F3 Cup heads to Snetterton for season opener

Snetterton has hosted some of F3 Cup’s most dramatic races over the past two seasons, and the rapid Norfolk circuit is the scene of the opening round of 2014 this weekend (5-6 April).

Snetterton has hosted some of F3 Cup's most dramatic races over the past two seasons, and the rapid Norfolk circuit is the scene of the opening round of 2014 this weekend (5-6 April).

Familiar faces are returning and many with updated cars, but there are some new names with proven race-winning pedigree set to make their Formula Three debut. Lanan Racing will be hoping karting graduate and regular winner Toby Sowery can fill the shoes left by 2013 champion Alex Craven, and Sowery will be piloting the same championship-winning Dallara. Sowery's season began two weeks ago as he attained the required signatures on his licence, and he did so by collecting a handful of podiums in some Formula Fords and MGs.

The reigning Formula Jedi champion, Lee Morgan, has signed with Grays Motorsport for the 2014 F3 Cup and he'll be making his debut too this weekend. The Runcorn-based racer won nine times in 2013 on the way to the Jedi title, and Grays certainly know their way to the front after running Aaron Steele in a dominant season of F3 Cup in 2011.

Louis Hamilton-Smith will line up in some newly-acquired machinery, a Dallara F307 previously raced by Motopark Academy in Germany. He regularly visited the podium last season but couldn't add to his three wins from 2011 and '12. Enigma Motorsport's double-winner from last season Henry Chart will be behind the wheel of a newer Dallara F305/7, a car that won twice at Snetterton in September being pedalled by David Scott.

Championship nearly-man Tristan Cliffe is back for a third title tilt having finished second and third in the championship in the past two seasons. He took more wins, poles and fastest laps than any other driver last year, and he knows his home circuit better than most.

Mark Harrison has some fine form from the last few rounds of 2013 to carry into this season, finishing in the top six in each of his last six races. Tony Bishop, Stuart Wiltshire and Nick Robinson have all said they're hunting for more top six finishes this year though, hinting at a brilliant fight throughout the field.

In the Trophy 01 class, Oliver Rae and Enigma Motorsport have worked tirelessly over the winter to rectify their issues from last year and he will have ex-Formula Renault racer Roberto Tirone for company in class. Both will be aiming for the fillip of beating the newer cars of the Cup 07 class.

A Radical test prize in on offer at the end of the season, and it looks like this year could be the closest F3 Cup championship yet.

F3 Cup will be racing on both days at Snetterton this weekend (5-6 April). Tickets are available for £14 on the gate with free admission for children under 13.