1996 preview

THE MEXICAN F3 OPENS FIRE IN 1996 by CAJAL With a 25 lap race in the Grand Prix Circuit (4421 meters) of the "Hermanos Rodreguez" track in Mexico City, the Mexican F3 starts its 1996 season, its seventh. The championship will be called Montana...

THE MEXICAN F3 OPENS FIRE IN 1996 by CAJAL

With a 25 lap race in the Grand Prix Circuit (4421 meters) of the "Hermanos Rodreguez" track in Mexico City, the Mexican F3 starts its 1996 season, its seventh. The championship will be called Montana Grand Prix International F3 once again, due to its overall sponsorship by the cigarette brand. There will be 10 races, 9 of them in Mexico and another one in a country yet to be determined, but the USA seems most likely. Past championships had races in Costa Rica, the USA, and races were cancelled in Canada, Puerto Rico and Cuba (yes, Cuba, Mr. Helms) because of the transportation costs which have risen dramatically against a very weak mexican peso.

This 1996, the MEXF3 will use again the 933 Reynards with a "B" series consisting of 903 Reynards. However, regulations allow the use of carburettors and a 48 mm air blower or a 28mm one when using fuel injection. Converts to the first option seem to be gaining ground after the announcement of Teams Montana and Mexlub about the use of carbs. Defending champions Team Quaker State and star drivers Derek Higgins (British) and Rod McLeod (Scotsman) have said they will keep fuel injection for the first race but if the others improve dramatically then they will think about a switch too.

The series will be run in Avon (mostly 430) tyres, as last year. Past champions hace included Carlos Guerrero (now IndyCar driver with the Herdez/Simon Team),Adrien Fernandez (now driver with the Tasman IndyCar team), Cesar Tiberio Jimenez (now looking to get some sponsorship for a full season of Indy Lights and maybe a go at Le Mans), and Derek Higgins who would love to do Indy Lights but has no sponsorship there.

Teams that have announced their drivers are:

Mexlub (a big oil products distributor for Pemex, the Mexican State Oil Company) based in Monterrey has Waldemar Coronas (Argentinian who raced in the F3 in Italy) and Paolo Carcasci (Brazilian).

Montana (cigarrette brand) also based in Monterrey, has Gilberto Jiménez (aka Beto), one of the best Mexican drivers ever, who even went to the British F3 in the 80s, and who's rumoured to be in his final year, and Oswaldo Negri (Brazilian who has run Indy Lights too).

Team GO-Quaker State (GO stands for Guillermo Oliveras, the driver/owner who runs a third car for himself) which will return from a 7 victory year in 1995 with Derek and Rod.

Team Coca Cola Centra with Allen Berg (yes the Canadian F1 driver with Osella) and a rookie Carlos Peralta (second last year in the Reynard Formula which is run as a preliminary race to the MEXF3).

Team Canel's (the leading Mexican bubblegum makers), from San Luis Potose, with Alejandro (Alex) Villasana as its only driver.

Corona Racing (the leading Mexican beer) with Homero Richards as its leading driver, fresh from an IndyLight trial (Tommy Byrne quit), and with a chance to field a second car for brother Horacio Richards who's also a former off-road champion.

Team Pennzoil/Gali Racing, with Eduardo Galicia as its driver.

The season promises a lot more competition this year, but the same was expected in 1995 and the Quakers led by Derek stole the show, so who knows. Keep posted!

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Series OTHER OPEN WHEEL
Drivers Derek Higgins , Waldemar Coronas , Oswaldo Negri , Allen Berg , Homero Richards , Tommy Byrne , Carlos Peralta