F3 Cup welcomes Stutely, Harvey, Payne and Austin

03/04/2012 - Four more drivers are set to join the F3 Cup grid this season boosting the championship’s total entry to 27 drivers.

03/04/2012 - Four more drivers are set to join the F3 Cup grid this season boosting the championship's total entry to 27 drivers, all aiming to become the inaugural F3 Cup champion.

British Formula Ford race winner Linton Stutely, GT convert Benjamin Harvey and experienced club racers Philip Austin and Matt Payne have committed to join the F3 Cup this year. The quartet are all expected to line up on the 21 car strong grid for the opening round of the championship at Cheshire's Oulton Park on Easter Monday.

Cambridgeshire driver Stutely name known in national racing circles after contending for podiums and wins in the 2007 British Formula Ford Championship. The 26-year-old, who edged Nick Tandy to a Formula Ford victory at Snetterton in 2007, has proven his speed in open wheel racing and is hoping to transfer his skills to the F3 Cup this year. Stutely's own Enigma Motorsport team will run a Dallara F399 in the Trophy Class for cars built between 1997 and 2001.        

He said: "The car has been completely rebuilt over the winter using all our experience and expertise and early signs in testing have been very encouraging. The introduction of downforce really suits my driving style and I hope to be on the pace from the start. We aim to show the potential of Enigma Motorsport as we look to a future within the F3 Cup."

GT specialist Harvey, from Sheffield, will dip his toe into the world of single-seater racing by joining the Mark Bailey Racing squad for the 2012 season. The 33-year-old, driving a Cup Class Dallara F307, has spent the last three years racing sportscars in the GT Cup and British GT Championship but is looking for a new challenge this year.    

Lancaster's Austin returns for another season in the F3 Cup behind the wheel of his self run Trophy Class Dallara F398. The company director was hampered by mechanical problems last season but when the car was running he racked up three top ten finishes, including a seventh at the Silverstone GP circuit. The 42-year-old is hoping to build on his performances in 2011 and is a driver hoping to shine on his home circuit at Oulton Park.

He said: "It's great to be back in the F3 Cup and I think it's going to be a really interesting battle with all the new drivers and cars. There seems to be a real buzz about the championship this year."

After making a couple of appearances last season, Payne is stepping up his assault on the 2012 F3 Cup championship by swapping his Dallara F399 for a more modern Mercedes powered F307 to compete in the Cup Class. The former Formula Ford racer from Nottingham is hoping to become a regular points finisher this year.   

He said: "It's great to have a lot of interest and cars on the grid this year in the F3 Cup and I'm looking forward to being a part of it."

Tickets for the British GT/F3 Championships at Oulton Park, featuring the F3 Cup Championship, are available from £13 with free entry for children aged 12 and under. British F3, which traditionally races at this event, will this year feature on the Good Friday and Easter Saturday. For more information on the event line-up and to purchase tickets, call 0843 453 9000 or visit www.oultonpark.co.uk