Over 50 - but thrilling The ATS Formula 3 Cup front-runners aren't the only drivers on the series' grid to provide thrilling battles for points and race wins. Thanks to the ATS Formula 3 Trophy drivers, the racing in the midfield is just as ...
Over 50 - but thrilling
The ATS Formula 3 Cup front-runners aren't the only drivers on the series' grid to provide thrilling battles for points and race wins. Thanks to the ATS Formula 3 Trophy drivers, the racing in the midfield is just as close and enthralling! It's true, their cars have been built from 2002 to 2004 but this fact doesn't prevent the drivers with the numbers over '50' from really going for it.
The Trophy ranking provides the drivers the opportunity to enter Formula 3 with a limited budget - a chance of impressing with good results to attract the attention of new sponsors and the teams competing in the Cup. So, some of last year's trophy drivers, such as Bernd Herndlhofer, Marco Oberhauser and Shirley van der Lof, succeeded in securing a Cup seat, this year. "The trophy ranking offers you the chance of preparing in an optimal way and without having to spend an enormous amount of money," explains Hendlhofer. "You learn to adapt to the Formula 3 car, the circuits and the Yokohama tyres. Later, when it comes to battling it out for points and positions in the Cup ranking, this experience helps you as the racing there is more consistent, faster and more targeted."
Meanwhile, the ATS Formula 3 Trophy also features outstanding variety. On the season's third race weekend, at Hockenheim, drivers from six countries competed in this additional ranking. Furthermore, the Trophy cars are powered by two different power units, the Opel engine and the OPC-Challenge. The biggest technology differences, however, can be witnessed in the chassis area: in addition to the well-known Dallara chassis, the grid also features the Arttech 24, designed, built and raced by STROMOS ARTLINE. The Russian squad has secured many successes in European single-seater series with its in-house designed chassis and now wants to also establish in the German motor-racing scene.
And it has done so in great style, so far, with Ukrainian Sergey Chukanov having won all the six races contested in the season to date. But he isn't completely happy with the development of the season, nevertheless. "The races so far have been quite alright but driving the Arttech F24 isn't easy," he reveals. Nonetheless, the 21-year old also wants to work his way up in the overall ranking as it goes without saying that the Trophy drivers also can score ATS Formula 3 Cup points. To date, Italo-German Francesco Lopez with his Dallara F304 Opel 304 has been Chukanov's toughest rival in the ATS Formula 3 Trophy. The 19-year old secured five podium finishes and in three of these races he finished runner-up. "That's not too bad, isn't it," he says. "Theoretically, I can close the gap to Chukanov on one race weekend."
In addition, Finland's Team ADRF also is new on the 2009 grid, thus underlining the extraordinary significance the fastest German single-seater series is enjoying today. The Finns enter a Dallara F304 Opel 304 for their compatriot Mika Vahamaki. The 19-year old is the reigning Finnish Formula 3 Champion and currently holds third position in the ATS Formula 3 Trophy ranking.
With another six race weekends and 12 rounds respectively to be contested, Chukanov will have numerous chances of securing more wins with the Arttech 24 - while his rivals will have just as many opportunities to defeat him. But whatever the future will bring - with two new teams and four new drivers, the ATS Formula 3 Trophy has demonstrated that its concept - to offer young drivers the opportunity to make their first steps in Formula 3 racing - has proven to be a major success.