Lotus Renault has announced its three drivers for the Abu Dhabi young driver test.
Stepping into the R31 during the three-day test will be Robert Wickens (Tuesday), Kevin Korjus (Wednesday) and Jan Charouz (Thursday).
Wickens, who is taking part in FP1 at the weekend for virgin, is widely recognised as the brightest Canadian driving talent to emerge for two decades. In 2009 he finished in second place in the FIA Formula Two Championship, and in 2010 he was runner-up in the GP3 Series. In his return to Formula Renault 3.5, where he competed in 2008, he won the 2011 season championship with Carlin Motorsport.
Korjus is the current World Series by Renault driver. The Estonian 18 year old was the 2010 Formula Renault 2.0 Eurocup champion. This year, he became the youngest driver to win a race in Formula Renault 3.5 Series.
Charouz, one of LRGP's third drivers, won the 2009 Le Mans Series season and 2006 F3000 International Masters season, as well as taking fourth place in the 2009 24 Hours of Le Mans. Since 2010, he is LRGP's reserve driver and also competed in the World Series by Renault Formula Renault 3.5 Championship and Auto GP.
"The young driver test in Abu Dhabi in is a great opportunity for us to cast our eyes over potential future stars of the sport," said Eric Boullier. With a plethora of young hopefuls out there, we hope to spot very strong contenders for future F1 seats. As the season draws to a close, this three day test will pit the wits of the three drivers against this challenging circuit. We look forward to seeing how they get on."
"I'm really excited," said Wickens. "I think it's every kid's dream to drive a Formula 1 car. I can't wait to drive the Lotus Renault on Tuesday; I have been waiting a long time. Obviously I'm confident having won the Formula Renault 3.5 Championship; that was a big achievement for me and it just proves to myself I'm capable of doing something like this. I feel like I'm ready for Formula 1 and I think driving the car in Abu Dhabi will be kind of a true test. All year, my goal in World Series was to win the Championship and to get this drive, so hopefully I can make the most of the opportunity and put in some competitive lap times."
"It's the most exciting moment of my life and now, as it's only a few days left, I'm really looking forward to it," added Korjus. "I will be driving on the Wednesday and I'm very much looking forward to this event. It will be such a huge experience for me. I was in Enstone last week to ensure my seat and meet all the guys, and I also learned a little bit about the steering wheel because there are so many patterns - it was a lot to take in. I also talked with the engineers about what we are going to do in Abu Dhabi. It will be my first ever time in a F1 car and my first time in the emirate. Everything is new for me and it's extremely exciting to learn about it. I'm ready to get in the car."
"I'm very excited to go to Abu Dhabi," said Charouz. "It is a great opportunity to get some mileage in the R31 this year. I have been doing some driving but nothing in this year's car yet, so I'm very excited to do that and also to work with the race team."