Format change creates Asian F3, TRS rivalry

Format change creates Asian F3, TRS rivalry

09/11/2019

Asian F3 has reprofiled its schedule for 2020 to attract drivers on a quest for superlicence points, putting it in direct competition with New Zealand’s Toyota Racing Series.

The series, launched in 2018 with Alfa Romeo-powered Tatuus chassis, has had a conventional calendar for each of its first two seasons, but now moves into a direct rivalry with TRS.

Drivers can count superlicence points from a second championship in the same calendar year, as long as that series finishes before their main programme.

Asian F3 kicks off at Sepang on 14-15 December 2019, before supporting the Dubai 24 Hours on 10-11 January, racing at Yas Marina on 17-18 January, and finishing with dates at Sepang (14-15 February) and Thailand’s Buriram circuit (22-23 February).

TRS, meanwhile, runs over five consecutive weekends from mid-January to mid-February.

Asian F3 organiser Davide de Gobbi said: “The 2020 F3 Asian Championship calendar is designed specifically to meet the needs of the drivers, who are looking to develop their careers as quickly as possible, as well as for the teams.

“With zero compromise on the quality of the championship, we have minimised costs and travel time, maximised track time, and enabled drivers to earn superlicence points from the championship even before the start of the traditional European and Japanese seasons.”

Testing begins with new TRS car

Meanwhile, TRS has began testing the new FIA Regional Formula 3-spec car that will be introduced for 2020.

TRS, in which Formula 1 drivers Lando Norris and Lance Stroll are recent champions, has previously run Tatuus chassis based upon the Italian constructor’s Formula Renault 2.0 machinery.

Now it has commissioned Tatuus to build a run of the Regional F3 chassis used in Asian F3, the Formula Regional European Championship and W Series, powered by a turbocharged 280bhp Toyota engine.

After shakedowns in Italy in July, the Tatuus ran last week at Hampton Downs in the dry and at New Zealand Grand Prix venue Manfeild in the wet, in the hands of two-time TRS champion Daniel Gaunt.

“It was a great couple of days really and we were able to work our way through a list of jobs effectively,” said Gaunt.

“There is a big difference between this car and the previous TRS machines – it’s a much bigger car, with more downforce and it’s 100kg heavier with all of the modern safety equipment.

“That being said, with nearly 300 horsepower and a turbocharger, it’s an extremely quick car.”

TRS claims that interest in the 2020 TRS is “huge, with northern hemisphere teams as well as drivers keen to be involved”.

Daniel Gaunt, Toyota Racing Series Tatuus FT-60

Photo by: Toyota Racing Series

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