JACK COZENS

“Au­tumn Tro­phy set to be a thrilling af­fair” ”

Motor Sport News - - Racing News -

Save for an MSVR meet­ing at Sil­ver­stone, last year’s BRDC For­mula 4 Au­tumn Tro­phy was my first sig­nif­i­cant re­port for Mo­tor­sport News. How things have changed in just a year. I had plenty of reser­va­tions on the drive up to Snet­ter­ton. Most fo­cused on my own short­com­ings, but there were some nig­gling doubts in the back of my mind about the show­piece I was there to cover: how re­li­able were the new F3-016 (or F4- 016s as they were then) cars go­ing to be? What would the qual­ity of rac­ing be like? How des­o­late was the cir­cuit go­ing to look with only seven cars on track?

Thank­fully those reser­va­tions were blown away in the rain and howl­ing wind, and the suc­cesses of last year’s event were passed on to the main cham­pi­onship – re­badged in time for the sea­son opener as Bri­tain’s de facto For­mula 3 cat­e­gory – with an in­trigu­ing ti­tle fight only set­tled in last month’s sea­son fi­nale.

If last year’s Au­tumn Tro­phy set the ground­work for an en­ter­tain­ing cam­paign, then the strength of the en­try list for this year’s event should well and truly whet the ap­petite of even the most sat­is­fied sin­gle-seater fan.

What’s most in­ter­est­ing, though, is that the stand­out name on the list won’t be com­pet­ing with one of the ‘big three’ – Car­lin, Dou­ble R or Fortec.

Dou­glas Mo­tor­sport is the only team com­pet­ing in the Au­tumn Tro­phy with only two avail­able cars in its sta­ble, but it has once again come up trumps when it comes to its driver line-up, with Aus­tralian Joey Maw­son – who beat Mick Schu­macher to the Ger­man F4 ti­tle, likely the most com­pet­i­tive cham­pi­onship of its kind – and Jamie Caro­line on its books for the week­end.

Maw­son’s record in ADAC F4 this year speaks for it­self (with a win-to-races ra­tio bet­ter than onein-three), so his only aim should be to cap­ture the ti­tle – re­gard­less of the fact he won’t have driven the MSV ver­sion of the Tatuus car be­fore Thurs­day. For Caro­line, too, par­tic­i­pa­tion of­fers him the op­por­tu­nity to prove him­self after a mixed 2016 cam­paign in Bri­tish F4.

Dan Tick­tum’s re­turn to UK com­pe­ti­tion is an­other big talk­ing point ahead of the week­end, and re­gard­less of his past mis­de­meanours the 17-year-old has to be fan­cied as a con­tender in Dou­ble R’s so far only con­firmed en­try. With the likes of Enaam Ahmed (who’s switched to Car­lin from Dou­glas) and Ben Hin­ge­ley (Fortec) also in ac­tion after a year in the cham­pi­onship, pick­ing a cham­pion is no easy task.

Last week’s big story, that HHC had sold its three cars to P1 Sport and would leave the cham­pi­onship, was un­doubt­edly a blow to F3 – the team hav­ing been part of the cham­pi­onship since its in­au­gu­ra­tion as BRDC F4 in 2013.

But that’s yes­ter­day’s (last week’s) news. This week, the mood’s dif­fer­ent. Things aren’t per­fect – that one of the cat­e­gory’s lead­ings teams feels there’s greater po­ten­tial in sport­car rac­ing il­lus­trates that – but with a com­pet­i­tive cast of some of tal­ented ju­nior rac­ers in place, this week­end’s Au­tumn Tro­phy prom­ises to be a thrilling af­fair.

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