Bumper grid set for second Silverstone installment
One of the largest ever F3 Cup grids heads to Silverstone this weekend, tackling the longer GP circuit.
(28.06.17) F3 Cup heads to the iconic Silverstone GP circuit this weekend (1/2 July), and Formula 1's British home remains a firm favourite amongst the drivers. This is evidenced by the largest F3 Cup entry list for a number of years, which should see over 20 Formula 3 cars battling around this fast, technical layout.
Having visited the National circuit just a month ago, much of the circuit will be fresh in the drivers' minds. A number of them have since enjoyed a non-championship event at Spa-Francorchamps, with the F3 Cup drivers leading a field of over 40 single seaters from around Europe.
Last time out, the glory belonged to Wade Eastwood. Returning to the championship after a brief hiatus, but with new machinery and support in the shape of CF Racing, Eastwood dominated as he won all three races, though it was Robbie Watts who secured pole position in a busy qualifying session.
As the first race got underway a first corner collision between Shane Kelly, Stuart Wiltshire and Gino Ussi brought out the Safety Car, which allowed Watts to hold on to a comfortable lead for the first part of the race. When the race resumed however, Jacopo Sebastiani wasted no time in applying the pressure to Watts, himself under attack from the rapid Eastwood in third. These three would enjoy a fierce battle to the flag, with Watts coming home second ahead of Sebastiani.
Another Safety Car deployment in the second race would prove to be the defining moment here; as the cars of Philip Jeans and Richard Purcell were recovered, Eastwood and Cian Carey closed up on the leaders after being forced back earlier on and would be joined by Watts on the podium. Watts capitalised on Eastwood's poor start to race three, but the South African was quick to make up for it, and together with Carey and Sebastiani (who now leads the championship) stormed through to collect the silverware. Chasing hard, UWR's Shane Kelly posted the fastest lap of the weekend, too.
The GP circuit always provides exciting racing, so expect the championship front runners to be in fine form again this weekend. CF Racing's Stuart Wiltshire was one of those enjoying a successful weekend at Spa and will be keen to continue that. Team mates George Line (2016 Champion) and James Heffernan have had mixed fortunes this year and will want to improve on their consistency. Team Fox drivers Tony Bishop and Mark Harrison are running well in their new cars, while Chris Dittmann Racing's Peter Venn and Phillip Jeans have both made huge progress having joined the Championship this year. Independents Dave Gillett, Adrian Holey and Malcolm Scott continue to pressure those with the support of the bigger teams, showcasing F3 Cup's key ethos of offering affordable, high-tech racing.
More of 2016's competitors make a return this weekend, and we're delighted to welcome back Irishman Tim Buckley in his Toyota-powered car, as well as Daryl Jones who carries the #3 on his car this year after finishing third in last year's standings.
A number of new faces join us this weekend, all keen to experience this famous circuit. Omar Gazzaz races with Dubai-based GulfSport Racing in a Dallara F309; Paolo Brajnik will field a F308 and Jonathon Hughes will run with Richard Purcell's Topmarx Racing in a Dallara F308, providing testing on Friday is successful.