Van Amersfoort Racing have announced American-born Reece Ushijima as their first driver in Formula 3.

Ushijima will make the step up from the GB3 Championship after a title-challenging season with Hitech Grand Prix, where he finished fourth with three poles, two wins and seven podiums.

The 19-year-old also competed in the 2021 Asian Formula 3 Championship, ending the year as the second highest-rookie in 11th place.

Ushijima enjoyed a successful F3 debut at post-season testing in Valencia, running for Van Amersfoort on Days 1 and 2, before finishing off the three-day stint at Campos, where he went second fastest in the afternoon session.

“To be racing with such an experienced and successful team as Van Amersfoort Racing is a great privilege,” said Ushijima. “Seeing how motivated and hardworking they were during post-season testing at Valencia has made me really excited to what we can achieve this year.

“It may be an uphill battle, as it is both the team’s and my first year competing in the FIA F3, but I believe we can achieve something special with our combined determination. I cannot wait to get the season started!”

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Ushijima drove for Van Amersfoort on Days 1 and 2 of post-season testing in Valencia
Ushijima drove for Van Amersfoort on Days 1 and 2 of post-season testing in Valencia

Ushijima only began his karting career at the age of 13, initially competing in Japan, before making the switch to Europe. After four years of karting, the American made his single-seater debut in the BRSSC Formula Ford Winter series, qualifying on pole and finishing third and second in the races.

He followed this up by gaining further experience in the 2019 MRF Challenge and the 2020 British F3 series.

Van Amersfoort CEO Rob Niessink added: “We first worked with Reece during post-season testing at Valencia last year and he impressed us. It will be both his and our first season in this car, so for sure there is lots to be learned, but Reece’s determination excites us.

“His interaction with the team was impressive and he showed to be a quick learner. The level of progress he booked during the two days he tested with us is a clear indicator of his potential. We have been preparing our entry into this category to the finest detail and are absolutely thrilled to get going early next month!”