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Van der Garde earns Barcelona Renault test 12 Nov 2008

Giedo van der Garde (NED) Spyker Test Driver. Formula One Testing, Day One, Barcelona, Spain, 30 April 2007. World © Hartley/Sutton Giedo Van Der Garde (NED) P1 Motorsport World Series By Renault, Rd4, Silverstone, England. 08 June 2008

Reigning Formula Renault 3.5 champion Giedo van der Garde has been invited to test for Renault at next week’s official Formula One test at Barcelona’s Circuit de Catalunya, as part of his prize for winning the series. Van der Garde, who tested for Spyker in 2007, will take charge of the French team’s R28 from November 17-18.

"This is an incredible opportunity being offered to me by Renault Sport Technologies and ING Renault F1 Team,” said the Dutch driver in a statement on his official website. “To be able to test drive a Formula One car in these conditions, with a team that has won two world championships and again this year won two Grand Prix, is ideal.”

On Thursday van der Garde will visit Renault’s Enstone plant for a seat fitting and to meet engineers, who will take him through his programme for the test session, before flying out to Spain.

“Going back to Enstone will be very special for me,” he added. “I often used to go and train there when I was on the Renault Driver Development programme. So I'll be seeing people I already know. That will help me to integrate into the team more easily.

"It's a real positive to be driving on a circuit where I've driven quite a lot in the past. But in a Formula One car, everything will be different. It's another world! The most important thing for me will be to learn as much as I can. I'm going to do all I can to meet the team's expectations and follow the programme that the ING Renault F1 Team sets out for me. I can’t wait!"

Van der Garde’s championship predecessors, Robert Kubica, Alx Danielsson and Alvaro Parente all enjoyed a similar test with the French team after winning the Formula Renault series.