Top Formula 3 outfit Carlin will take an outstanding six-car line-up to this year’s running of the prestigious Macau Grand Prix on 18 November, consisting of 2012 British F3 champion Jack Harvey, his predecessor and GP2 star Felipe Nasr, leading GP3 contenders Antonio Felix da Costa and Daniel Abt as well as F3 race-winners Carlos Sainz Jr and William Buller.
It will be Harvey’s first participation at the iconic end-of-season race, and his last race before he graduates into a higher category next year.
“It’s great to go to Macau as the British F3 Champion,” said the Racing Steps-backed Lincolnshire ace. “I went last year with Carlin to experience the atmosphere however I wasn’t racing so I can’t wait to get in the car this year.
“It’s possibly one of the biggest and most important one off races we see on the single-seater calendar so to be able to go there as the most recent British F3 Champion means a lot to me. To take the win on my first visit would be extremely tough however I’m going to be pushing hard to finish my season on a high.”
Nasr finished second at Macau last year, and has since gone on to have a promising GP2 campaign with DAMS, which saw him finish tenth in the final standings after a number of outstanding drives through the field.
“I’m very happy to be returning to Macau with Carlin,” said the Brazilian. “We were quick last year so I’m very excited to be joining the team again for this race.
“It’s going to be a challenge for me after a year of GP2 where the cars are more powerful and will probably take a little while to get used to but I’m really looking forward to it because it’s such a special race. Winning at Macau has been a goal of mine since the start of my career so I’m going to push hard for this race and go for the win.”
Abt and Felix da Costa finished second and third in the GP3 standings this year for Lotus and Carlin respectively, with both having been in a position to claim the title during the course of a thrilling final weekend at Monza. Both have run promisingly at Macau in previous years but are coming back to try and steal the big prize.
Sainz competed at Macau in the F3 race last year, and previously won in Formula BMW at the street circuit in 2010, just as Buller did in 2009. The Northern Irishman, who has won in both GP3 and the F3 Euro Series, finished sixth in Macau last year in his second start in the F3 race.
Team boss Trevor Carlin is unsurprisingly pleased with the team he has compiled.
“Macau is an extremely important event on the motorsport calendar and one that is fondly remembered by all drivers who have competed there,” said Carlin. “With only the new 2012 F3 cars eligible for entry into Macau this year, it was more important than ever to support the event with a strong line-up to allow it continue as a highlight of junior motorsport for many years to come. With our 2012 team we have one of our best line-ups ever and the potential to produce a classic Macau Grand Prix.”
While Carlin’s sextet attracts attention, the team and driver to beat are Prema Powerteam and Daniel Juncadella. The Spaniard won last year and is trying to join Edoardo Mortara as only the second driver to win the F3 race twice. Juncadella has already won the Masters of F3 at Zandvoort this year and is on course to win the Euro Series and FIA European Championship at Hockenheim next weekend.
Juncadella will be joined at Prema by regular 2012 teammates Raffaele Marciello – a Ferrari protégé who dominated the Pau Grand Prix – and German rookie Sven Muller, as well as Hannes van Asseldonk. The Dutchman finished fifth on his Macau debut last year and switches to Prema after a difficult British F3 campaign with Fortec Motorsport, having previously won races for the Italian squad in Formula Abarth.
Fortec replace van Asseldonk in their four-car team with Harry Tincknell, who rejoins the outfit after spending the 2012 British F3 season with Carlin. He joins fellow race-winners in British F3 this year and Fortec regulars Felix Serralles, Alex Lynn and Pipo Derani.
Kevin Korjus is another to switch from another series to come and race at Macau. The Estonian, a junior driver for the Lotus F1 Team and competitor in Formula Renault 3.5, will pair up with German F3 Cup champion Jimmy Eriksson at Double R Racing. Macau will effectively be Korjus’ debut in Formula 3, except like Nasr and Felix da Costa he will actually need to take part in an F3 race between now and Macau to become eligible.
Alexander Sims will be T-Sport’s sole representative, driving the team’s Nissan-engined Dallara with which he took victory on his F3 return at the Nurburgring round of the Euro Series that the Englishman was taking part in in order to become eligible for a fourth attempt at Macau having been restricted to sportscar outings in the rest of 2012.
Euro Series squad Mucke Motorsport will bring their regular drivers Pascal Wehrlein and Felix Rosenqvist together with Mitchell Gilbert, who the team have recruited from German F3 for next season. Joining Gilbert from the German series are Van Amersfoort Racing together with drivers Lucas Auer and Dennis van der Laar. Tom Blomqvist takes part with the Eurointernational team with whom he won five German F3 races in a partial programme this year.
British F3 runner-up Jazeman Jaafar switches from Carlin to leading Japanese squad Tom’s, who share a sponsor with the Malaysian in the form of Petronas and have a history of success in a race they won most recently in 2007 and 2008. Jaafar is partnered by Yuichi Nakayama, currently second in Japanese F3.
Other Japanese representatives are 18-year-old series champion and rookie Rio Hirakawa with RSS as well as third-placed driver Hideki Yamauchi with the B-Max Engineering team. Completing the entry are three one-car teams from the Euro Series; Luis Sa Silva of the Angola Racing Team (run by Prema), Andrea Roda of Jo Zeller Racing and Lucas Wolf of URD Rennsport.
|Formula 3 Macau Grand Prix – Provisional Entry List|
|1||Daniel Juncadella||Prema Powerteam||Dallara Mercedes|
|2||Raffaele Marciello||Prema Powerteam||Dallara Mercedes|
|3||Sven Müller||Prema Powerteam||Dallara Mercedes|
|4||Hannes can Asseldonk||Prema Powerteam||Dallara Mercedes|
|5||Felipe Nasr||Carlin||Dallara Volkswagen|
|6||Daniel Abt||Carlin||Dallara Volkswagen|
|7||Antonio Felix da Costa||Carlin||Dallara Volkswagen|
|8||Carlos Sainz Jnr||Carlin||Dallara Volkswagen|
|9||Will Buller||Carlin||Dallara Volkswagen|
|10||Jack Harvey||Carlin||Dallara Volkswagen|
|11||Ryo Hirakawa||KCMG by RSS||Dallara Toyota|
|12||Felix Serralles||Fortec Motorsport||Dallara Mercedes|
|14||Alex Lynn||Fortec Motorsport||Dallara Mercedes|
|15||Harry Tincknell||Fortec Motorsport||Dallara Mercedes|
|16||Pipo Derani||Fortec Motorsport||Dallara Mercedes|
|17||Jazeman Jaafar||Tom’s||Dallara Toyota|
|18||Yuichi Nakayama||Tom’s||Dallara Toyota|
|19||Kevin Korjus||Galaxy Double R Racing||Dallara Mercedes|
|20||Jimmy Eriksson||Galaxy Double R Racing||Dallara Mercedes|
|21||Hideki Yamauchi||B-Max Engineering||Dallara Toyota|
|22||Felix Rosenqvist||Mücke Motorsport||Dallara Mercedes|
|23||Pascal Wehrlein||Mücke Motorsport||Dallara Mercedes|
|24||Mitchell Gilbert||Mücke Motorsport||Dallara Mercedes|
|25||Andrea Roda||Jo Zeller Racing||Dallara Mercedes|
|27||Luis Sa Silva||Angola Racing Team||Dallara Mercedes|
|28||Alexander Sims||T-Sport||Dallara Nissan|
|29||Lucas Auer||Van Amersfoort Racing||Dallara Volkswagen|
|30||Dennis van de Laar||Van Amersfoort Racing||Dallara Volkswagen|
|31||Tom Blomqvist||Euro International||Dallara Volkswagen|
|32||Lucas Wolf||URD Rennsport||Dallara Mercedes|