The 2017 season of the UK’s leading single-seater championship gets underway with three races in Cheshire

The 2017 BRDC British Formula 3 season kicks off at Oulton Park in Cheshire 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.

Returning stars
Foremost amongst the entry list will be returning campaigners Toby Sowery and Enaam Ahmed. Sowery finished third 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 meanwhile, 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.

Capacity line-ups
Champion outfit Double R Racing fields another strong three-car line-up after running Brazilian Matheus Leist to last year’s British F3 crown. Meanwhile 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 talented American Chase Owen moves up the motorsport ladder having impressed in Formula Ford 1600 last year. German teenager 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.

Formula 4 graduates
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, who competed in Italian F4 during 2016.

How to watch
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.

Tickets are still available via the Oulton Park website here, with advanced prices starting from just £19. Live timing and updates are also available via the championship’s official website and social media channels.

If you miss any of the action in Cheshire, you can also catch-up via the highlights programme, which includes all the racing and off-track features, during the morning of Saturday 22nd April.