Reigning British Formula 3 International Series champion Hitech Racing is gearing up for the final round of the championship at Donington Park next weekend. The team, which clinched the series last year with Marko Asmer, will be looking for a return to the podium as it makes its last appearance of 2008 on home soil with both rapid teenagers Walter Grubmüller and Max Chilton at the wheel.Both drivers have shown impressive speed during their first year with the Buckingham-based team with BRDC Superstar Chilton taking a podium in his first ever race appearance. The 17 year-old broke all records when he first competed in F3 last season, aged just 16 years and one day, and continued the record-breaking form through into this year. The Reigate youngster became the youngest ever pole sitter at Monza and Rockingham, and now bids to become the youngest ever winner in the UK’s premier single-seater championship.
Rapid Austrian Grubmüller has produced some remarkable performances in the races, his pace often putting him amongst the fastest on track. Unfortunately his qualifying performance has meant he has sometimes started down the order and left with it all to do in the races.
Formula 3 is renowned for being a series in which it is hard to overtake and both Walter and Max will be aiming to redress that disadvantage at the Leicestershire circuit this weekend when qualifying gets underway on Saturday 11 October.
Following a season in which the experienced Estonian Asmer dominated the championship, winning 11 of the 22 races en route to the title, the team has two relatively inexperienced drivers in Max and Walter, who are both in only their second season in the top flight series.
For 19 year-old Grubmüller 2008 has had its ups and downs. A consistent pre-season testing performance put the Buckingham-domiciled Franks-backed driver firmly at the sharp end of the time sheets.
At the first rounds in April he converted that into two third place starts and a strong fifth place result. In subsequent tests, he, like Max, has regularly topped the time sheets in both wet and dry test sessions and now knows he needs to transfer that pace into the crucial qualifying sessions.
For Max, unfortunately he will start the event on the back foot having incurred a ten place penalty from his Bucharest collision with Sergio Perez. This means that no matter where he qualifies on Saturday, an additional ten places will be added to that position on the grid for the opening race.
The event will commence with two 45-minute tests at the track on Thursday prior to two all-important 30-minute qualifying sessions on Saturday. Race one will take place at 11.10 on Sunday with the second race due to start at 14.05 that afternoon.