Just three 30-minute races this weekend separate three drivers from discovering if they will be crowned the 2013 Cooper Tires British Formula 3 International Series Champion in the epic series finale at Nürburgring, Germany. The four-round super series has seen fast and often frantic racing, and over the course of visits to prestigious circuits Silverstone, Spa-Francorchamps and Brands Hatch, a fantastic battle has developed amongst a trio of chargers from the top teams in the series; Fortec Motorsports, Double R Racing and reigning champions, Carlin.
This season of the Cooper Tires British Formula 3 International Series will be remembered as a special year for many reasons on and off the track. Arriving in Germany with the Championship lead is Carlin’s Jordan King (118 pts). The Warwickshire-based racer heads the series standings by just three points from Fortec’s County Down-based driver, Will Buller (115pts).
Still in realistic contention for the title as the series arrives at the legendary Nürburgring circuit in the heart of Eifel Mountains is Double R’s Antonio Giovinazzi. The Italian rookie is eighteen point adrift of Buller and has been hot on the heels of his Carlin and Fortec rivals all season, taking an impressive pair of victories, his most recent a commanding drive in the wet during the Spa-Francorchamps weekend.
Close behind the top trio are five drivers who remain in contention for the title, albeit with a slender chance, as 65 points are on offer this weekend (25 pts for wins in race 1 & 3, 12 for winning race 2 and a further point per race for setting the fastest laps). Fourth in the standings is Fortec’s Brazilian ace, Felipe Guimaraes (75 pts), with Carlin’s Canadian star-in-the-making Nicholas Latifi (68 pts) and Giovinazzi’s team-mate, Sean Gelael (66 pts) just ahead of the third and final Carlin driver, 2011 Nissan GT Academy UK winner, Jann Mardenborough (65 pts) in his first year of single-seater racing. This awesome foursome have battled hard all year and there remains a number of scores to be settled as drivers look to get the best possible finish to their 2013 British F3 season.
The addition of Spike Goddard to this grid this weekend sees the number of different engine manufacturers rise to a season high five. The 20-year-old Australian won last year's British F3 National Class title for the team, taking 12 class victories in the process and returns with the potent Nissan-engined Dallara F312.
Another new face on the grid this weekend in Germany is Alfonso Celis. The seventeen year-old Mexican will link up with Buller and Guimaraes at Fortec, having also raced in Formula Renault 2.0 NEC with the British team as well as competing in the Panam GP Winter Series earlier this year and a full season campaign in the main Panam GP series.
National Championship honours were set to be fought out this weekend between three promising drivers; Sun Zheng from CF Racing, and the two West-Tec racers Ed Jones and Cameron Twynham. However a late decision by Dubai racer Jones and his British team-mate not to compete mean that the Chinese racer and current Championship leader, Zheng, has now won the championship.
The class continues to have an interesting entry despite the absence of Jones and Twynham thanks to the addition of Colombian karter, William Barbosa joining regular West-Tec driver, New Zealander Chris Vlok. Both drivers will compete in Toyota-powered Dallara F312s and fourth-placed Vlok will be aiming to take his first National class victory after becoming a regular on the podium over the course of the year.
Next season the leading British single-seater series will further underline its credentials as the top formula in the United Kingdom by reverting to a platform that will see it take in five races on British soil. British F3 organisers, SRO Motorsports Group have received significant interest in the new look 2014 series as they aim to further continue the championship’s’ rich heritage as the final credible step for young drivers looking to participate in International motorsport.