The Eurocup Formula Renault 2.0 Series blasts into action this weekend at the Spanish Motorland Aragon circuit, with another competitive season in prospect, with drivers up and down the field set to start the battle for supremacy.
Those who fought for the title in 2015 have moved on, but the talent keeps on coming through, and it would not be a surprise to anyone should there be a multi-driver fight for this season’s crown and to follow into the footsteps of Jack Aitken as series champion.
The R-ace GP squad, formerly known as the ART Junior Team, have one of those drivers highly regarded in the paddock in the form of Belgian talent Max Defourny, who was a race winner in the Formula Renault 2.0 NEC in 2015.
He will be partnered by 2015 BRDC F4 champion Will Palmer and Frenchman Julien Falchero, who was runner-up in the V de V single seater category in 2015 and also participated in a couple of Formula Renault 2.0 ALPS events last season.
Josef Kaufmann Racing, who secured the team’s championship in 2015 as well as taking Louis Deletraz and Kevin Jörg to second and third in the driver’s championship have also announced two highly rated drivers for the 2016 campaign in the form of Briton Lando Norris and Indian ace Jehan Daruvala.
Norris is the reigning MSA Formula champion and also took the Toyota Racing Series title during the winter, and is one of the brightest prospects on the grid, while Daruvala is a Sahara Force India junior driver, and tasted Eurocup last season with Fortec Motorsports.
The Adrian Vallés-led AVF team have retained the services of 2015 rookie champion Harrison Scott for 2016, with the Briton showing good form during pre-season testing, and is looking to make a championship challenge this season.
Portuguese driver Henrique Chaves and Swiss sophomore driver Darius Oskoui, who moves across from ART having finished on the podium at Motorland Aragon in 2015, will join Scott in the team for 2016.
Fortec Motorsports will field four full-time entries, with Austrian Ferdinand Habsburg being joined by Brazilian Bruno Baptista and Russian duo Vasily Romanov and Nikita Troitskiy.
Habsburg continues his alliance with Fortec after competing with them during 2015 in both NEC and Eurocup, while Baptista switches over having competed with Koiranen GP for selected races in the same two championships.
Romanov raced full time in ALPS, winning once at Monza, and in some Eurocup races with Cram Motorsport in 2015, while Troitskiy competed sparingly with JD Motorsport in the same two series and also impressed during the Indian-based MRF Challenge over the winter, winning twice and finishing third in the standings.
Another team fielding four cars is Tech 1 Racing, who will field French trio Dorian Boccolacci, Sacha Fenestraz and Gabriel Aubry as well as Swiss driver Hugo de Sadeleer, who remains in the team for another season.
Boccolacci has switched over from racing in European Formula 3, while Fenestraz and Aubry have stepped up from French F4, having finished second and third in the championship respectively.
JD Motorsport have announced two drivers so far, with Australian James Allen switching over from ARTA Engineering, where he will be joined by Russian Alexey Korneev.
Replacing Allen in ARTA is Frenchman Hugo Sugnot-Darniche, who is another graduate of French F4, while Cram Motorsport have entered two cars so far for Peruvian driver Rodrigo Pflucker and Canadian David Richert.
The Eurocup calendar now has a standout event in 2016, with the championship now part of the support package for the glamour that is the Monaco Grand Prix in May, which will be round two of the championship behind Motorland Aragon.
The championship also visits Monza and the Red Bull Ring in July, Paul Ricard in August and Spa-Francorchamps in September, before concluding at the Portuguese circuit of Estoril in October.
What will happen in these seven rounds is anyone’s guess, but the races should be thrilling and somewhat unpredictable… let the battle commence!