Priaulx to get F1 test

British tin-top ace Andy Priaulx will take part in a Formula 1 test for the BMW Williams team early next year as a prize for winning the FIA European Touring Car Championship this season for BMW. The Guernseyman has also been awarded a rolling factory contract with the German manufacturer

Priaulx to get F1 test

Priaulx, who was named the British competition driver of the year at last Sunday's Autosport Awards, has not been told exactly when he will test for Williams, although it could take place as early as January at Valencia in Spain.

"I think it's a thank you for winning the ETCC this year," he told "I couldn't believe it when they [BMW] told me. It's a great opportunity and I intend to take it seriously. They have told me they are going to take it seriously and I want to do the same."

"It's meant to be a half-day session. You don't get that many opportunities like this so I am going to do my best to make sure I get the most out of this. I'll have to start hanging the weights off my neck again! Funnily enough though the M3 works the neck a bit so I'm not that out of shape!"

Priaulx, who has driven for the RBM-run BMW Team Great Britain in the ETCC for the last two years - and will continue to do so in 2005, won the title at the final round in Dubai having gone into the event behind series leader and works BMW driver Dirk Muller.

"It's been an incredible year and I am having the time of my life!" he said. "To win the championship was one thing, but then the announcement of the works contract and then the F1 test - it feels a bit like a roller-coaster ride at the moment, but this is what I have worked hard for and I want to make the most of it."

Priaulx has admitted that he can't wait to defend his title in a series which next year becomes a fully-endorsed FIA world championship: "I think the championship has got a hype about it that is very exciting. The BTCC 10 years ago was the place outside of F1 that you wanted to be and I think this now is starting to look like a series that you would want to be in outside F1.

"We will see where it takes off, with more manufacturers coming in it is only going to get stronger, it has got the big names so the racing is really close. It has got a future. I just hope that the manufacturers continue to commit to the series, it produces excellent racing.

"My goal is to come out of the season and feel that I have done the best job, won some races and been up there, maybe been the best BMW driver. The rest is destiny and who knows what can happen? It would be great to win the world championship and to have that name. It is possible, but I don't know how possible."

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