Top Irish International racing driver Michael Keohane has landed a works Lola F3 drive in the 2003 British Championship. The deal announced today means that the 22-year-old will drive for the Irish owned Sweeney Racing team who are the official factory Lola F3 team for the British series.

The former Irish Kart Champion joins the team, which will use Opel engines, on the back of a successful debut season in the championship which spawned the careers of Rubens Barrichello, David Coulthard and Jordan Grand Prix rookie Ralph Firman.

Last year Michael took two wins and finished on the podium eight times driving for Carlin Motorsport and despite missing five rounds, due to the untimely death of his father, the Cork ace still finished an excellent fifth in the overall standings. Further Irish interest in the deal is that Lola Cars, the world's largest manufacturer of racing cars, is owned by Mayoman Martin Birrane. The Ballina born businessman is also the owner of Mondello Park, the Kildare race circuit where Keohane cut his teeth in car racing in 1997.

'I'm delighted to be given this opportunity to work with Lola and Sweeney Racing. Lola is the biggest maker of racing cars in the world and Sweeney Racing is a very professional team. The fact that both companies are owned by Irishmen makes the deal even more exciting.' said the West Cork driver.

Filed by Johnny Proby