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Minardi announce new test driver 11 Aug 2005

Enrico Toccacelo (ITA) Super Nova Racing. Formula 3000 International Championship, Rd5, Nurburgring, Qualifying, Germany, 27 June 2003. World ©  Batchelor/Sutton

Minardi have announced that Italian driver Enrico Toccacelo has become the team's official Friday test and reserve driver - and he'll make his debut at next weekend's inaugural Turkish Grand Prix.

The 26-year-old will join the long list of drivers to have started their career in a Minardi - including Fernando Alonso and Mark Webber. Toccacelo, who was born and lives in Rome, already has plenty of race experience under his belt. He's competed in karting, Formula Renault, Formula 3, touring cars and Formula 3000. His career highlight to date was finishing second overall in the 2004 F3000 championship.

"This is a great opportunity for me, although it has all come together so quickly, I still can't quite believe it," says Toccacelo, "this is the moment that all young racing drivers are working towards, and I am determined to learn as much as I can as quickly as I can, while doing the best possible job for the team. Minardi has shown many times that it is an excellent place for a driver to start his Formula One career, and I intend to make the most of this opportunity."

Paul Stoddart, Minardi's team principal, adds: "We are very pleased to have Enrico join us as official Friday test driver. He has a strong track record in a number of formulae, and this will be an excellent way for him to begin to get to grips with Formula One. I'm equally sure he will soon be able to start providing useful data to the team's technical staff. The Minardi Cosworth PS05 has already shown that it has considerable potential, and I'm sure the inclusion of Enrico in our driver line-up will help to accelerate the development process."