British Formula 3 kicks off at Oulton Park
The 2017 BRDC British Formula 3 season kicks off at Oulton Park this Easter Weekend (April 15 & 17), with a packed grid of highly talented youngsters aiming to get their campaigns off to the best possible start across the opening three races of the year.
Foremost amongst the entry list will be returning campaigners Toby Sowery and Enaam Ahmed. Sowery finished 3rd overall in last year’s championship with Lanan Racing, scoring five wins across the season, and is the highest placed driver from the 2016 standings to come back for another crack at the title. Ahmed, who scored a victory at Snetterton en route to fifth overall last year, switches from Douglas Motorsport to Carlin and is aiming to add the main championship crown to his recent BRDC British F3 Autumn Trophy success. Other returning drivers to watch out for are Fortec Motorsports’ Ben Hingeley, who claimed the final pole position of the 2016 season at Donington Park, and the Chris Dittmann Racing pairing of Kenyan Jeremy Wahome and Brit Omar Ismail.
Champion outfit Double R Racing fields another strong three-car line-up after running Brazilian Matheus Leist to last year’s British F3 crown. 2015 British GT GT4 Champion Jamie Chadwick makes the switch to single-seaters and she is joined by Australian Harry Hayek, who finished fourth overall in his native country’s F4 championship last year. Guilherme Samaia ensures that another Brazilian will be both on the grid and at Double R this year as he graduates from his nation’s F3 championship, where he claimed the runner-up spot in 2016. Hillspeed with Cliff Dempsey Racing returns to the British F3 grid with a full complement of drivers in 2017, as American Chase Owen moves up the motorsport ladder having impressed in Formula Ford 1600 last year. German Nick Worm will make his single-seater debut with the team in British F3 and will be aiming to learn as much as possible during his rookie year, whilst Brit Jordan Cane has to wait until the third round of the year at Snetterton, when he turns 16, to make his British F3 bow.
With the UK’s leading single-seater championship proving to be the perfect next step for F1 hopefuls graduating from FIA Formula 4 categories, a number of drivers make the step up to British F3 from a variety of those entry-level championships from across the world. At Carlin, James Pull moves up from British Formula 4, where he finished fourth overall, whilst the reigning US Formula 4 Champion Cameron Das completes the Surrey-based outfit’s line-up. Another British Formula 4 graduate is Romanian Petru Florescu and he will be joined at Douglas Motorsport by former Red Bull and Lotus F1 Junior, Callan O’Keeffe. Scot Aaron di Comberti joins Sowery at Lanan Racing, having competed in selected rounds of both French and German F4 last year whilst French F4 race winner Tristan Charpentier moves to Chris Dittmann Racing. Meanwhile, the Fortec Motorsports line-up is completed by Dane Nicolai Kjaergaard, who raced in British F4 last year and Venezuelan Manuel Maldonado, the cousin of former F1 driver Pastor Maldonado, who competed in Italian F4 during 2016.
The first BRDC British Formula 3 action of the weekend gets underway with qualifying at 11:05 on Saturday (15 April) before the lights go out to start race one at 15:45 that afternoon. Following Sunday’s break in proceedings, the partially reversed-grid race two kicks off Bank Holiday Monday’s (17 April) racing at 09:55 before the third and final encounter of the meeting starts at 14:45. Live timing and updates are also available via the championship’s official website and social media channels.