The 2019 BRDC British F3 Championship will be decided at Donington Park this weekend (14-15 September), after one of the most competitive seasons imaginable.
No fewer than 13 drivers have claimed race wins this year, but four names have emerged from the pack as championship contenders, with the three races this weekend set to decide the outcome of this year’s intense battle.
Carlin’s Clement Novalak heads to the East Midlands circuit as the favourite for the title, holding a 52-point margin over Johnathan Hoggard with 105 available this weekend. The Swiss-British driver has been a model of consistency this year with two wins, six additional podiums and the only driver to have finished every race inside the top 10. He’s led the title battle since he claimed victory in the very first race of the year at Oulton Park, and simply needs to bank solid points in each race at Donington to claim the title.
But don’t discount Hoggard from getting back into the chase. The Fortec man has taken five wins this year and was almost unbeatable when the field were last at Donington, where he secured a double pole and a two wins. He’ll need a repeat of that and perhaps a bit of misfortune for Novalak in order to claim the title, but this is motorsport and stranger things have happened!
Likewise with Chris Dittmann Racing’s Ayrton Simmons, who is just nine points further behind Hoggard in the standings. Simmons has three wins so far this year, and has shown searing pace at most circuits. Fortune hasn’t quite favoured him, but a turnaround at Donington remains possible.
The final driver still mathematically in contention is Douglas Motorsport’s Kiern Jewiss. The reigning British F4 champion is the man in form at the moment, with five podiums from the last seven races, including a maiden win at Brands Hatch. But with a 103-point deficit to Novalak and only 105 available based on a 16 car grid, it would be a miraculous turnaround for Jewiss to walk away from Donington as champion.
There’s plenty more up for grabs too; Novalak, Hoggard and Simmons are all in with a chance of winning the Sunoco Whelen Challenge, and the incredible prize drive at the Rolex 24 at Daytona that comes with it. Hoggard currently leads the way in the standings for one of the biggest prizes in world motorsport, which is decided on an average of qualifying and race results, and fastest laps. Hoggard is also hot favourite to claim the Jack Cavill Pole Position Cup and the £1,000 end of year prize.
Elsewhere, there are still a handful of podium regulars who are yet to claim a win this season, with this weekend being their last chance of the year to join the current group of 13 race winners.
The Donington Decider weekend kicks off with testing on Thursday and Friday before qualifying at 11.15 on Saturday. The first race of the weekend follows at 15.35 before two further contests Sunday at 10.40 and 15.45. The final two races of the year, likely to be the deciding contests, will be broadcast live on the British F3 website and official Facebook page.
“We come with a nice margin in the points but it doesn’t change much the way I’m approaching the weekend.
“Our results here [Donington] last time were good but I believe we still have more to show.
“It would obviously be an amazing feeling managing to win a championship in which you’ve put a lot of hard work to perform in, in the first place. But with another three races to go, we’ve just got to focus on doing the job.”
“My mindset going into Donington is just the same as any other race weekend. There is a reasonably big gap to Clement, however I won’t be giving up until the chequered flag falls on race three. The points scenario is what it is, so I will just have to do my best.
“Donington has always been a track I thoroughly enjoy, I had my first win in British F4 and every time I’ve been there so far I seem to do well.”
16 September 2019 - Johnathan Hoggard claims Sunoco Whelen Challenge and drive at Daytona
15 September 2019 - Thoughts of a champion: Clement Novalak
15 September 2019 - Hoggard hammers to seventh win of the year in Donington finale
15 September 2019 - What they said: Donington race three
15 September 2019 - Race three starts at 15.45 - Hoggard on pole
15 September 2019 - Azman wins at Donington as Novalak crowned champion!