Christchurch 16-year-old Marcus Armstrong has confirmed he will contest the Italian and German Formula 4 championships with leading race organisation Prema Powerteam.
"I'm very pleased to be working with Prema Powerteam for the 2017 season. They are defending German Formula 4 champions and their approach is professional, analytic and results-focussed," said Armstrong.
"There is a huge amount of knowledge and experience within the team."
Fresh from finishing fourth overall on debut in New Zealand's Castrol Toyota Racing Series, Armstrong will join Brazilian driver Enzo Fittipaldi (15), grandson of two-time Formula One champion Emerson.
The young Kiwi has a busy year of racing ahead. The Italian and German Formula 4 championships run over seven rounds from 2 April - 22 October with three races per round. He will be racing for 14 weekends between April and October, fitting preparation and other work into that schedule. The two championships often race on alternate weekends, enabling drivers to contest both.
Armstrong says he is unfazed by the prospect of such a busy schedule.
"One of the big benefits of TRS was its similarly intense format - five weekends in a row, fifteen races in total. For any race driver it's important to get as much competitive time as possible, just as it is essential to have the support of a professional team environment. With this announcement we are fortunate to have both," he said.
Armstrong spent 2016 racing karts in Europe at the very highest level, testing formula cars at key circuits and the embarked on a limited campaign in Formula Renault 2.0 and British F3 at year end to familiarize himself with 'wings and slicks' cars before entering the the 2017 Castrol Toyota Racing Series.
In his single seater championship debut, Armstrong finished third with three race wins, and eight podium finishes including runner-up to M2 Competition teammate Jehan Daruvala in the 62nd New Zealand Grand Prix at Circuit Chris Amon near Feilding.
The Kiwi is the first to have been inducted into the Ferrari Driver Academy, which has sent a steady stream of drivers to contest TRS since 2012 including Raffaele Marciello, Guanyu Zhou, Lance Stroll and Brandon Maisano.
Prema has been a major force in Formula 4 since the introduction of the FIA category, with then-Ferrari junior Lance Stroll and Ralf Aron delivering Italian F4 titles in 2014 and 2015 respectively. Armstrong joins a strong list of drivers before him who have succeeded with the team including FIA European Formula Three champions Marciello (2013, most recently contesting GP2 with the Russian Time team) Stroll (2016, now a Williams Formula One driver), as well as Schumacher and Aron.