F3 Cup set for Silverstone GP showpiece
20/09/12 - The destiny of the inaugural F3 Cup champion will become clearer when the championship heads to the Silverstone GP circuit for the penultimate round of the season this weekend (21/23 September).
With just four races of the season remaining, the championship is hanging in the balance with just 14 points separating the top three in the standings. A grid of 20 cars including three new faces will do battle on the famous Silverstone Grand Prix circuit all gunning for crucial championship points.
Omicron Motorsport's Tristan Cliffe leads the championship standings by 13.5 points but he will be keen to bounce back after mixed weekend at Anglesey last time out. The 30-year-old could only pick up 10 points from the two races at the Welsh circuit and he is yet to win a race outright this season.
Another driver hoping for an upturn in fortunes is title contender Chris Dittmann. The Tewkesbury-based racer endured a difficult weekend at Anglesey which was over before it began, as engine failure in testing prevented him from taking part in the meeting. Silverstone holds particularly good memories for Dittmann as he picked up his only win of the season there back in May, a feat he will be looking to repeat this weekend. However, Dittmann's team mate Prajesh Shah is full of confidence after securing his maiden podium finish with a superb second at Anglesey. The 20-year-old will be focussing on building some consistency while challenging the top order.
Gray's Motorsport's Gino Ussi has hauled himself into the title race following two strong points scoring finishes at Anglesey continuing his strong second half of the season. The Italian is arguably the championship's in-form driver and with plenty of points up for grabs he will be taking the fight to Cliffe and Dittmann with the championship in mind.
Brands Hatch GP double winner Kourosh Khani will be aiming to build on his successful debut when he teams up with Lanan Racing once again. Another driver who has proved himself to be a serious contender is Louis Hamilton-Smith and he, like Dittmann returns to the venue which gave him his only victory of the season. F3 veteran Chris Needham cannot be overlooked either after a return to the podium at Anglesey.
Mark Bailey Racing head to the Northamptonshire circuit with drivers Nick Robinson, Stuart Wiltshire and Frank Thomas all looking to bag points. The team were quick when the championship tackled the National circuit earlier this year and are eager to enhance their Teams Championship. Likewise Magic Motorsport's Mark and Neil Harrison will have the same objective.
After fully repairing damage sustained at Brands Hatch, Matt Payne returns to challenge in the Cup Class. James Ledamun rejoins the grid but with a new car to contest in the Trophy Class along with Philip Austin and Jeremy Timms, while Dave Karaskas continues to be a threat in the Masters Class.
The championship will welcome three new faces to the grid this weekend with former British F3 National Class champion Jay Bridger, Formula 4 champion Jonathan Weston-Taylor and ex-BARC Renault racer Fraser Smart.
Bridger, who won the 2008 British F3 National Class crown, will join Omicron Motorsport and he will be expected to feature at the sharp end. Weston-Taylor is a welcomed addition to the Trophy Class in his self-run Dallara alongside Scotland's Smart in the Stanbridge Motorsport run entry.
With the Drivers and Teams Championship's far from decided the penultimate races on the Silverstone GP circuit are not to be missed.
The action begins with Friday's qualifying session at 09.35am with race one beginning at 15.05am followed by the second race at 11.10pm on Saturday.
F3 Cup Silverstone GP Entry List
Chris Needham Cup DST Group Ltd Dallara F302
Mark Harrison Cup Magic Motorsport Dallara F306
Neil Harrison Cup Magic Motorsport Dallara F302
Stuart Wiltshire Cup JSM Construction/Mark Bailey Racing Dallara F307
Louis Hamilton-Smith Cup Dallara F304
Prajesh Shah Cup Chris Dittmann Racing Dallara F307
Nick Robinson Cup Performance Packaging/Mark Bailey Racing Dallara F302/4
Gino Ussi Cup Grays Motorsport Dallara F307
Matt Payne Cup Dallara F307
Kourosh Khani Cup Lanan Racing Dallara F302/4
Tristan Cliffe Cup Omicron Motorsport Dallara F307
Jay Bridger Cup Omicron Motorsport Dallara F306
Frank Thomas Cup Mark Bailey Racing Dallara F305/6
Phil Austin Trophy Hartley Hire Dallara F398
Chris Dittmann Trophy Chris Dittmann Racing Dallara F301
James Ledamun Trophy TRS Harnesses Dallara F300
Jeremy Timms Trophy Dallara F301
Jonathan Weston-Taylor Trophy Stanwood Engineering Dallara F301
Fraser Smart Trophy Smartcats Consulting/Stanbridge Motorsport Dallara F300
Dave Karaskas Masters FISA Racing Dallara F398
Drivers and teams interested in joining the 2012 F3 Cup should contact championship co-ordinator Simon Davey on 07770 368648, email firstname.lastname@example.org. For all the latest news and further announcements visit www.f3cup.co.uk. Follow F3 Cup on twitter at www.twitter.com/f3cup.