F3 SOUAD WEST-TEC IN PRO­TO­TYPE CUP

Team wants to move into sportscar world

Motor Sport News - - Racing News - Pho­tos: Richard Styles, Jakob Ebrey, Steve Jones By Tom Er­ring­ton

Renowned For­mula 3 out­fit Team West-tec plan to run two cars in the new Pro­to­type Cup next year, say­ing the se­ries has the po­ten­tial to ri­val Bri­tish GT.

West-tec has pre­vi­ously pro­vided tech­ni­cal sup­port to pro­to­type and sportscar teams, no­tably in the Euro­pean Le Mans Se­ries. Now with the rapid ex­pan­sion in the LMP3 cat­e­gory world­wide the team now sees an op­por­tu­nity to run cars.

Team man­ager Craig Ben­nett says the team are keen to re­main in For­mula 3, but is re­al­is­tic about the chal­lenges sur­round­ing the sin­gle-seater rac­ing chain.

“We know there are op­por­tu­ni­ties in LMP3,” he said. “It’s be­com­ing in­creas­ingly dif­fi­cult to find cus­tomers to race in F3 and I don’t think the mar­ket is quite as strong.

“We def­i­nitely want to keep go­ing in Euro­for­mula Open and our sin­gle-seater pur­suits but, at the same time, we’re keen to look into the fu­ture and I can see the Pro­to­type Cup be­com­ing the new Rad­i­cals and po­ten­tially a ri­val to Bri­tish GT.”

West-tec en­tered two Ligier JS P3s last week­end at Snet­ter­ton for the in­au­gu­ral Pro­to­type Cup race, but dam­age in qual­i­fy­ing meant that the car driven by Chris­tian Eng­land and Colin Noble was re­tired for the race. In­stead, it was the car of Bradley Smith and Shaun Balfe that com­pleted the hour-long event and fin­ished sec­ond.

Ben­nett says that at­tend­ing the event and show­cas­ing the team’s abil­ity is es­sen­tial to the team’s 2017 plans.

“There’s a mini boom in LMP3 and we know we have the con­tacts with young pro­fes­sional driv­ers so this week­end is about com­ing and show­ing what we can do.”

United Au­tosports boss Richard Dean added that he is con­fi­dent the cat­e­gory will be a suc­cess.

“We’re the UK agents for Ligier and we’ve had six or­ders and I’m fairly cer­tain four are for the Pro­to­type Cup so in the­ory we’re up to 12 cars if you in­clude the ones here,” he said.

“There are nine Ligiers in the UK and eight were at Snet­ter­ton which is huge.”

Driv­ers Smith and Eng­land were sec­ond Ran­dle starred in Bri­tish F3

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