Southwater’s Jolyon Palmer has his sights firmly set on Formula One after being crowned GP2 champion.
The 23-year-old raced to victory in Sochi on Saturday to clinch the title with three races to spare.
Palmer became the first Briton since Lewis Hamilton in 2006 to win the title in the Formula 1 feeder series, and did so on Saturday ahead of Sunday’s F1 race.
The young driver is the tenth GP2 champion since the series began in 2005, and six of the previous nine have graduated into the pinnacle of motorsport.
Palmer said: “The first priority was to win GP2, and I was always confident if I did win GP2 I was going to be in Formula One.
“Now that’s done and I’m confident I’ll be in Formula One. I’m not saying it is going to be easy, but this title is a big help. We’re going to have to wait for a few weeks and see what happens, but I feel ready for it. I’m driving at the top of my game right now.
“GP2 is the perfect series to feed into Formula One - the same tyres, the same tracks, the cars are even now a similar speed, especially into the corners. I feel absolutely ready for it and I am confident it can happen.”
Palmer, the son of Jonathan, who competed in 83 grand prix between 1983 and 1989 - clinched the championship with victory in the feature race at Russia’s Sochi Autodrom.
It was his fourth win of the season, and 11th podium of his fourth campaign in GP2, which gave him an unassailable 66-point lead over his nearest title rival, Felipe Nasr.
The DAMS driver added: “It’s been an absolute dream season and to be champion at the earliest opportunity for me is the icing on the cake.
“It wasn’t going to be easy to win the championship this weekend, especially after missing out on pole.
“I can’t thank the team enough, they’ve done an incredible job all year, we’ve been fighting for pretty much every Feature Race win and every pole with almost no mistakes. It feels amazing to be champion.”
Palmer finished tenth in Sunday’s sprint race. The final races of the season are at the end of November in Abu Dhabi.