Cooper Takes on British Formula 3 from Avon
This Easter the British Formula 3 season will begin with a new tyre supplier and title sponsor as the country’s premier single-seater racing championship becomes known as the Cooper Tires British F3 International Series. One of the world’s most successful championships for aspiring Formula 1 drivers, stars including Ayrton Senna, Mika Hakkinen, Jenson Button and Lewis Hamilton all raced in the series on their way to the top of the sport. And after 27 years of racing exclusively on Avon Tyres, this year’s supply will switch to Cooper Tire – a brand that has a well established reputation in US motorsport.
The first British F3 cars to try out the Cooper Tire product did so at the first official championship test of the year, at Snetterton, Norfolk, on Tuesday 24 February. The new title sponsorship deal will help promote the Cooper brand across Europe, as the “British” series includes rounds at circuits including the legendary Spa-Francorchamps in Belgium, Hockenheim in Germany and even a pair of races around the parliament buildings of Romania’s capital, Bucharest.
“Cooper will stand for the same standard of quality as Avon as the brand grows across Europe,” said Julian Baldwin, managing director of Cooper Tire Europe. “Cooper’s racing tyres deserve to be allied with a high-profile championship in Europe and you don’t get much bigger than British F3.” The first F3 field to run on Cooper Tires includes several promising British drivers, including Formula Renault race-winner Riki Christodolou, who topped the first test of 2009 at Snetterton on 24 February. Promising English drivers Henry Arundel, Oliver Oakes and Max Chilton all have F3 experience and will be challenging for race wins from the start at Carlin Motorsport, along with Formula Renault vice-champion, Aussie Daniel Ricciardo. The field is shaping up to be another internationally diverse one, with drivers representing Brazil, Monaco, Spain and Colombia already signed up.
With races taking place at nine circuits over 10 weekends, the Cooper Tire British F3 International Series starts at Oulton Park on Easter Monday, and finishes at Brands Hatch on 20 September.
On the other side of the Atlantic, Cooper Tire will continue to be a title sponsor for the Cooper Tires Presents the Atlantic Championship Powered by Mazda. Like F3 in Britain, the Atlantic Championship is the perfect training ground for drivers hoping to progress upwards to Indycar racing in the USA.
The series began at Sebring in Florida on 20 March and races across the US and Canada before finishing at the legendary California Laguna Seca circuit in October. Cooper also supplies teams in the Need for Speed Formula Drift Championship with a mix of ultra-high performance Cooper Zeon 2XS, Cooper Zeon ZPT and Cooper Zeon Sport A/S tyres. The US series is the first and only officially sanctioned professional drifting championship, and sees drivers competing to illustrate the purest car control with high speed, sideways slides. Formula Drift kicks off at Long Beach, California, on 11 April.