An Israeli race car driver has become the first national to break into Formula One racing.
Roy Nissany, 25, was named the official test driver for the UK-based Williams Group, a top Formula One team. The announcement was made Wednesday at the Peres Center for Peace and Innovation by the group’s president, Claire Williams, and Canadian businessman Sylvan Adams, who has supported Nissany’s development in motor racing.
Nissany, who has been in motor racing since the age of 14, will test cars ahead of Grand Prix events and is on standby to drive in races.
He comes to Formula One following two successful seasons in Formula V8 3.5, where he won 13 podium finishes and reached the pole position seven times.
“Today I achieved the goal which I set for myself many years ago, to become a Formula One driver.” Nissany said. “This is a very exciting moment, not only for me, but also for everyone who has been with me along the way over the years. Formula One reaches a huge audience of fans and I am so pleased that they will now get to know Israel through the motor racing track.”
For several years, Adams has been working to showcase Israel through international sporting and cultural events. He was responsible for bringing the Giro d’Italia bike race to Israel, Madonna’s appearance at last year’s Eurovision Song Contest and the international soccer match in Tel Aviv between Argentina and Uruguay. He also contributed $5 million to help land the first Beresheet spacecraft on the moon.
“Hundreds of millions of motor racing enthusiasts across the world will get to see a different side of our country, what I call ‘normal’ Israel,” Adams said. “I cannot wait for the moment when we see the blue and white flag on a Formula One car.”