Italian teenager Riccardo Monti will make his debut in the Vertu MINI CHALLENGE this season after signing up for a partial campaign with EXCELR8.

The youngster from Milan made the step up from karting last year with two outings in the MINI CHALLENGE Italia, scoring a best result of fourth in the Lite class on what was his first experience of car racing.

Having now relocated to the UK to further his education and to chase his racing dream, Monti had agreed a deal that will see him join the Cooper grid for events at Donington Park, Croft, Silverstone and Brands Hatch.

Monti has already started testing having sampled his new car during a day of wet running at Silverstone, with his target now being to learn as much as possible from his time on track.

“I’ve been racing for as long as I can remember,” he said. “This sport has held the fondest memories I have of my childhood and it’s probably my biggest passion. These last few years I tried to switch from go-karts to cars back home in Italy, trying different cars to start to feel what driving a racing car felt like, and in 2023 I decided to move to the UK for university.

“Wanting to keep my passion alive in this country, I found the MINI CHALLENGE, which had all that I was looking for; a fun and exciting way to keep my dream of becoming a professional racing driver alive while gaining priceless experience.

“My goals for the 2024 season with EXCELR8 are definitely to gain experience, hopefully get some good results, and prove my worth in this new chapter of my racing career.”

Team owner Justina Williams said she was eager to see Monti develop during his partial campaign.

“It’s a big decision for any driver to relocate to another country, never mind someone as young as Riccardo,” she said, “and we are delighted that he has chosen to join the EXCELR8 family for the season ahead.

“Having been successful in karting in the past, we know he is a quick youngster, and his Italian passion and enthusiasm for the sport is clear to see. We look forward to working with him to achieve his goals when he hits the track later in the year, and are excited to see what he can do.”