Three-way tussle for 2016 Teams' title
For the first time, the top three teams are all in with a chance to claim the prestigious Teams’ Championship title
The closest title fight in F3 Cup's history is not just confined to the "Snetterton 7" (those in contention for the Drivers' Championship) - for the first time, the top three teams in the standings are all in with a chance to claim the prestigious Teams' Championship title.
The Teams' title has been an important aspect of the championship since its inception, providing an added dimension to the racing. Omicron Motorsport took the honours in the inaugural 2012 season, after consistent results throughout the year from drivers Tristan Cliffe and Tony Bishop. In 2013 Mark Bailey signed off his illustrious racing career with the title going to his eponymous squad, after a dominant year with drivers Alice Powell, Stuart Wiltshire, Nick Robinson and Frank Thomas all playing their part. 2014 saw the crown return to Norfolk as Omicron regained the title at the last weekend of the year with Cliffe scoring the crucial final points. Last year, championship stalwarts Chris Dittmann Racing (CDR) perfectly balanced their F3 Cup schedule with a full campaign in the BRDC F4 Championship, to pick up their first team award, three years after Chris himself won the first Driver's Championship. As we approach the final weekend of 2016, we find two new teams aiming to keep CDR from retaining the title - and with each team's two highest finishing drivers scoring team points in each race, there is still a healthy points haul up for grabs.
Hywel Lloyd's CF Racing outfit has been one of the great success stories in 2016. Leading the table by 16 points, the team has logged consistent performances throughout the year, claiming a number of podiums and wins along the way. This weekend newcomer Paul Dagg will join George Line and James Heffernan under the CF Racing banner to maximise their scoring chances.
A brand new team to F3 Cup in 2016, Team Fox Racing has made quite the impression, currently lying in second place in the Teams' standings. Drivers Daryl Jones, Robbie Watts and more recently Mark Harrison have all had strong seasons, with Jones and Watts each scoring multiple race wins. All three are right on form at the moment, and together with team boss Dan Fox will pull out all the stops this weekend to grab the Teams' title in their debut year in the championship.
Aiming to be the first team to win the Teams' Championship in consecutive years, CDR will undoubtedly prove a force to be reckoned with at Snetterton. Drivers Stuart Wiltshire and Tony Bishop have both had mixed fortunes this year, but Dittmann knows how to get the best from his drivers and following a strong year in the BRDC British Formula 3 Championship will be keen to end 2016 on a high.
Omicron Motorsport could well play a significant role in the outcome this weekend, despite the title being just out of their reach. Fielding three drivers this weekend (Jacopo Sebastiani, Malcolm Scott and Wade Eastwood) could take all important points away from the top three and may well prove crucial with such slim margins in play.
Although similarly out of the running for the Teams' Championship title, a special mention must go to the University of Wolverhampton Race Team. The student-run team has never failed to provide driver Shane Kelly with an exceptionally prepared car, their distinctive Dallara F308 featuring prominently in the podium spots throughout their first year running such technical machinery. While it hasn't all been plain sailing, the team's resilience and focus is a credit to them - and perfectly embodies the spirit of F3 Cup.
F3 Cup's title deciding rounds at Snetterton this weekend (8/9 October) will kick-off with qualifying at 12:10 on Saturday, followed by race one at 16:00. Sunday will see another 15-minute race at 11:50 and the 20-minute feature race at 15:15.