Great car: Dallara T12
The final generation of Formula Renault 3.5 is arguably the greatest racing car in the history of junior motorsport. Marcus Simmons talks to Fortec team boss Jamie Dye
The Dallara T12 was the third generation of Formula Renault 3.5 racer, introduced in 2012 and continuing until the category’s demise at the end of last year. Powered by a Gibson-built engine, it featured enhanced aero that some of its young drivers rated as better than the Formula 1 cars they were testing. The chassis here is the one run by Fortec Motorsport and raced by Alfonso Celis to third position in the 2017 standings, and has an illustrious history that makes it the most successful FR3.5 racer in the series’ 13-year history. Driven to the title by Robin Frijns when new in 2012, it also passed through the hands of Stoffel Vandoorne (runner-up in ’13), Oliver Rowland (fourth in ’14 and champion in ’15) and Louis Deletraz (runner-up in ’16), notching up 20 race wins.
“Everyone wanted that package, that engineer and that car, and whoever signed up first got it,” laughs Fortec managing director Jamie Dye. “But there was nothing wrong with our other car. The car gave an equal platform for all the teams, and to a certain degree a driver could win with any team. Having the manufacturer support from Renault was really good, and losing that was the key to it falling on its bum.”