The battle is hotting up to find the drivers who will stand shoulder to shoulder with new champion Felipe Nasr come the end of the Cooper Tires British Formula 3 International Series season.
Next weekend’s (24/25 September) trio of races on the Donington Park Grand Prix circuit will be crucial to the fortunes of Kevin Magnussen, William Buller, Carlos Huertas, Jazeman Jaafar and Rupert Svendsen-Cook as they bid not only to decide which of them will finish second and third in the championship but also who will join Nasr as recipients of a valuable end-of-year testing prize. Nasr and his two colleagues will enjoy a free half-day test in a World Series by Renault car at the Spanish MotorLand Aragón circuit on 28 November.
“It’s an exceptional prize,” said British Formula 3 championship manager Lisa Crampton, “and one which all those drivers who have a chance will be keen to grab. It’s going to make the last six races of the season particularly exciting.”
Just three points separates Carlin driver Magnussen and Fortec Motorsport racer Buller in second and third places currently, with Carlin trio Huertas, Jaafar and Svendsen-Cook close behind and bidding to make up ground.
Buller is particularly keen to maintain the late-season form which has brought him three British F3 wins and two additional podiums in the last nine races. “Even though the title has now gone, I’ll keep pushing hard to secure second place and the honour of being top British driver in the standings,” says the Ulsterman.
Buller will have to fight Nasr every inch of the way at Donington, for the 19-year-old Brazilian, who clinched the championship title earlier this month at Rockingham, has vowed that now the pressure is off he will be taking risks and going for every victory possible.
The championship’s other valuable prize, the Rookie class crown, will be decided at Donington in favour of Hitech Racing’s Japanese driver Kotaru Sakurai, who is currently the only class entrant. Sakurai, 17, has won the class on 11 occasions already this season.
The Hitech team will field three cars at Donington, with an International class Dallara for Russian racer Max Snegirev as well as one for Rockingham first-time victor Pietro Fantin. There may yet be a third entry for Double R Racing alongside the cars of Pipo Derani and Rockingham race winner Scott Pye. T-Sport will field its usual trio of Menasheh Idafar, Yann Cunha and Bart Hylkema, with a two-car squad for Sino Vision Racing comprising Hywel Lloyd and Adderly Fong. Fortec men Lucas Foresti, Harry Tincknell and Fahmi Ilyas and Carlin’s Jack Harvey complete the line-up.
Next weekend’s races will be the first British Formula 3 races to be staged on Donington’s 2.5-mile Grand Prix circuit for seven years.
British Formula 3 enjoys the headlining support of Cooper Tires and is additionally backed by Sunoco Racing Fuels, Anglo American Oil Company and OAMPS.
Donington Park timetable
Thursday 22 September: 1100 & 1400 free practice (55 min sessions)
Saturday 24 September: 1040 qualifying; 1540 Round 25 (30 mins)
Sunday 25 September: 1015 Round 26 (20 mins); 1340 Round 27 (40 mins)