2015 Winners Crowned at Awards Evening
F3 Cup’s 2015 winners were honoured in fine style on Saturday (30th January) at the annual Awards Evening
F3 Cup's 2015 winners were honoured in fine style on Saturday (30th January) at the annual Awards Evening, held in partnership with fellow MSVR championship GT Cup, at the MotorSport Vision Centre at Brands Hatch. The event was hosted by motorsport legend Alan Hyde.
After a stunning three course meal, the F3 Cup awards kicked-off the presentations with the Trophy Class podium of Adrian Holey, James Ledamun and Lee McCrumlish celebrated, though sadly unable to be there in person. Their awards were collected by Championship Coordinator Simon Davey, who looked back at an excellent year's racing in the championship, as well as sharing details of changes for 2016, including the introduction of the new F3 Open class. He noted, "2015 saw some fantastic racing, and we have had more interest from new drivers than ever before over the winter months, so this season is looking very strong."
Moving on to the Cup Class and overall winners, third place Louis Hamilton-Smith was first to collect his prizes, including Stand 21 vouchers and a stopwatch courtesy of IWI Watches. He reflected on a tough start to his 2015 campaign, "We even had trouble with the race truck at the start of the year, but things improved from there!" The father (Simon) and son team saw strong results throughout the year, recording a number of podium finishes along the way.
Second place in Cup Class was Stuart Wiltshire, the Chris Dittmann Racing driver clearly in great spirits as he celebrated a career-high finish. Wiltshire's speech was a highlight of the evening, as he took time to look back on an excellent season, "My investment in the F308 was proven to be a wise choice. The second round, and the highlight of my season, was Donington Park. I was able to make three podiums and lead a race for more than 12 laps. I went to second in the championship and that's where I stayed all year." Wiltshire also played a large part in his team's success: "In the finale at Silverstone, in front of all of my fans I was able to secure my second place in the championship and with it the Teams' Championship!"
Cup Class winner, and overall 2015 F3 Cup Champion, was Aaron Steele. After winning the series prize in F3 Cup's inaugural year in 2011, this title marks Steele's first championship and he was clearly delighted. "It was a fantastic year. To do the full season was incredible, and there has to be a huge, huge thank you to the whole Grays Motorsport team for giving me that opportunity."
Alan Hyde asked for Steele's thoughts on any standout highlights from the year, "It's easily done when we go to so many fantastic places! This year we've been to Oulton Park (which holds its own, I'd say, to Spa - it is that good); going to Spa itself which is fantastic; Brands GP, driving that any day of the week is beautiful; but I think the standout moment probably has to be at Spa where I had a really good ding-dong with Chris Dittmann - thanks for that, side-by-side at Blanchimont at 150mph, that's always entertaining!"
It was far from an easy year for the champion though, "We had some clutch issues in the year which really hurt us, but once we got the car settled we just had to chip away."
The Teams' Championship was dominated in 2015 by Chris Dittmann Racing, enjoying an unbroken run of eleven wins at the start of the season. Team Principal Chris Dittmann, who was joined on stage by drivers Wiltshire, Tony Bishop and Kieran Vernon, mechanics Matt and Martin plus wife Sarah, mum Glenda and dad Pete, said: "We had a great start to the season, Kieran [Vernon] taking three wins out of three at Donington, and overall it was a great year with second in the Drivers' Championship and the title for the team." Dittmann adds this title to his own Driver's Championship, which he won in 2012 becoming the first ever F3 Cup champion.
As Steele returned to the stage to collect his championship trophy and the Radical Sportscars prize drive, he thanked his wider support group, "I have to mention my whole family, my aunty, my nan, my girlfriend and my dad, who have been there every round. We've been absolutely everywhere together, it's them and their support which drives me to push that little bit harder."
The 2016 F3 Cup season gets underway at Donington Park on 23-24 April and interest is stronger than ever before. If you would like to find out more about competing in the UK's only dedicated Formula 3 championship - arguably Britain's fastest single seater championship - please don't hesitate to get in touch, and download the 2016 Prospectus here.