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Category: Formula 3 Britain

Chinese racer Peter Li Zhi Cong joins championship winning team Carlin for an assault on the 2014 Cooper Tires British Formula Three International Series. Li Zhi Cong previously spent time with the team during his participation of the Brands Hatch round of the British F3 Championship last season. Li Zhi Cong joins the team as the Series makes a return to some of the most respected and loved tracks in the UK – with a visit to the legendary Spa-Francorchamps circuit also on the calendar.

Joining the hugely successful Carlin team Li Zhi Cong will have a wealth of experience to draw from within the team. The British team have won a huge total of nine British Formula Three titles – including most recently the 2013 title with Jordan King.

Carlin’s Formula Three team have a strong reputation for building careers; Daniel Riccardo, Jean-Eric Vergne, Max Chilton and Kevin Magnussen all raced for the team in their early years before reaching the pinnacle of the sport. Li Zhi Cong joins the team and will look to take as much as he can from the team during his first full season racing within Europe.

Li Zhi Cong has spent much of his junior career racing in Asia; his previous experience has seen him take on racing in both single seater cars and GT cars. More recently the Chinese native became the GT Asia Series champion in 2013 and has been competing in the Porsche Carrera Cup Asia; Li Zhi Cong also finished in a strong fifth position during the City of Dreams Macau GT Cup.

Li Zhi Cong said, ‘I’m pleased to be back with Carlin full time for the 2014 season. I enjoyed my time testing and competing with them last year at Brands Hatch and I can’t wait to start racing for them this year. I haven’t raced at many of the tracks however I’m confident that we can put some good work in on the simulator, enjoy a solid year together and learn as much as possible throughout the season.’

Trevor Carlin added, ‘We’re delighted to welcome Li Zhi Cong to the team for the 2014 season. He raced with us last year at Brands Hatch and while it was only one event he was a great addition to the team.

‘The Cooper Tires British Formula Three Championship is an extremely relevant championship for young drivers looking to learn their craft and progress through the motorsport ranks. We’re pleased to be competing again in such a great championship and look forward to the season kicking off in May.’

The first round of the season will get underway 2 – 4 May 2014 with the Cooper Tires British Formula Three International Series making a return to the Rockingham Speedway.

Andy ChungMacanese single-seater newcomer Chang Wing Chung – otherwise known as ‘Andy’ Chang – is to make his Formula 3 debut with the Double R Racing team in the Cooper Tires British F3 International Series this year it is confirmed today, Wednesday, 15th January.

Chang, who will arrive in F3 as one of the youngest drivers in the series aged just 17, is the first signing of a planned three or four car entry for the revitalised British championship this season from Anthony ‘Boyo’ Hieatt’s former title winning squad.

Making his open-wheel debut in the Dunlop MSA Formula Ford Championship of Great Britain last year, Chang contested six races in total. Making his bow at Rockingham in September, Chang went on to take a best finish of fifth position at Silverstone National Circuit and, with it, a Scholarship Class victory in only his fourth outing.

Adding to his limited experience, the Far Eastern youngster also took part in three Formula Masters China Series races at Shanghai International Circuit before contesting the end-of-year invitational Macau Grand Prix support race where he finished in a highly creditable eighth position.

Prior to his graduation into cars in 2013, Chang enjoyed a stellar karting career in which he was a national title winner in 2007 before competing at the highest level in the CIK-FIA World KF1 Karting Championship, the CIK-FIA European KF2 Championship and the CIK-FIA European KF Championship.

“We’re looking forward to working with Andy and pleased to announce our first British F3 driver so early in the New Year”, commented Hieatt, “It’s a big step up for him but with a good testing plan in place we’re confident he’ll be able to get up to speed pretty quickly.

“He hasn’t driven the car yet but he’s shown well in the car races he’s done and, of course, he has a good karting pedigree. We’re confident he’ll improve well during the British season in preparation for the Macau Grand Prix at the end of the year.”

Chang’s competitive Cooper Tires British F3 International Series debut will come during the opening weekend of the 2014 season at Rockingham in Northamptonshire on 4th/5th May. After visits to Silverstone, Snetterton, Spa-Francorchamps in Belgium, Thruxton and Brands Hatch, the series will reach its conclusion at Donington Park Grand Prix Circuit on 13th/14th September.

Photo by Jakob Ebrey Photography.

Cameron TwynhamCameron Twynham adapted quickly to an unfamiliar car to finish on the National Class podium in each of last weekend’s three British Formula 3 races at Brands Hatch (10/11 August).

The 17-year-old European F3 Open regular swapped his usual Dallara F308 chassis for the newer F312 model at the Kent venue, where he was making a second British F3 appearance of the year following a podium treble at Silverstone in May.

Still adjusting to his new Team West-Tec car, Twynham qualified third for the opening race but was immediately able to snatch P2 when the pole-sitter failed to get away from the grid. After applying pressure to the leader and remaining within one second of top-spot for much of the race, he would eventually settle for a runner-up finish.

Improving his grid slot to second for race two, Twynham maintained position during the early stages, soaking up heavy pressure from behind until he was finally overhauled on lap six. The Market Harborough racer didn’t allow that to faze him however, managing to remain with the lead duo to the flag and secure third place.

Twynham began the final race from P3 and enjoyed an excellent getaway, only to drop back to fourth when he made an attempt for P2. However a collision between two rivals ahead of him made that third, and Twynham wasted little time in going on the offensive and climbing a further spot to second. He would take the chequered flag in the same position, continuing his 100% record of British F3 National Class podiums.

Indeed, Twynham has now taken a total of 14 podium finishes from 17 races during his maiden season aboard F3 machinery, a highly impressive achievement for the 17-year-old. The weekend’s results see him climb back up to third in the National Class standings having recorded the highest number of points at the Brands Hatch event.

Twynham will return to action at Spa-Francorchamps in Belgium on 7/8 September when he will resume his bid for the European F3 Open Copa Class title.

Cameron Twynham: “Overall I’m extremely happy with how the weekend went. This was my first time competing with the Dallara F312 chassis and to score three podium finishes was very satisfying, as well as providing a real confidence boost.

“It’s well-established that Brands Hatch is a tricky circuit to pass on, so I’m not too frustrated to have missed out on victory this weekend. I was getting to know the car throughout the event which, while challenging, was a great learning experience that I hope will stand me in good stead for the future.

“I’d like to say a big thank you to my sponsors, MRE and Geodis Wilson, for giving me the opportunity to race this weekend. I’d also really like to thank everyone who turned out to cheer me on at Brands Hatch and throughout the season. I hope I can reward all of their support with more good results at Spa next month.”

Cameron TwynhamCameron Twynham travels to the Nurburgring in Germany this weekend (June 1/2) confident of maintaining his European F3 Open Copa Class title challenge following an impressive British Formula 3 debut.

The 17-year-old from Market Harborough had earmarked the opening round of the world-famous British series at Silverstone as an opportunity to iron out some of the issues his Team West-Tec Dallara had experienced at the previous F3 Open event in Portugal. But despite this being billed as a competitive test session, Twynham came away with a hat-trick of podium finishes and the accolade of highest-placed finisher driving the older F308 chassis in each of the three races.

“It’s always great to be on the podium but that really wasn’t our objective prior to Silverstone,” Twynham revealed. “British F3’s National Class is different to F3 Open’s in that it’s based solely on engines. I was therefore up against drivers with considerably newer and better-developed machinery. When you also consider that I had never raced at Silverstone or used the spec Cooper tyres before, which are quite different to the Dunlop compound I’ve run all season, they were three really encouraging results.

“Above everything else though it was the perfect opportunity to try some new things and sort the problems we’ve experienced this season. That was our focus throughout the weekend, which puts the overall results into even greater perspective.”

Those results, coupled with the car’s problems appearing to be solved, have left Cameron feeling optimistic of another strong showing in Germany this weekend, even if there will be further challenges to overcome. Indeed, he was able to complete just a handful of laps during pre-season testing around a circuit he will be racing at for the first time.

“I guess you could say testing didn’t go to plan there earlier in the year!” he said. “While I only managed 10 laps the majority of my rivals had two days to learn the circuit and develop set-ups. We essentially start from zero, but I’m not too worried, especially following the performance at Silverstone.

“I’m feeling full of confidence and actually see this weekend as an opportunity to really kick-start my campaign. The opening four races yielded a win and second place but non-scores in the other two, so it’s really important that we focus on adding consistency to the speed already shown. We made a lot of progress with the car at Silverstone so I am really hopeful that Nurburgring can be the turning point of our 2013.”

Motors TV will have live coverage of both the weekend’s races from 13:50 BST on Saturday and 12:05 on Sunday.

For regular updates don’t forget to follow Cameron on Twitter and Facebook: @CameronTwynham / www.facebook.com/CameronTwynhamRacing

Roberto La RoccaRoberto La Rocca took another podium finish in the opening round of the 2013 Cooper Tires British Formula 3 International Series at Silverstone in the UK last weekend (May 25-26).

The current US F2000 Champion, who is also competing in the 2013 European Formula 3 Open championship this season with Team West-Tec, went well in qualifying at the Northamptonshire-based track, home of the British Grand Prix.

Indeed he was third fastest of the eight National Class runners in his Dallara F312 Toyota, his best effort a 1 minute 58.875 second lap, which left him 13th overall, a good result considering that of the 19 competitors in action at Silverstone, nine were competing in the faster and more powerful International Class.

In the opening race Roberto made a good start and gained a handful of places. Despite then slipping back, he stormed back in the closing stages to finish fourth in the National Class and tenth overall.

On Sunday, two more races lay in wait, and the Venezuelan ace again put in an impressive performance, gaining a position at the start of the second race and running second in class and twelfth overall throughout.

Race three saw Roberto continue to perform and in the end he was once again fourth of the National Class runners and 13th overall.

“It was a difficult weekend in some respects. We had some problems with the car again, but we were still able to finish second in one of the races and get a good result,” said the 22-year-old.

“We also took two fourth places and in all the races we managed to get good starts and tended to pick up a couple of positions.”

“We know that we can definitely fight for victories and higher positions once we get the car sorted,” added the Accelerate Driver Development Ltd (ADD)-affiliated youngster. “Hopefully for my next outing at the Nurburgring we can find a bit more pace to help us out. I am sure we can start getting some victories soon.”

Roberto now heads straight to the Nurburgring in Germany this week for round three of the 2013 European Formula 3 Open championship from June 1-2.

PHoto by Jakob Ebrey Photography.

Sean WalkinshawChipping Norton’s Sean Walkinshaw will make his competitive debut in the newly re-energised Cooper Tires British Formula 3 International Series at Silverstone Grand Prix Circuit this coming weekend, 25th/26th May.

Taking part in the opening event of the British F3 season at his ‘home’ track to gain some additional race mileage and seat time in his Dallara F308, the European Formula 3 Open ‘Copa Class’ regular is aiming to use the extra experience to help kick-start his 2013 campaign.

“I’m approaching the whole Silverstone weekend as more of a test than anything else”, said the Team West-Tec racer, “We’re going to be in against some much quicker cars from the FIA Formula 3 European Championship so we won’t really be able to compete that much. Having said that though a couple of my team-mates will be doing it as well so we’ll have a nice little battle amongst ourselves.

“Hopefully it’ll be a valuable weekend, I’m just focused on learning as much as I can and getting some more race experience in the F3 car. It is going to be nice racing on my home track, it’s always great to visit Silverstone, so I’m really looking forward to it.”

Sean’s most recent outing in Euro F3 Open at Portimao in southern Portugal just over a week ago, 11th/12th May, was luckless from start to finish. Beginning with unfortunate troubles in qualifying, those were then compounded by incident in both races.

Forced to start the first Portimao encounter from 12th in the Copa Class, having sustained damaged suspension in qualifying, the 19-year-old wasn’t able to make much headway in the race when he was punted into retirement by a rival after just a couple of laps. In round four, an enforced pit-stop to remove debris from the rear of his Dallara dropped him a lap down to a finish of 11th in class.

“It was a bit of a nightmare all weekend to be honest”, reflected the Oxfordshire driver, “In first qualifying I damaged the suspension when I caught a kerb a bit too hard and in the race I got taken out. In race two qualifying, my new tyre run was disrupted by red flags but the race itself wasn’t going too badly to begin with to be fair.

“I went slightly wide at one point though and picked up some artificial turf in the rear floor of the car, it got stuck there so it was like there was no downforce at the back. So I had to pit to have it removed which ruined the race. If we can have two trouble-free races at Silverstone and make some progress it’ll stand us in good stead for the following weekend at the Nurburgring in Euro F3 Open.”

Provisionally, qualifying for the opening three rounds of the British F3 season at Silverstone will take place at 10.45 on Saturday, 25th May, with race one beginning at 15.10. On Sunday, 26th May, race two is scheduled to start at 12.00 with race three following at 16.55 – both of the Sunday encounters are set to be screened live on Motors TV.

Photo by European F3 Open.

Giovinazzi and GelaelReigning Formula Pilota China Champion Antonio Giovinazzi and fellow category race winner Sean Gelael will graduate to the Cooper Tires British Formula 3 International Series next year after today, Tuesday, 18th December, finalising their respective 2013 deals with Double R Racing.

Indonesian 16-year-old Gelael and Italian Giovinazzi, who celebrated his 19th birthday last week, will each drive a Mercedes-powered Dallara F312 in the headline class of British F3 as both – who are part of the same ‘Sean GP’ management stable – make the move into the ultra-competitive world of Formula 3 after just a single season in cars.

“It’s fantastic for us to have filled two seats already for 2013, we’re absolutely delighted to have Sean and Antonio onboard and really looking forward to working with them over the winter and into the new season”, commented team principal Anthony ‘Boyo’ Hieatt, “I’ve been out to Malaysia a few times to watch them both in action and they’ve been very impressive.

“They’re very quick, very talented young drivers and did a sensational job in their first season in cars this year. Sean’s performances, at such a young age, belied his limited experience and Antonio’s results tally speaks for itself – he dominated the championship. Both have a strong pedigree from karting and, in testing with us at Pembrey in the F3 car, they showed a great deal of promise.”

Born and raised in Jakarta, Indonesia, Gelael is a true rising star of Asian motorsport and made a huge impact during his debut season of car racing in Formula Pilota this year. Ending the campaign fourth overall in the championship, and second in the ‘Best Asian Driver Trophy’, the youngster brilliantly achieved his first win during the season finale at Sepang International Circuit in Malaysia.

Gelael also competed in the last three races of the 2012 Formula Abarth Championship at Monza in Italy and delivered an excellent series of performances, securing a best result of seventh place and a hat-trick of top 10 finishes.

The youngster’s karting debut came in 2008 in the ranks of Senior Rotax, having already been a champion co-driver in Indonesian National Rallying, and just two years later he claimed his first title in karts with victory in the Senior Formula 125 Asian Karting Open Championship. The following season, Gelael was third in the Asian Karting Open before making the move into cars.

Giovinazzi secured several race victories and numerous podiums on his way to the Formula Pilota China Championship title this year, sealing the crown a full 50 points clear of experienced British single-seater racer Dan Wells.

Like stable-mate Gelael, the Italian also debuted in Formula Abarth at Monza in September where he won two of the three races during a rain-hit final weekend of the season. Starring on his first outing, Giovinazzi scythed his way through from the back of the grid to claim a maiden win in the opening encounter before capping off the weekend superbly with another victory in race three.

His motorsport career began in karting in 2006 where he won the Italian National Trophy 60cc title and the Euro Trophy before graduating into the ranks of KF3 where he was second in the Torneo Industrie and Copa Campeones Trophy contests in 2008.

Finishing third in the KF2 class of the Trofeo Andrea Margutti in 2009, Giovinazzi was a consistent front-runner at European and World level over the next two years in KF2 – finishing second in the 2011 Bridgestone Cup and third in the CIK-FIA World Cup.

Oulton Park in Cheshire will host the opening three rounds of the 2013 Cooper Tires British F3 International Series across Easter weekend with the action commencing on Good Friday, 29th March, and then concluding on Saturday, 30th March.

Jack Harvey has closed the gap in the championship standings with a dominant win for Carlin in race one of the weekend at Donington to jump to second in the points table. The Racing Steps backed driver took a lights to flag victory ahead of team mate Jazeman Jaafar who retains the championship lead by one point. Pietro Fantin put in an impressive performance to finish sixth, while Harry Tincknell crossed the line in eighth.

Starting from pole position, Harvey made the most of his grid slot and made the perfect getaway and was followed of the line by Jaafar, while third placed man and championship rival Felix Serralles dropped back from third to fourth behind Alex Lynn. Fantin lost one place to Hannes van Asseldonk and dropped to sixth, while Tincknell had held onto eighth.

Over the opening laps, Harvey managed to pull out a small gap, while Jaafar initially had Lynn in his mirrors. Fantin was also having to defend, with Pipo Derani putting him under pressure for sixth. Derani passed Fantin on lap two, but the Carlin man stayed close to the Fortec driver in a tussle that would prove the highlight of the race.

The order remained unchanged for several laps, as Harvey pulled out a three second gap on his team mate and Jaafar managed to ease the pressure with a gap from third placed Lynn.

Behind them Fantin was keen to make back sixth place, and was close enough to Derani down the straight to try a move at Redgate on lap 14. The Carlin driver couldn’t quite make a move stick though, and bided his time, slotting back into sixth place. On lap 16, Fantin’s perseverance paid off as he passed his compatriot for sixth place, while team mate Tincknell had also closed in on Derani.

As the race entered the final stages Harvey had opened up a healthy gap and was controlling the race at the front, while Jaafar was managing to keep Lynn at bay. Released from behind Derani, Fantin was flying and pulled away from the Fortec driver to set the third fastest lap of the race, while Tincknell was still running in eighth.

At the chequered flag Harvey took his sixth victory of the season by four seconds, Jaafar took a solid second place to maintain the championship lead by one point. Fantin crossed the line sixth and Tincknell eighth.

Speaking about his win, Harvey said, “I thought that was an important race to win, I know that sounds obvious but after Silverstone it was nice for me personally to go out there and do the job and eliminate any doubts people may have had. The team couldn’t have done any more, it was a great race. It’s a good result, but there’s still two more races to go and the reverse grid race will be very important, as it has been all year.”

Harvey pulled the number eight out of the bag for tomorrow’s reverse grid race, meaning Tincknell will start from pole, Fantin will start third, Jaafar seventh and Harvey eighth.

Jack Harvey has shown his intentions ahead of this weekend’s Cooper Tires British F3 championship battle by taking pole positions for race one and three of the weekend at Donington. The Racing Steps driver will be joined on the front row for race one later this afternoon by Jazeman Jaafar, whose second fastest lap was second quickest. The Malaysian was third fastest overall, putting him third on the grid for Sunday’s Feature race, while Pietro Fantin was fifth overall and Harry Tincknell sixth.

Despite some grey clouds overhead, conditions remained dry for this afternoon’s qualifying session. Jaafar, Tincknell and Harvey were all pace setters in the very early stages of qualifying, until Fortec’s Serralles went quickest ten minutes into the session.

Harvey was one of the first drivers to pit for new tyres with 20 minutes still remaining and entered the pits from P2 on the timing screens. Tincknell also favoured a similar strategy pitting just as Harvey returned to the track. Points leader Jaafar meanwhile stayed out longer than his team mates, and instead pitted with 15 minutes still to go.

Making the most of his new tyres, Harvey was soon back up to pace and took provisional pole just 0.005 seconds quicker than Serralles with 12 minutes to go. Jaafar was still a few laps behind him in his tyre cycle and remained fourth overall.

Running a similar strategy to Harvey, Tincknell was on the pace and went quickest, but Harvey bettered his time with his next lap. With eight minutes still on the clock Jaafar improved, as did Fortec’s Alex Lynn to go second and separate Harvey and Jaafar on the timing screens.

In his Racing Steps Foundation liveried car, Harvey was still improving and went quicker again to confirm his place at the top, while Jaafar was third and Tincknell fifth although the Devon born racer was in the pits with suspected damage. Fantin meanwhile was seventh.

As the tyres passed their optimum level of performance Harvey’s effort would remain unbeaten, with the Carlin man setting several laps good enough for pole. With the drivers fastest laps overall setting the grid for race three, Harvey will take pole with Jaafar just behind him in third. Fantin improved in the final stages and will start fifth while Tincknell will start sixth.

With driver’s second fastest laps setting the grid for race one later today, Harvey will again take pole, alongside team mate Jaafar in second, Fantin in fifth and Tincknell in eighth.

Reflecting on his session Harvey said, “It’s a good start for us, it’s nice to bounce back after the controversy of Silverstone, having won the appeal and to take two poles here. I’m focussing on carrying that momentum into the races. Obviously this is just the first part of the story, but we’ve done the best we could so far.”

Team mate Jaafar added, “There’s still some room for improvement but we’re pretty close. There’s three long races ahead of us. I’m just taking it one race at a time. We’ll see where we are at the end.”

Race one of the weekend will take place at 17.10 later today.

Carlin’s Jack Harvey and Jazeman Jaafar were the pace setters in today’s official testing at Donington, ahead of the 2012 Cooper Tires British F3 Series finale this weekend. The Carlin men were separated by just 0.093 seconds, as they topped the timesheets ahead of their main championship rival Felix Serralles. Carlin’s Pietro Fantin also completed a strong test and was fourth fastest overall and second fastest in this afternoon’s damp session, while team mate Harry Tincknell was eighth fastest overall.

Following news that his team had won an appeal against his 30-second time penalty from race two at Silverstone, Harvey was in a confident mood heading to Donington this week. The Racing Steps backed driver was relegated from second place to 12th, after it was deemed he had caused a collision with Fortec’s Pipo Derani on the opening lap of the reserve grid race at the last event at Silverstone. The penalty reversal means the standings are now closer than ever, as Jaafar leads the standings by three points from Fortec’s Serralles, who is a further three points ahead of Harvey.

As the Carlin quartet of Jaafar, Harvey, Fantin and Tincknell began a detailed test programme at Donington this morning, it was Serralles who set the early pace and was quickest 15 minutes into the session. However, points leader Jaafar put his mark on the session to go quickest with 15 minutes remaining before his team mate and championship rival bettered his effort with a 1.23.156. Both efforts remained unbeaten, with Harvey finishing the session quickest, just 0.093 seconds ahead of Jaafar, with Serralles third and Fantin fourth, while Tincknell was eighth.

After time to digest data gathered from the first session of the day, the British F3 drivers were back on track for second practice. Again Serralles was the early pace setter, but this time the onset of rain prevented the Carlin drivers from improving. The session continued without too much excitement and in damp conditions and at the chequered flag Serralles was quickest, just ahead of Fantin, although Harvey and Jaafar’s best times from the morning session remained unbeaten.

Pace setter Harvey said, “It’s been quite a good day for us, I was quickest in the dry and around P3 in the wet conditions with a good balance on the car. We’ve got a bit of time to find in the wet to be completely happy, but we’re certainly going in the right direction. It’s been a positive test and I think we can be relatively happy whatever the weather does now this weekend, as long as we’re on the right tyres at the right time! We’re in good shape to fight for the championship.”

Team mate and points leader Jaafar added, “It’s been a good start to the weekend, we’ve definitely got good pace, although the weather was a bit of a challenge this afternoon. Nevertheless I think we’ll have a strong pace in the wet and the dry. I can’t wait to go out for qualifying on Saturday, which is when the lap times will really mean something.”

The British F3 drivers will have a day of rest to contemplate the season finale, before qualifying gets underway at 12.20 local time on Saturday.