Major sponsor

Search our website

Nationals TV

iTV Live

News

Aug 5, 2014

CHAMPIONS RETURN ADDS SPICE TO F3 TITLE FIGHT

The return of former Formula 3 Australian Drivers champions James Winslow and Chris Gilmour to the series add serious spice to proceedings at Queensland Raceway this weekend.

2008 & ‘12 champion Winslow will return to R-Tek Motorsport while Gilmour Racing will add a second McDonald’s entry alongside their championship contender, Ben Gersekowski, for the 2011 champ.

And while Winslow is neutral in the fight for the Gold Star, Gilmour is entering his home event with every intention to take points away from his teammates’ two main title rivals from the opposing Team BRM squad.

Entering the fifth round the Gold Star fight is tenuously poised at the moment with just 15 points splitting leader Simon Hodge and Gersekowski at the top of the table. Third-placed Chris Anthony sits just a further 17 points back and could conceivably lead the standings should he win in Ipswich this weekend.

The most experienced driver in Australian Formula 3 history, Gilmour says he has every intention of playing the spoiler to ‘team blue’ this weekend.

“My role will be to drive fast and get as close to the front as possible and hopefully give Hodge and Antony a close race to take some points off them,” he said.

“I have kept up with my fitness and training and have had three test days in the car since I last raced, so I believe I’m fitter and faster than ever before.

“It’s great to be back in these cars and I’m really pumped. We’re not coming back to make up the numbers and I want to be very competitive.”

Gilmour will race a Mercedes-Benz powered Dallara F307 for Gilmour Racing while Winslow will race an identical car for the R-Tek squad.

The addition of Gilmour and Winslow to the Queensland Raceway field make it one of the deepest of the year, joining a group of protagonists who have all tasted their own form of success so far this season.

Along with Hodge, Gersekowski and Anthony, Forpark National Class contender Garnet Patterson visited the outright podium for the first time in the series’ most recent round at Hidden Valley, in Darwin.

Patterson qualified on the front row at the Darwin event and led races before being hunted down by eventual round winner Hodge – but his second-place finish in race one remains comfortably his best finish in Formula 3.

Patterson’s National class rival Chelsea Angelo returns to the series having missed the Darwin round and will seek to return to the class lead, having watched her closest rival score the big points at the most recent round from afar.

Angelo and her OzStaff Racing team today confirmed the addition of United Petroleum to their existing sponsorship base for the remainder of the season.

Victorian speedster Ricky Capo can also consider himself a realistic contender despite a challenging rookie season to date. His front-row qualifying performance at the Clipsal 500 showed his impressive pace early in the season and the young driver will be seeking a consistent weekend in Queensland having finished sixth in Darwin.

Alpine Motorsports Dennie Rumble and fellow Queenslanders Blake Varney and Paul Scott also join the field for this weekend.

The F3ADC field will tackle three races across the weekend at Queensland Raceway and will have yet another outright lap record in their sights as well.

Simon Hodge has set new Formula 3 lap records in all four rounds contested so far this year, including outright circuit benchmarks at the Clipsal 500 Adelaide street circuit, and his famous 2m02-effort at Mount Panorama.

The mighty pace shown by the 2011-specification cars running at the front of the field coupled with a wider Kumho front control tyre should see Tim Macrows’ Queensland Raceway benchmark set last year (1m04.4146s) easily beaten, should conditions suit.

A fellow double Gold Star champion – Simon Wills – currently holds the outright QR lap record at 1m04.0661s – just 0.4s quicker than the best Formula 3 lap to date.

Hodge has also dominated qualifying this season and is on the verge of equaling a longstanding F3ADC record for the most consecutive pole positions.

2006 champion Ben Clucas scored five pole positions in a row during his title year, grabbing pole for both races at Phillip Island (Round 3), Mallala (Round 4) and race one of the fifth round at Eastern Creek.

Hodge has scored four pole positions in a row, equal to three other drivers, however has achieved his stat with the disadvantage of only having one qualifying session per round rather than two, as utilised prior to the 2010 season.

Mitch Evans scored four consecutive pole positions in 2010 and holds the record for single-qualifying pole streaks.

Round 5 of the championship commences this Friday, August 8, with practice ahead of qualifying and racing on Saturday and Sunday.

Sunday’s races will be streamed live via the Shannons Nationals website – www.thenationals.com.au