Competitive grid set for F3 Cup season opener

The 2013 F3 Cup kicks off at Oulton Park this weekend (30 March/1 April), for its second season championship status.

The 2013 F3 Cup Championship kicks off at Oulton Park this weekend (30 March/1 April), for its second season running with full-MSA championship status. A wide variety of F3 machinery spanning seven years of evolution will take on the challenge of the undulating Cheshire circuit, with two races on Easter Monday.

2012 front-runners Tristan Cliffe (Omicron Motorsport Dallara F307) and Gino Ussi (Lanan Racing Dallara F305) both return for 2013, and will be hoping for big scores this weekend to start their season in the best way possible.

But a selection of notable new faces joining the championship at Oulton Park will make any pre-season predictions rather difficult. Alice Powell, the first female to score points in F1-support series GP3, has signed up for a full campaign with Mark Bailey Racing, and is expected to challenge right at the sharp end. Other fresh faces include ex-Formula Ford racer Ollie Rae, making the step up in an Enigma Motorsport Dallara F301, partnering Formula Renault competitor Henry Chart. Alex Craven is another new name, at the wheel of a Lanan Racing Dallara F307.

Mark Harrison is another front runner who returns for 2013, competing with Magic Motorsport in a Dallara F306, as does brother Neil in a Dallara F302.

2012 Masters class winner Dave Karaskas moves up to the Trophy 01 category with his Dallara F301, while series regulars Tony Bishop (Dallara F306), Nick Robinson (Dallara F302) and Stuart Wiltshire (Dallara F307) are also confirmed for Oulton Park.

James Cross returns to the field after solving the engine issues that affected his 2012 season, as do Robbie Watts and James Ledamun after partial campaigns in 2012.

Free practice takes place at 17.55 on Saturday (30 March), with qualifying at 08.30 on Monday (1 April). The races will take place at 12.15 and 16.10. Raceday tickets will be available on the gate at Oulton Park for £22, with free admission for children aged 12 and under. The circuit also two new grandstands positioned at Lodge and Old Hall corners, with seats available for  £10 per day. For more information call 0843 453 9000 or click this link.