopes of making a title push in 2011 were badly impacted by a major mid-season collision, which irreparably damaged his hopes. Making the tough decision to sit out the remainder of the campaign, Cook returned in 2012 and became Vice-Champion with two wins and 12 other podiums during the first year of action for the new EcoBoost chassis. He also won one race in the Formula Ford EuroCup.

“We didn’t actually think we’d be racing at all this season”, said Cook, “But Richard [Ollerenshaw] has put a good deal together for us and we’ve managed to find enough funds to be on the grid in Renault with Hillspeed this year. I’m really pleased to be racing as it really looked like we wouldn’t be this year, the plan after last year was to step-up from Ford and I definitely see this as a step-up.

“I’ve only ever had one brief run in the Renault, about three years ago when I came out of Ginetta, but the plan is to get some testing in at the end of this month and go from there – I’m only in it to try and win it. Hillspeed has won the championship before and the Renault is a proven, reliable car so I’m looking forward to it.”

Cook joins fellow Briton Matt Rao at Hillspeed for the 2013 Protyre Formula Renault Championship season which will begin at Donington Park in the East Midlands over the weekend 13th/14th April.