The newly announced F3 Americas Championship hopes to compete against the FIA European Formula 3 Championship in 2018, even though drivers in the American-based series will get significantly less track time than their European counterparts.
Six rounds are scheduled for the inaugural season, this is much less than other major Formula 3 categories, although this is likely to change in future seasons.
SCCA Pro Racing, which run F3 Americas, has announced that each weekend will feature a thirty-minute free practice and qualifying session, followed by two thirty-minute races. Over the year, the championship will have ten races, compared to European Formula 3 Championship’s thirty.
To combat this, the series will also feature two external test sessions, one held prior to the opening round, to help drivers learn the car and the other mid-season.
This puts total track time at two-hours per weekend; While this is more than the national BRDC British F3 Championship, which features ninety-minutes of track time (excluding three hours of Friday practice) it is far less than Euro F3, which boasts just shy of four-hours of total track time, two of which are practice and qualifying sessions.
In total, F3 Americas drivers will spend twelve hours in the car, excluding FIA-approved non-weekend test sessions, where as Euro F3 drivers can expect up to 39 hours in the car over the season. BRDC F3 drivers can expect twelve hours (thirty-three hours including Friday practices,) with Eurocup Formula Renault 2.0 drivers getting up to thirty-one hours over the season.
The series organisers have counteracted this with a healthy prize fund, as the champion and runner-up receive a $200,000 scholarship to race in F3 International Championship (when it is launched in 2019) or LMP3.
On top of this, SCCA has also increased the prize fund in the F4 US Championship from $40,000 to $100,000 as it continues to compete against the Mazda Road to Indy.
The first round of the F3 Americas Championship will take place at the Virginia International Raceway on 27 April 2018.