Motor Sport News - - Racing News - By Rob Lad­brook

The For­mula Re­nault Eurocup will ex­pand to run al­most dou­ble the num­ber of races next sea­son af­ter Re­nault Sport in­creased its back­ing for the cham­pi­onship.

The French firm has an­nounced an ex­panded cal­en­dar and prize pack­age for the pan-euro­pean ju­nior sin­gle­seater con­test, which will in­crease from seven to 10 events in 2017.

Plans are also un­der­way to ef­fec­tively dou­ble the num­ber of races from the cur­rent 15 to al­most 30.

To­gether with the ex­panded sched­ule, Re­nault Sport F1 Team has leant its sup­port to the class, pledg­ing to help fund the top two driv­ers in the points at the end of the sea­son in 2018, along with mak­ing them Re­nault Sport Academy mem­bers. The cham­pion will re­ceive 75 per cent of their 2018 bud­get, while sec­ond place will get 35 per cent back­ing.

While the cal­en­dar has yet to be fi­nalised, two races on the sup­port card to the Monaco Grand Prix are in dis­cus­sion, as is a triple-header at the Pau street cir­cuit in France.

The in­creased sup­port comes af­ter Re­nault’s de­ci­sion to cease its fund­ing of For­mula Re­nault 3.5, which has con­tin­ued this sea­son un­der the For­mula 3.5 V8 moniker.

Fortec Mo­tor­sports’ Richard Dut­ton said: “This move is fan­tas­tic for the Eurocup and it’s all very pos­i­tive. We haven’t seen com­mit­ment like this from Re­nault since FR3.5.

“Re­nault wants to make the Eurocup a se­ri­ous con­tender and aim for that slot be­tween For­mula 4 and For­mula 3 and the prize fund will be a big at­trac­tion to driv­ers. There’s no re­stric­tion to where they have to go ei­ther, it’s up to the driv­ers to choose their next move.”

Dut­ton ac­knowl­edged that the ex­pan­sion would have a knock-on ef­fect on bud­gets, but ar­gued that an ex­panded Eurocup could take the place of re­gional classes such as the For­mula Re­nault ALPS and North­ern Euro­pean Cup.

“Many of the cur­rent driv­ers are do­ing dual pro­grammes in the Eurocup and NEC, or ALPS, or all three, so the rise in bud­get wouldn’t be pro­hib­i­tive to them so they’d now just need a sin­gle cam­paign,” added Dut­ton on the planned changes for next year.

coached by 1988 Le Mans 24 Hours win­ner Andy Wal­lace.

“I didn’t know what to ex­pect be­cause I had so much run­ning in mixed con­di­tions and never felt like I knew the lim­its of the car in the dry, but that races were the same and I’m re­ally pleased with the per­for­mance.”

“I learned that I def­i­nitely couldn’t make a ca­reer out of it, but I’d love to do a lot more.”

Sky Sports F1 will broad­cast cover Brookes’ de­but dur­ing the Ger­man Grand Prix qual­i­fy­ing show next week­end.

Eurocup will have 10 rounds and cash prize

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