Manning gets BAR test drive

Formula 1 team British American Racing has announced that F3 star Darren Manning will join the outfit as test driver in 2000.

Manning gets BAR test drive

Manning, who tested for Williams at Jerez last week, will join new BAR engine partner Honda's test programme, with a view to honing his skills and preparing for a full-time seat in F1.

'I've had my eye on Darren for three or four years now,' said BAR race operations director Rick Gorne.

'His performances in the British Formula Three Championship in 1998 were impressive, and he then moved to the All-Japan Formula Three Championship this year, where he dominated.

'His drive in Macau at the end of the season served to underline his ability - he took pole position, led every lap and won both heats of the race.

'The last time anyone did that was 16 years ago, and the driver was Ayrton Senna.'

Manning, who told Autosport Online he felt ready for F1 after testing last week, said he is sure he can help BAR to produce a good car.

''I'm confident I can do a good job for team,' he said, 'and look forward to working with the engineers to help develop the British American Racing Honda into a winning car.

'Hopefully, if I do a good enough job, I will graduate to the race team. It's a wonderful opportunity and I can't wait to get started.'

The BAR test drive means Manning out of the running for Alex Zanardi's seat at the Williams team.

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