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In 2013, Volkswagen engines will once again be in use in the FIA Formula 3 European Championship, which gets underway with the opening round of the season in Monza this weekend. Volkswagen will also line up at the British Formula 3 Championship (season starts 25 – 26 May in Silverstone) and the German ATS Formula 3 Cup (season starts 26 – 28 April in Oschersleben. At the Formula 3 World Final in Macau (14 – 17 November), the unofficial F3 world championship, Volkswagen will be out to assert its position as the most successful F3 engine manufacturer by successfully defending the title it won last year.
In total, Volkswagen has won over 60 international titles in Formula 3 championships between 1982 and 1991, as well as since its return as an engine supplier. Formula 3 has been the first step in the careers of motorsport legends like Michael Schumacher, Tom Kristensen and Bernd Schneider, who all won numerous Formula 3 titles as Volkswagen drivers, before going on to establish themselves at the top of Formula One, Le Mans and the DTM. Of the current crop of drivers, former Formula 3 champion Edoardo Mortara is among the top drivers in the DTM at the wheel of his Audi. Meanwhile, the starting grid at this season’s Formula One Grands Prix features two drivers who were themselves once “powered by Volkswagen”, in the form of Daniel Ricciardo and Jean-Éric Vergne.
“Formula 3 is one of the most iconic and important junior classes in international motorsport. For the stars of tomorrow, Formula 3 is virtually indispensable. Volkswagen is aware of just how important it is to promote junior racing drivers, which is why we have consistently and successfully been involved in Formula 3,” said Volkswagen Motorsport Director Jost Capito. “For this reason, Volkswagen will once again be active on three fronts, focussing on the FIA Formula 3 European Championship, the British Formula 3 Championship and the ATS Formula 3 Cup. Anyone who succeeds on these stages will have excellent chances of subsequently moving up to the DTM, GP2, sports car series or even Formula One. That is promoting talent ‘powered by Volkswagen’.”
Impressive contingent in the FIA Formula 3 European Championship
Having ceased operations in 1984, after ten years of racing, the Formula 3 European Championship returned to the international racing calendar in 2012. The Carlin, MA-CON and van Amersfoort Racing teams run a total of eight Dallara F312 Volkswagens.
Just as it is in the British Formula 3 Championship, the proven FSI engine is used here. Regulations stipulate that the engine’s basic power train must stem from the production engine. Unlike the production engine, the Volkswagen Formula 3 powerhouse has special pistons, a modified camshaft drive system and dry sump lubrication. An air restrictor with a diameter of 26 millimetres limits the performance of the four-cylinder engine to 210 hp. The minimum weight of the cars, including their drivers, is 550 kilograms.
Defending champion in the British Formula 3 Championship
Volkswagen once again lines up as defending champion in Great Britain in 2013. For the last four years, the champion’s chest has been adorned with the Volkswagen logo. Last season, Jack Harvey won seven races and added another title to Volkswagen’s collection in the most famous and iconic Formula 3 Championship in the world. The 2009 and 2010 champions used their titles as a springboard to a big career move: Daniel Ricciardo and Jean-Éric Vergne have since established themselves on the Formula One scene. And the 2011 winner, Felipe Nasr, is also in action on Formula One weekends, racing in the GP2 series.
More power and push-to-pass in the ATS Formula 3 Cup
Last year, Volkswagen revolutionised single-seater racing in Germany with a completely new engine concept. Thanks to its push-to-pass system, the Volkswagen Power Engine used for the first time in the ATS Formula 3 Cup not only allows more overtaking manoeuvres and consequently more exciting races, but also significantly reduces the teams’ running costs. In 2013, Volkswagen is continuing this development with its cost-efficient standard engine on nine race weekends in Germany and Belgium.
The Volkswagen engine’s push-to-pass system is the only one of its kind in the world in Formula 3. A push of a button allows the drivers to call up an additional 20 horsepower – as a rule, ten times per race and for ten seconds each time. This increases the total performance of the Volkswagen Power Engine from 162 kW (220 hp) to 176 kW (240 hp). This is achieved using a specific engine software programme, which has two different engine characteristic maps, thus providing extra hp for a short amount of time.