Ayrton Simmons couldn’t contain his excitement as he prepares to make his BRDC British F3 debut at the legendary Spa Francorchamps circuit in Belgium next week.

The Epping racer has moved one step closer to achieving his dream of competing in Formula 1 after sealing a move to Chris Dittmann Racing last week for the rest of the year.

The move comes after an impressive first half of the season in British F4, where Simmons established himself as one of the title contenders after taking three wins and a further five podiums from the opening six rounds.

But now the 17-year-old will follow in the footsteps of Lewis Hamilton and fellow F1 greats like Michael Schumacher by competing at Spa next weekend, a circuit well known for its fast straights as well as Eau Rouge, a high speed corner which has been described as one of the best in the world.

Simmons, though, is relishing the chance of making the step-up to a higher level and can’t wait to drive the car for the first time.

Speaking to the Guardian Series earlier this week, he said: “I’m so excited and especially to make my debut at Spa as well. It’s such an iconic track and one of my favourites from the F1 calendar. It’s really exciting at the moment. It’s come a bit early but I’m buzzing. I’m happy to be given a chance in a higher formula to show what I’m made of.

“It came around quite quickly. I can’t say when. But the decision was made within a week or two. Chris is very aware of our budget issues and he’s really tried to make the best deal out of it. We went out looking for some sponsorship, which we did find with Adrian Flux. They really helped us to get that final bit of money to do the F3 which is really nice.”

On racing at Spa, the 17-year-old added: “Eau Rouge might be a bit scary on the first couple of laps. It’s really nice to be given a chance especially around that track. It’s going to be tough.

“I haven’t tested the car and I probably won’t go out in the car before the race weekend. So, it’s all going to be new to me and I’m going to have to settle in the two 45 minute practice sessions before qualifying. It’s a challenge but that’s what I’m here for. I’m really looking forward to it.”

Having made the step-up to a higher formula, Simmons is now contemplating his future in British F4.

The Epping racer told the Guardian Series earlier this year of his desire to win the F4 title with JHR Developments this season, however, after leading the championship for the early stages of the season, Simmons has slipped down to second after disappointing showings at Oulton Park and Croft.

Sixth and eighth place finishes at Oulton Park coupled with a technical problem at Croft allowed rival Kiern Jewiss to open up a 57 point gap over Simmons at the top of the table.

Simmons will now sit down with his family and team to discuss his long-term future, although he insisted that no decision has been made just yet.

“There’s certainly a decision to be made in the next couple of weeks,” he said.

“I’ve been a bit let down with the F4 and just going to see how the F3 goes. If I enjoy it a lot more than the F4 then I may stick to that.

“But it’s something I need to sit down and talk to my dad and the team about. The last couple of rounds have been tough for us. We’ve been giving it our all but we’ve not been as equal as others.”