Teenage racer Luca Marinoni Osborne will make his MINI CHALLENGE Trophy debut in 2022 after inking a deal to join forces with series front-runners EXCELR8 Motorsport.

The 18-year-old from Wokingham will form part of EXCELR8’s multi-car entry in the highly competitive one-make series, which is set to get underway at Pembrey in early May.

Luca – who is currently studying eSports at the University of Northampton – enjoyed a successful start to his racing career in karting before moving into car racing with selected outings in the EnduroKa series.

Eager to embark of a full season of car racing for the first time, Luca will now take his place on what looks set to be a capacity grid for the seven round, 20 race Cooper class season, which includes meetings supporting both the British Touring Car Championship and the British Truck Racing Championship.

“I’m hugely excited to be joining the MINI CHALLENGE Trophy for 2022,” he said. “When we were looking at the options available to me for next season, it was the most attractive series in terms of costs and profile, but also offered me the greatest opportunity to grow and develop as a driver.

“Signing up with EXCELR8 is key to that as they have shown themselves to be one of the top teams not just in the MINI CHALLENGE, but also in the British Touring Car Championship, which is where I would ultimately like to race in the future. They have a huge desire to be the best team both on and off track, and the fact they can provide a ladder from the Coopers up into the JCW class and then into touring cars was very appealing.

“I’m looking forward to working with the whole team to learn as much as I can this season, and the goal is to get up to speed as quickly as possible so that I can hit the ground running when we get to round one.

“I want to make sure that I get as much out of the car as possible every time I go on track, and want to try and fight towards the front to score some good results for both myself and the team.”

Team Owner, Justina Williams said she was delighted to welcome Luca into the EXCELR8 family for his debut season.

“It’s great to be able to confirm Luca’s deal to join the team as the first part of our multi-car entry into the Coopers,” she said. “As well as being a quick driver, he is very focused on what he wants to achieve in the future, and we are looking forward to helping him take the first steps towards that goal.

“There is no doubt that coming into the MINI CHALLENGE Trophy as a rookie is a big challenge given how competitive the field is set to be, but we’re confident that Luca will be able to show his talent as the season goes on and has the potential to fight for some strong results on track.”