- First of two rounds at heartland of Chinese motorsport to round out second season
- Stakes high as championship title wide open with six races to go
- Newly-crowned Porsche Carrera Cup Japan champion Ukyo Sasahara tops leaderboard with eight-point advantage over Jack Doohan
Shanghai, China (September 2, 2019) – The F3 Asian Championship Certified by FIA is in China this week for the first of its two triple-header final rounds of the 2019 season at the 5.451km Shanghai International Circuit, with Races 10 to 12 to be held on September 7 and 8.
Leading the charge to the world’s most populous country is Hitech Grand Prix driver Ukyo Sasahara, crowned 2019 Porsche Carrera Cup Japan champion last month. The 23-year-old, third in the Japanese Formula 3 Championship last year, has won five of the nine races so far this season and taken two second places. However, team mate and Red Bull Junior Team driver Jack Doohan remains within striking distance of the title just eight points behind after four wins and four runner-up finishes.
While the pair have so far shared the nine race victories between them, putting Hitech GP at the top of the teams’ championship, the drivers’ title is far from a two-horse race, with a field packed with voracious young talent quickening their pace with every outing. Absolute Racing’s 17-year-old Shanghai-born Daniel Cao and 23-year-old Lamborghini Squadra Corse Young Driver Brendon Leitch of BlackArts Racing, third and fourth in the championship respectively, each took their first runner-up finishes of the season in Suzuka last month and will be eyeing the top step of the podium in Shanghai.
Cao’s Absolute Racing team mate Eshan Pieris lies fifth on the leaderboard having demonstrated extraordinary consistency this season. Taking double digit points in six of the nine races this season, the Sri Lankan is just six points adrift of New Zealander Leitch.
Returning to the championship and reuniting with Hitech Grand Prix is Australian Jackson Walls. The 16-year-old made an eyecatching championship debut at the formidable Suzuka Circuit in June, quickly getting to grips with both the track and the Tatuus F3 T-318, and taking a podium finish in Race 8.
A three-car entry from Pinnacle Motorsport includes Irish driver Jordan Dempsey, who took his maiden series podium finish in Japan and returns to contest his third round of the season, and 17-year-old Australian Tommy Smith. They are joined by British talent Ayrton Simmons, 18, who returns to the championship for a second round with new backer, LED design solutions company Armadillo Lighting on board. Simmons arrives in Shanghai fresh from his third win of the BRDC British F3 Championship where he sits third with three races remaining.
Shanghai fans will have a second local hero to cheer in the form of Yu Kuai of Zen Motorsport, while Japanese team Super License brings Yu Kanamaru, and M-Sport Asia enters Indian youngster Akash Gowda.
In the Masters class, championship leader Paul Wong is back with his 852 Challengers. Joining him is in the category is Thomas Luedi with BlackArts Racing, the team backed by San Francisco lifestyle brand OLOI, Inc.
Having embarked upon its second season in April, the championship has held rounds at Malaysia’s Sepang International Circuit, Thailand’s Buriram circuit, and at the legendary Suzuka Circuit in Japan. Shanghai is the fourth FIA Grade I circuit the drivers will tackle this season, and one which is both physically and mentally demanding. Completed in 2004, the Hermann Tilke-designed track layout was inspired by the Chinese character ‘shang’ as in ‘Shanghai’, and features one of the longest straights on the F1 calendar, the 1.2km run between turns 13 and 14.
The two, 15-minute qualifying sessions for Races 10 and 12 of the F3 Asian Championship Certified by FIA get underway on Saturday, September 7th at 08:30 local time (GMT+8). Race 10 follows at 12:05 the same day. Races 11, where the grid is set by the fastest laps of each driver in Race 10, and Race 12 begin at 10:20 and 14:50 respectively on Sunday. All races will be live streamed on www.f3asia.com and on the series’ Facebook page.