Fresh from a stellar debut motor racing season in Asia, young Auckland racing driver Dominic Storey has impressed the UK's top Formula 3 team with his times at a test in Wales.
Storey, 17, flew to the UK immediately after the final round of the 2006 Formula BMW Asia series in China, and spent a day at the Pembrey circuit in south-Wales with the Raikkonen Robertson Formula 3 team.
Raikkonen Robertson Racing, which is part owned by Formula 1 driver Kimi Raikkonen, is now the UK's top Formula 3 team, having just won the 2006 Lloyds TSB Insurance British Formula 3 Championship title with British driver Mike Conway.
Storey was invited to test for the team after its manager, Anthony Hieatt, flew to China to help friend Mark Goddard, the proprietor of Eurasia Motorsport, run Storey and teammate Daniel Ricciardo at the final round of the 2006 Formula BMW Asia Championship.
Impressed by Storey's pace and dedication Hieatt invited him to take a detour on his way home to attend a scheduled team test day at Pembrey.
Storey completed four sessions of 20 laps each in the Mercedez Benz-power Dallara F306 campaigned this year for the team by Bruno Senna, nephew of the late, great Ayrton Senna.
Though it was his first time in a pukka 2-litre Dallara F306 Formula 3 car - a car with considerably more power, downforce and adjustability than the 1.2 litre Formula BMW single-seater he has been racing in Asia this year - Storey quickly got down to competitive times in the low 51 second bracket, less than a second off the mid 50 second benchmark for a Formula 3 car there.
Reflecting on the test, the young Aucklander says he liked 'everything' about the car, but if he had to single one thing out it would be the brakes.
"The cars just have so much grip under brakes it's unbelievable. You can just brake so late it's amazing."
Now back in New Zealand, and back at school at Auckland's St Kentigern College, the 17-year-old has a lot to think about.
Initially he and his father Kevin considered doing the Toyota Racing Series but decided against it because of the demands of Dominic's international programme.
When he and Kevin mapped out his car career their thoughts were to spend two years competing in the Formula BMW Asia series, the first to learn the car and tracks, the second to have a serious tilt at the title.
However the Pembrey test has been a real eye - not to mention door - opener with father and son now fielding offers of drives in the UK in 2007 and '08.
His next big project, however, is a little closer to home - on Sunday Dominic and 2006 Formula BMW Asia series winner Earl Bamber are being interviewed by presenter Geoff Bryan on TV1's top-rating Powerbuilt Motorsport programme.
The pair have been sparring partners since their kart days and have been invited to appear on the show to bring viewers up to speed about the Formula BMW Asia series.
Formula BMW is the world's leading entry-level class in Formula racing. Up-and-coming drivers as young as 15-years-old are given the opportunity of entering motor racing with the high-tech, standard FB02 race car.
The car has been seen on the grid since 2002 and has set standards particularly on the safety technology front. BMW's 140 bhp K1200 engine is capable of propelling it to 230km/h and the car itself exceeds the FIA safety requirements for its class. BMW Motorsport has also developed the FORS Formula Rescue Race Seat especially for Formula BMW. As well as this all Formula BMW Asia drivers must use the HANS safety system.
This year, in his debut season both in cars and in the Formula BMW Asia series, Storey finished sixth overall and fourth in the Rookie of The Year standings.
Dominic Storey is proud to be one of New Zealand motor racing's Black Bullets. To find out more about our Black Bullets go to www.blackbullets.com
Final Formula BMW Asia Points Standings after Round 19.
1. Earl Bamber (NZL/Team Meritus) 290 points; 2. Sam Abay (AUS/Team E-Rain) 274 points; 3. Daniel Ricciardo (AUS/Eurasia Motorsport) 231 points; 4. James Grunwell (THA/Team Meritus) 164 points; 5. Aaron Lim (MAS/Eurasia Motorsport) 144 points; 6. Dominic Storey (NZL/Eurasia Motorsport) 142 points; 7. Zahir Ali (INA/Eurasia Motorsport) 85 points; 8. Mohammed Al Baharna (BRN/Team E-Rain) 82 points; 9. Aditya Akkineni (IND/Team E-Rain) 59 points; 10. Hamed Al Fardan (BRN/Team Meritus) 40 points; 11. Hafiz bin Helmi (SIN/Team Meritus) 9 points; 12. Rayomand Banajee (IND/Privateer) 1 point.
Final Rookie Cup Points Standings after Round 19.
1. Earl Bamber 315 points; 2. Daniel Ricciardo 268 points; 3. James Grunwell 232 points; 4. Dominic Storey 198 points; 5. Aditya Akkineni 164 points.