FORMULA 3s 'NEXT GENERATION' CAR BEATS THE HEAT IN AUSTRALIAN TRACK DEBUT Forty-five degree Australian heat has welcomed the latest European specification Dallara F307 chassis and Mercedes-Benz power to the Kumho Tyres Australian Formula 3 ...
FORMULA 3s 'NEXT GENERATION' CAR BEATS THE HEAT IN AUSTRALIAN TRACK DEBUT
Forty-five degree Australian heat has welcomed the latest European specification Dallara F307 chassis and Mercedes-Benz power to the Kumho Tyres Australian Formula 3 Championship.
Adelaide based Opes Prime Team BRM yesterday became the first local team to run the latest eligible 2005 -- 07 specification chassis' to the championship in scorching temperatures at Mallala Raceway, outside of Adelaide.
The three-time champion team ran two of its ex-Signature (European F3) cars for the full day, with another scheduled for today (Friday) to continue its pre-season preparations.
Australian F3 Championship race winner and 2007 Opes Prime Team BRM driver James Winslow was invited back by the team to shake down one of the cars for this test, thanks to his vast experience in Formula 3 racing and working with new cars.
Both cars ran faultlessly on Thursday despite track temperatures hitting sixty degrees in the early afternoon.
Up to ten of the latest model Dallara chassis' have been imported by teams into the country for this years championship, marking a beginning of a new era for Australia's premier Open Wheel championship as it begins the 52nd year of the Gold Star award.
The 2007-spec cars will make up the Kumho Tyres championship class / Gold Star competition, racing for $80,000 cash or the right to negotiate a fully funded drive in the 2009 Formula V6 Asia championship.
The superseded 2004-spec cars will race in the Opes Prime National Class for $40,000 cash or the chance to negotiate a funded championship class drive in 2009.
The new cars are a step forward in design from the F304 Dallara's, featuring significant advancement in areas such as aerodynamics and safety.
Aerodynamically, the cars feature Formula 1-style barge boards, diffusers and sidepod chimneys -- as well as sculpted front and rear wings and aero appendages not unlike those seen on bigger Open Wheel cars.
Safety is further improved with higher side crash structures, a carbon fibre rear crash box and an F1-standard driver safety cell, which allows the driver to be removed from the car by safety teams whilst still held in place in his seat to ensure potential injuries are not aggravated.
The net result of these changes, when coupled with the latest specification engines from Europe, is expected to result in scintillating lap times given good conditions this season.
Opes Prime Team BRM engineer JP Messenger said that the new cars looked to deliver the goods early into the teams testing program.
"So far they have been quick out of the box which is a good sign," he said.
"The F305-7 cars are fundamentally more refined, advanced and generally are a step forward from the 02 -- 04 chassis - Everything is better but I think safety and aero are the key advances.
"I think as a team we are very excited about the potential these cars have. They look fantastic and so far their performance has been excellent from their first laps here today which, as an engineer, is exactly what you want.
"It's great to have these cars on track so we can start learning what they like with setup and get them ready for the first round of the championship." He said.
Opes Prime Team BRM expect to run up to three of the new cars this season alongside a National Class F304 entry for Irishman Lee Farrell, who also tested at Mallala on Thursday.
Other teams and drivers, including TanderSport and Sydney-based Mat Sofi are expected to hit the tracks in their new machinery in the coming weeks as the championship builds towards the opening round at Eastern Creek, on February 3rd.