BF3

Racers aim for the Rockingham oval

Race has potential to be 'Fastest Single Seater Race in UK' this year. A round of the 2003 British Formula Three Championship may become the fastest single-seater motor race in the UK this year, if plans go ahead to run a round of the series on...

Race has potential to be 'Fastest Single Seater Race in UK' this year.

A round of the 2003 British Formula Three Championship may become the fastest single-seater motor race in the UK this year, if plans go ahead to run a round of the series on the banked 1.5-mile oval track at Rockingham, Northamptonshire on Sunday 3rd August.

The race for the series' Championship class cars is expected to see average speeds in excess of 150mph. That will mean that lap speeds will be higher than even Formula One at Silverstone, where the current lap record stands to Michael Schumacher at 136.1 mph. The American CART Champ Cars, which last year lapped Rockingham at over 200mph, are expected to lap the Brands Hatch road course in May at a 'mere' 120mph!

Not only will Rockingham's banked track deliver continuous high speeds, a key characteristic too is a wide range of opportunities to overtake. Each of the four corners has at least two 'racing lines' which means that spectacular wheel-to-wheel racing is in prospect - and with every one of Rockingham's 52,000 grandstand seats having a full view of the track complex - spectators won't miss a thing!

The running of the event on the oval will be subject to a series of tests in the near future to ascertain engine attrition, tyre and handling characteristics at the continuous higher speeds on the banked track. However the teams, suppliers, BRDC, FOTA and Rockingham are all committed to making it happen.

The race will be one of two for the Championship class cars at Rockingham, with the oval race being complemented by another on the challenging International road course. The oval race has been made possible by the latest Dallara chassis attaining FIA crash safety standards which allow the cars to safely run at continuous high speeds close to the intimidating 'wall' which surrounds the banking.

The older Formula Three Scholarship class cars, which do not comply with the latest FIA standard, will stage their races on the International road course. This circuit will also host the rounds of the British GT Championship, SEAT Cupra Sport Championship and the supporting races.

"It'll be a real challenge for the teams and drivers. The characteristics of the oval will mean they'll have to find a totally new approach to their driving and car set-up. We'll be hosting special test days and 'rookie training' to help the teams come to terms with that" says Rockingham circuit manager Chris Norman. "Formula Three has given us some really exciting racing on our road courses in 2001 and 2002, now we are delighted to be adding this exciting new dimension to the championship."

In addition to creating a spectacular new initiative for the British Formula Three Championship, the Rockingham oval race will act as an excellent means of gaining oval-track experience for drivers wish to move into series in the United States and in the UK. High-profile Formula Three graduates to the ovals include Indy 500 winner Helio Castroneves; Gil de Ferran and Dario Franchitti (CART and Indy Racing League), Darren Manning (CART), Christian Fittipaldi (CART and NASCAR), Nicolas Minassian (CART and ASCAR), Kelvin Burt and Derek Hayes (ASCAR race winners at Rockingham).

-rs-

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About this article
Series BF3
Drivers Michael Schumacher , Derek Hayes , Darren Manning , Gil de Ferran , Nicolas Minassian , Christian Fittipaldi , Dario Franchitti , Kelvin Burt