AUSTRALIAN DRIVERS CHAMPIONSHIP SCHEDULE ANNOUNCED FOR 2009

The Schedule for the 53rd running of the Australian Drivers Championship has today been confirmed by Formula 3 Australia - and it's one of the most diverse yet.

The 2009 Australian Formula 3 Championship will race on eight tracks in four states and returns to three circuits that the series has not visited for some time - all the while maintaining its position at some traditional favourites.

It also features a mix of high-downforce, slow-speed circuits and some of the quickest tracks in the country, extending the capabilities of the Formula 3 cars to their very maximum limits in the quest for Australia's top racing honour - the CAMS Gold Star.

Sandown Raceway, Winton and Wakefield Park all return to the championship after sustained absences; the Goulburn track returning to the schedule for the first time since 2006 whilst the pair of Victorian venues will get Formula 3 action for the first time each since 2004.

The Clipsal 500 Adelaide will open the series between March 19 - 22 with the following seven rounds spread evenly - with one round set to be held in each of the following eight months - except September.

Wakefield Park will form an Anzac day celebration between April 24 - 26, before the series returns to the hallowed Phillip Island GP circuit on the third weekend in May, a now traditional date for Australia's top ‘wings and slicks' series on Australia's quickest track.

The series halfway point will be contested at Winton between June 26 - 28, Formula 3 returning to the tight and twisty rural circuit for the first time in five years.

Another now-traditional date - July's Eastern Creek Raceway round - is scheduled for round five before a potentially final fling at Oran Park raceway, a drivers favourite, is set to be contested between August 29 - 30 as round six.

The third running of the Formula 3 SuperPrix (for the John Bowe Trophy) held at Symmons Plains raceway will be the penultimate round of the championship and will take place between October 17 - 18. The later date will hopefully ensure better weather for the richest race on the schedule that has quickly become a ‘must win' event.

The season finale' will be held at Sandown Raceway in Melbourne's suburbs, the track, like Winton returning to the series after a five year absence.

The Australian Formula 3 Championship will again play a key role within the Shannons National Motor Racing Championships, the series hosting seven of the eight rounds scheduled.

-credit: formula3.com.au