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Volkswagen’s new Formula 3 engine will make its maiden British track appearance next weekend (30/31 August) at Brands Hatch, where it will power the cars of six Formula 3 Euro Series contenders – including those of the championship leader, Italian Eduardo Mortara, and young Briton Martin Plowman.
The Kent circuit will play host also to the ADAC Volkswagen Polo Cup, the single-model race championship for young drivers. It’s the first time that rounds of the series have been held outside mainland Europe.
Dallara driver Mortara arrives in the UK with a one-point lead in the F3 Euro Series, and with high hopes of extending that advantage: ‘I had a very good weekend at Brands Hatch last year,’ said the 21-year-old. ‘I scored my first F3 win from pole position. I like the track, especially the first corner, which demands a lot of courage. But it’s very difficult to overtake, so qualifying will be very important.’
Mortara will be supported in the Signature Team by Frenchmen Franck Mailleux and Jean Karl Vernay. Team RC Motorsport will meanwhile field Volkswagen-powered Dallaras for UK-based Chinese driver Congfu Cheng, Germany’s Jens Klingmann and 20-year-old Tamworth racer Martin Plowman.
Plowman is returning home after several seasons in mainland Europe: ‘Brands Hatch is completely new to me as I’ve raced almost exclusively in Italy for the last couple of years,’ he says. ‘I will have to learn the circuit as quickly as possible in practice. I’m well motivated for my home race.’
The Polo Cup’s first UK race will provide the 24 young competitors – a truly international field with representatives from Austria, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Germany, Lithuania, Peru, Poland, South Africa and Sweden – with an exciting and demanding stage on which to perform.
Each driver handles an identical Racing Polo powered by a 150 PS 2-litre FSI engine equipped with a six-speed gearbox, limited-slip differential and adjustable racing suspension. All the cars are centrally maintained by one team, and they are even swapped among the drivers during the season.
South Africa’s Shane Williams leads the championship to Brands Hatch thanks to his wins at Oschersleben and the Norisring in Germany; he’s just two points ahead of German Alexander Rambow, with Thor Qualmann of Denmark a distant third.