Cooper Avon launches British GT, F3 seasons
Today was the joint launch day for Cooper Avon’s biggest UK motorsport series – the British Formula Three, supplied in its 60th season by Cooper Tires, and the British GT, once again supplied by Avon Tyres, which announced this week that it had signed up to the championship until “at least 2014” – the same period for which Cooper is signed up with F3. Hosted at Silverstone, the event marks a special occasion for Cooper Avon in British F3, as this season marks the 30th anniversary of its first association with the championship, when Avon supplied the tyres to such giants of motor racing as then-future Formula One champions Ayrton Senna, Mika Hakkinen and Jenson Button. Cooper took over the tyre supply to the series in 2008, though the tyres are still manufactured at Melksham, Wiltshire – the company’s European motorsport base.
“As Formula 3 in Britain celebrates its diamond anniversary, everyone at Cooper is very proud of the fact that this season our British-made tyres – branded first as Avon and now Cooper – will be used for the 30th consecutive year,” said Julian Baldwin, Cooper Tire Europe’s managing director. “We’ve worked with the series for half of its lifetime and are proud to continue our relationship with F3 for the next four years. British F3 really is one of the most important single-seater championships in the world and a genuine stepping-stone for great drivers on the way to Formula One.”
Avon’s involvement in British GT stems from the 1950s, when Stirling Moss raced Aston Martins in the World Sportscar Championship and the manufacturer took the first two steps of the podium at 24 Hours of Le Mans. The car manufacturer’s DBRS9 will compete in 2011’s British GT Championship alongside Ferrari, Porsche, Corvette and other prestigious manufacturers. “The Avon Tyres British GT Championship really is looking strong this year. There are so many different cars eligible to compete, it makes it a great spectacle for the fans and it makes it more difficult than ever to predict a winner.”
The F3 Championship is also very much an international affair, with 10 circuits in five different countries used throughout the year. It begins at Oulton Park on Easter weekend and finishes back at Silverstone in October. In British GT, a series that is paired with F3 for many of its race weekends, the championship will begin on 23 and 25 April, with 10 races at seven events finishing at Silverstone on 9 October.