F3

AUSF3: Series Adelaide preview

ADELAIDE LAP RECORD TARGETED BY THE FASTEST F3 FIELD YET The four year old outright lap record of the 3.2km Adelaide Street circuit looks set to be smashed by a car with a two-litre, four cylinder engine at next weeks' Clipsal 500 ...

ADELAIDE LAP RECORD TARGETED BY THE FASTEST F3 FIELD YET

The four year old outright lap record of the 3.2km Adelaide Street circuit looks set to be smashed by a car with a two-litre, four cylinder engine at next weeks' Clipsal 500 Adelaide.

Leading competitors in the 2008 Kumho Tyres Australian Formula 3 Championship believe that the series' new 2007-specification cars will significantly undercut the existing outright lap record set by Formula 3 competitor Ian Dyk on the series' last visit to the streets of Adelaide in 2004.

In a frenetic race for the lead, Dyk set the outright lap record at 1m19.4959 on the 20th of March that year.

By comparison, the V8 Supercar lap record was set last year by James Courtney, at 1m22.4348 -- some three seconds slower.

However Formula 3 circa 2008 features stronger teams, a deeper talent pool of drivers and new chassis' that teams believe will be up to two seconds per lap faster than the existing 2004-specification cars - that now make up the Opes Prime National Class.

Formula 3 cars are powered by engines producing just 230hp (190kw), however their light weight (550kg) and massive aerodynamic downforce ensure that they are now the quickest cars on Australia's circuits.

For instance -- at Phillip Island they lap seven seconds quicker than the V8s and even three seconds faster than Valentino Rossi's MotoGP Yamaha motorcycle.

This turn of speed could well bring the field, set to contest the second round of the 2008 championship at the Clipsal 500 next week, within a few seconds of the Adelaide Formula 1 Lap Record, set by Damon Hill (1m15.381s) in 1993, though on the longer 3.8km Grand Prix circuit.

"In preseason testing (At Eastern Creek) the new cars were two seconds faster than the old lap record," Opes Prime Team BRMs British ace James Winslow explained.

Winslow will make his first visit to the streets of Adelaide and said that he expects the lap times to tumble.

"We couldn't lower the mark during the race meeting due to the weather and the rubber laid down by the A1GP cars -- but Adelaide should be a different subject.

"The new cars additional grip and aerodynamic stability should make it very potent on the street circuit -- especially through the 90-degree corners and, of course, turn eight which will be mega in these cars.

"A 2001-car set the lap record in 2004 and the new chassis are two generations more advanced than that, so I'm expecting us to set a scorching pace next week." He said.

26-year-old Winslow has experience on street circuits in the light and nimble F3 cars, having contested the famous Macau Grand Prix in 2006 -- but was enthusiastic about the chance to compete at a circuit where some of his F1 idols raced.

"I've never driven the Adelaide circuit but the track looks excellent. It's a famous track thanks to its history in F1 so it will be great to drive there," he said.

"F1 put Adelaide on the map in Europe and I remember seeing and cheering on the likes of Nigel Mansell and Damon Hill racing there from home in the UK. The locals tell me that there is a great Open Wheel following there as a carryover from the F1 days so I'm really looking forward to making my debut in Adelaide on F3s return."

The Second round of the 2008 Kumho Tyres Australian Formula 3 Championship for the Australian Drivers' Championship will be held between February 21 -- 24.

In the fight for outright honours Winslow will be joined at Adelaide-based Opes Prime Team BRM by current championship leader Nathan Caratti (from Perth) and 17-year-old Kiwi sensation Earl Bamber.

Looking to tackle the strong team will be Leanne Tander who, along with Caratti, is one of a few drivers to have past race experience on the streets of Adelaide having contested production car races there in 2004.

Mat Sofi (Transwest Racing), '04 Gold Star champion Neil McFadyen (Piccola Scuderia) and others will fight what could be the fastest battle yet seen on Adelaide streets.

Local interest will also be centred on Wingfield based R-Tek F3 and Kersbrook youngster Jesse Wakeman.

More than 25 cars have nominated for round two of the 2008 Australian Drivers Championship.

Round two of the Kumho Tyres Australian Formula 3 championship for the CAMS Gold Star will be held at the Clipsal 500 Adelaide between February 21 -- 24.

-credit: formula3.com.au

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Series F3
Drivers Nigel Mansell , Valentino Rossi , Damon Hill , Neil McFadyen , Ian Dyk , Leanne Tander , Earl Bamber , Jesse Wakeman , Phillip Island