Duncan Tappy might currently be absent from Superleague Formula, but he’s hoping for a return – and, in the meantime, testing for a brand-new racing series that plans to launch around Britain next year.
The 25-year-old from West Ewell, Surrey, started the season in the Galatasaray car after a solid first season driving for Tottenham Hotspur.
Following the Zolder weekend – described by Tappy as “frustrating” after qualifying problems, confusion over grid positions at the start of race one and a whack in the rear from former F1 pilot Enrique Bernoldi – he exited the car to be replaced by Scott Mansell.
But, speaking at this week’s British round held at Donington Park, where he was approached by a commentator doing a grid walk, he said that the Superleague drive had been “taken out of his hands” but that he hoped to rejoin the series before its season end.
Meanwhile, Tappy has been chosen as the official test driver for the new Pro1000 race series, working with promoter Global Sports Development on testing and developing its T1000 Caparo car.
According to the series’ publicity material, it features a two-seater carbon composite monocoque with double wishbone/pushrod inboard suspension, a 470bhp V8 engine and limited downforce, designed to promote “close, spectacular racing with plenty of overtaking”.
It is based on the Caparo T1, a sportscar-inspired road car developed by Ben Scott-Geddes and Graham Halstead, engineers formerly involved in the development of the iconic McLaren F1 road car.
The series has ambitious plans, including 10 UK race meetings comprising 30 races with the income from ticket sales and sponsorship to be shared among drivers. Meetings are planned around the United Kingdom including one in Scotland, two in Wales and two in the north of England.
It is promising Europe-wide television coverage plus a web feed as well as 80 three-day roadshows to promote the series and boost ticket sales.
Running in the series will cost professional drivers in the region of £160,000 plus VAT, with money earned during the year to be set against this cost – the series reckons earnings in year one will cover all but £50,000 of that total. A T1000 series for amateurs will also run.
Pro1000 has its sights set on providing an LMP2 24 Hours of Le Mans drive for its leading driver by the end of 2010.
Earlier this month Tappy ran the T1000 at Snetterton at its first full circuit test and he is set to race in at least three of the events slated to run from April 2010.
Tappy said: “The Caparo is an amazing car to drive and can only get better. It’s got a lot of the plusses of single seater handling but the great feel of a sportscar at the same time.
“The car’s designed to be quick and allow for overtaking so it should be fantastic in races. I’ve been very lucky to get one of the first drives in it and I’m honoured that GSD are entrusting me with a role in the development of the car.
“While the variety of driving experience that I’ve had in the last two seasons is great I’m ready for a full season competing in a championship so hope that I can fit in a few Pro1000 drives with whatever that may be.”
Nigel Rees, GSD’s Managing Director, added: “We’ve known Duncan for many years — he’s a fantastic, intelligent driver and a great guy. Since we first conceived Pro1000, I’ve wanted Duncan to join us. Duncan tested with us at Snetterton and did a very professional job.”
To find out more about Pro1000 Racing follow the series Twitter feed here. That includes links to its newsletter and promotional brochure.