I will admit, open wheel racing isn’t my favourite form of motorsport and although I like Formula One, I’m not a self proclaimed die hard fan. I used to be pretty obsessed with it when I was a child though. I was a huge Nigel Mansell fan, in fact, I even share my birthday and year with his daughter Chloe and he won his Championship title on the 16th of August 1992. Mine (and Chloe’s) 10th Birthday. That was a pretty special day for me. But that’s enough of the nostalgia, as the Schumacher Era saw me lose interest somewhat in Formula One and I never regained the love I once had.
But over the last few years I have seen my fair share of open wheel racing at various circuits across the country and have appreciated them for what they are. Besides, as a motorsport fan I love being at a circuit and I’ve witnessed some great racing and the rise of some current Formula One stars. After all, these championships are the proving ground for the Holy Grail, Formula One. A huge stepping stone in the quest to become a superstar Formula One racing driver comes in the form of the British F3 championship. With the likes of Lewis Hamilton, Jenson Button, Mark Webber, Rubens Barichello, Mika Hakkinen and Ayrton Senna having graced the British Series, it’s easy to see that British F3 provides a critical role in developing World Champions of the future.
However it is sad to hear that the British F3 championship announced that it was cutting the series back to just four rounds this season with two of them to be raced overseas. Increasing costs and competition from a number of other single seat championships both in the UK and abroad probably proving a major factor as drivers seek more cost effective ways of reaching the top level.
I’m not here to criticise the series and the current difficulties it is experiencing or point out mistakes or how it should be improved, as to be honest, I don’t really know the answers myself. But I will reiterate one thing I have spoken about many times before, and that is lack of support from fans. I have always been increasingly frustrated at how some huge British Racing Series never get the fan support they so deserve. I have been blown away by the huge crowds the British Touring Car Championship pulls in, yet the British F3 championship, which runs in conjunction with the British GT championship during its race weekends only see’s a fraction of the crowd the BTCC does.
How many F1 fans are out there? Many of whom would probably call themselves, ‘Huge Fans’ or ‘Die Hard Fans’. Yet also, many will complain that Formula One is elitist, expensive and inaccessible for the everyday ‘normal’ fans. How many of these fans have sat in front of the TV moaning at the celebrities on the Grid before a big race who clearly have no interest in the sport and are only there because they have been given a free pass and it’s the ‘Fashionable’ thing to do? Yes, I hate it too. But how many have ventured out to watch some live motorsport and support the possible Formula One stars of the future in the British F3? With weekend tickets for around £30, (great value compared to a premiership football match) three championship races per weekend and the chance of watching the mechanics at work, wandering the pit lane and getting up close to the drivers and cars, what is there stopping you? You’d be surprised at how many Motorsport celebs you can see blending into the paddock too not wanting to hog the limelight. You never know, in a few years time, you could be watching one of the current crop of F3 racers stand atop An F1 podium or lifting the world championship trophy and you could turn to your mates and say, ‘I met that guy once.’ Or ‘I saw him race and supported him before he made the big time.’
I could go on about how the media should be doing their bit to bring some of these great British race series to the attention of the public, but I’ve done that before. Plus most of you reading this will be big motorsport fans and know about these Championships anyway, so as fans, it’s only right we do our bit and go and support. Before it’s too late.
January 29, 2013 | Categories: Uncategorized | Tags: Ayrton Senna, British F3, British GT, British Touring Car Championship, BTCC, Cars, F1, F3, Fans, Formula One, Jack Harvey, Jean-Eric Vergne, Jenson Button, Lewis Hamilton, Mark Webber, Michael Schumacher, Mika Hakkinen, Motor Racing, Motorsport, Nigel Mansell, Open Wheel, Racing, Rubens Barrichello, Single Seaters, TV | Leave A Comment »
With my first race of the new season in the form of Round One of the new Britcar Championships at Silverstone this coming Saturday, it was good to get back in the swing of things this week as I was at the British GT & F3 media day also at Silverstone this Wednesday.
You will all know by know that I am a huge GT racing fan and it was good to see a selection of this seasons cars there along with some of the new entrants for this season. The grid for 2012 will certainly be impressive. Alongside the usual suspects such as Trackspeed’s Porsche’s, United Autosport’s Audi R8, a selection of Ferrari 430’s and 458’s plus the GT4 Ginetta’s will be new contenders in the form of a Nissan GTR, A McLaren MP4-12C, A BMW Z4 and the new Aston Martin Vantage. Alongside theses, Ginetta step up to the GT3 plate with the new G55, as does Chevron with the GT3 GR8. However it’s not just the GT3 field that has new additions. So does the GT4 category with a Mazda MX5 and a BMW M3 set to join in the fun.
It’s not just the new cars that were on show, new drivers were also there to make an appearance alongside existing British GT stalwarts. A new streamlined Tim Harvey was there to give his new chariot, one of the three Trackspeed Porche’s, a run out along with his new team mate Jon Mishaw, who for those who follow classic and historic racing will recognise as the guy who is more than capable of flinging a Jaguar E-type sideways into corners at various race circuits in spectacular fashion. Another new driver of note is Zoe Wenham. Zoe will be the only female in the championship and steps up from the VW racing cup to take the wheel of the Century racing Ginetta G50 in the GT4 class alongside Dominic Evans.
This has really got me excited for this seasons championship, however I am gutted I am unable to make round one at Oulton Park but I cannot wait for the European round to be held at the Nurburgring in May. The British GT championship is a great series and well worth going to see if you ever get the chance. You won’t be disappointed.
The F3 Championship was also at Siverstone as the two series race in partnership for most of their rounds. They go their separate ways for a few European races but you will see both these Championships during the same weekend in the UK so it’s well worth heading to one of the rounds. This season see’s the new F3 car in the shape of the Dallara F312. It certainly looks pretty impressive. As with the GT series, there are new faces taking to the grid. As the likes of current F3 champion Felipe Nasr moving on to GP2 and Kevin Magnussen moving to Formula Renault 3.5, up step current Formula Renault UK Champion Alex Lynn, Carlos Sainz Jr who’s dad is quite well known, and 2011 Formula ford drivers Nick McBride and Spike Goddard to name a few.
The British F3 championship has spawned a number of Formula One world champions such as Jenson Button, Lewis Hamilton, Mika Hakkinen, Sir Jackie Stewart and a Brazilian by the name of Ayrton Senna. You may have heard of some of these guys. Current Torro Rosso F1 Driver Jean Eric-Vergne was the 2010 F3 Champion, so if you want to see the Formula One stars of the future, then get yourself out to one of the races this year.
All this has whet my appetite for the coming season and I cannot wait. So first up is Britcar this Saturday at Silverstone. It’s a great race series, which will feature the three hour endurance race along with the 90 minute production cup race. There will be some great cars out on track so if you are at a loose end, why not pop along. All the qualifying and the races are on the Saturday and tickets are very reasonably priced. If you are coming along and you do spot me with my camera, come and say hello. It’s always nice to meet new people.
Here’s to a great season of Motorsport.
More photos from the media day can be seen on the Chris Gurton Photography Facebook group page here.
March 22, 2012 | Categories: Uncategorized | Tags: Alex Lynn, Aston Martin, Audi, Ayrton Senna, BMW, Britcar, British F3, British GT, Carlos Sainz Jr, Dominic Evans, F1, Felipe Nasr, Ferrari, Ginetta, GT3, GT4, Jean-Eric Vergne, Jenson Button, Jon Minshaw, Kevin Magnussen, Lewis Hamilton, Mazda, McLaren, Mika Hakkinen, Motorsport, Nurburgring, Porsche, Silverstone, Sir Jackie Stewart, Tim Harvey, Zoe Wenham | Leave A Comment »