RECORD FORMULA 3 FIELD READY FOR A SHOWDOWN AT ALBERT PARK A record-breaking field comprised of a former Australian champion, a number of visiting international drivers and the finest from within the Australian Drivers Championship will fill the...
RECORD FORMULA 3 FIELD READY FOR A SHOWDOWN AT ALBERT PARK
A record-breaking field comprised of a former Australian champion, a number of visiting international drivers and the finest from within the Australian Drivers Championship will fill the Albert Park grid in next week's non-championship Australian Formula 3 races at the 2007 Formula 1 ING Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne.
West Australian driver Karl Reindler will return to the championship that kick-started his international open wheel career and looks set to lead a capacity 31-car field filled with local and international talent in the non championship races that will serve as a major support to the Australian Grand Prix.
Several drivers from the Asian Formula 3 Championship will join Australia's leading open-wheel elite in the prestigious event, the international contingent making the trek to Australia for the first time to race within the domestic series.
The 31 cars confirmed today by Formula 3 Australia represent the largest field of Formula 3 cars ever assembled in Australia, and follows on from the increasing strength in this year's Kumho Tyres Australian Formula 3 Championship, Australia's premier Open Wheel series that races for the Australian Drivers Championship and the CAMS Gold Star.
17 of the latest eligible 2004-specification cars are entered, along with 10 of the previous generation 2001 cars that contest the domestic National Class competition.
The Australian charge is expected to be lead by Reindler, who along with his A1GP duties for Team Australia has been racing for the Alan Docking Racing team in the British Formula 3 championship and will be one of the most experienced Open-wheel drivers in the field.
Reindler will rejoin his former outfit, Team BRM, for the event.
Leading 2007 contenders Chris Alajajian (The current Co-Championship leader with Tim Macrow), Mat Sofi, leading female racer Leanne Tander and Perth's Stuart Kostera are also set to feature prominently, whilst newcomer Mathew Radisich - the nephew of Former Open Wheel driver and touring car great Paul - will make his Formula 3 debut at the Melbourne event.
Macrow will sit out the event, electing to conserve his budget for the championship proper.
Queensland driver Chris Gilmour will return to the scene of his careers' biggest ever crash - racing at the Albert Park street circuit for the first time since 2005 when a heavy collision in torrentially wet conditions with another competitor left him with a broken leg and a written-off car.
The visiting international contingent is split between two camps - those contesting the increasingly cosmopolitan Australian Championship and those travelling from the Asian Formula 3 series for the one-off event.
The 'local' internationals are made up of 2006 Grand Prix race winner James Winslow (UK), Fellow British ace Charlie Hollings and teenage drivers Marco Mapelli (Italy) and Walter Grubmuller (Austria).
Winslow, Grubmuller and Hollings will be reunited with their former Colleagues from the Asian Championship at Albert Park, each of the three drivers having raced in the championship within last year.
Winslow, a race winner at the Grand Prix last year, won the Asian championship last season and has set his sights on winning in Australia again in 2007.
The pack of visiting Asian Formula 3 drivers represents the cream of the crop that series has to offer, with leading contenders Moreno Soeprapto (Indonesia), Dado Pena (Philippines) and Finnish standout Henri Karjalainen - who won two of the first three Asian races this season - all in the Asian contingent making the trek south.
Five Asian cars have been shipped down, issued with CAMS logbooks and will join the field in Melbourne, with a number of international drivers also joining local teams for the one-off event.
In total there are 13 international drivers in the field representing 9 visiting nations - Italy, Austria, Britain, The Philippines, New Zealand, China, Finland, Indonesia and Sweden.
Network Ten will broadcast some of the racing within their Formula 1 coverage - check local guides for further details and broadcast times.