An introduction to the F3 Cup

The MSV F3 Cup is a national motor racing series based in the UK. The calendar tours classic circuits around the United Kingdom with a small number of events overseas – this season Zolder in Belgium hosts the only round outside of Great Britain. The series heads to Brands Hatch this weekend (27-28 July) for the fifth round of the season. 0626LW1D0138

It is a junior-level single-seater category that is both competitive but affordable. The scope for racing cars is wide with rules stating that Formula 3 cars built after 1980 and before 2007 can compete. It is a relatively new series after being launched to replace the BRSCC F3, Club F3 and ARP F3 in 2011.

The series gained club status in 2012 and drivers can compete in one of four classes: Cup class (cars and engines built between 1997 and 2007), Trophy class (cars and engines built between 1992 and 1996), Masters class (cars built between 1981 and 1991) and the Guest class for any other Formula 3 vehicles entered.

Because of the variation in ages of cars, it drastically cuts the costs and creates a cheap and good value series to compete in. Whilst it doesn’t have the media coverage or huge grid numbers of rival series, it is a good development ground for young drivers who need to save money for future progression. Budgets range from between £18,000 and £45,000 depending on the age of the car and whether it is self-run or deal with a team itself.

Engines are also cheaper to rebuild and buy with incredible reliability – most lasting over two seasons – and tyres are also restricted to one set per racing meeting. However the supplied Avon tyres can sometimes last for two or three rounds.

The race calendar kicked off at Oulton Park on the 1st April and ends on the 27th October at the Snetterton circuit in Norfolk. The next round at the Brands Hatch GP circuit marks the half way point of the season, with former GP3 driver Alice Powell currently leading the way. Budget constraints led the former Formula Renault BARC champion down the F3 Cup route and she started the season well with three wins and a second place after the first four rounds. However recently she has struggled with mechanical problems and that has led to rivals Alex Craven and last years F3 Cup runner-up Tristan Cliffe closing in.

Mark Bailey Racing – who field Powell along with Nick Robinson and Stuart Wiltshire – lead the teams championship but Lanan Racing are close behind despite running just two drivers (Gino Ussi and Alex Craven).

The series is a good starting point for young drivers but also a good one for those who race as a hobby or are older but still want to race competitively. With five rounds remaining, can Powell hold on to her lead? Lets find out…

RichlandF1 will be reporting on the F3 Cup at Brands Hatch this weekend with reports of all the sessions and exclusive content including features that will be posted during our Rising Stars week.

Image courtesy of Octane Photographic

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