Richmond-based racing driver Mitchell Gilbert is getting fired up for the start of his 2012 race season after finally getting behind the wheel of his VW powered Dallara Formula Three this month.

The Trendworld supported Australian will race in the German F3 Championship this year for Silverstone-based Performance Racing and took two of its three cars out for a run at the British Grand Prix venue at the beginning of March, before moving on to Snetterton last week.

Despite chilly temperatures and some torrential rain the 17-year-old was glad to be back in the cockpit and could not wait to get his first F3 season under-way.

“The day at Silverstone was a steady one as it was the first time the cars had touched the ground since the end of last year and we were checking a lot of upgrades and development work by the guys over the winter,” he said.

“By the end of the day though we were able to start pushing a little and everything felt really good and very strong.

Torrential rain hampered the trip to Norfold but Gilbert remained upbeat.

“We left Snetterton in good shape but there's still plenty to work on before we start the season,” he said.

“The car felt good and we were working through everything we’d planned and the times were there already.

“I’m really pleased with everything this early in the year.

“It feels like an eternity away from the car and track, but we've done a handful of track days and other things to get ready for this point.

“Now that we’re on-track and can take advantage of every test I think we’ll be in great shape for the opening round next month.”

The opening round of the German series takes place at Oschersleben in April.