The F3 Cup breathed new life into the UK national single seater
scene in 2012 and it proved to be a season to remember for Chris
After receiving championship status from the MSA and allowing
2007 spec cars to enter, the championship welcomed 42 drivers in
all, including future F1 prospects Antonio Felix Da Costa and Alex
Lynn. But the story of the season was the championship battle
between Dittmann, Tristan Cliffe and Gino Ussi which provided
plenty of thrilling wheel-to-wheel racing. The championship saw
cars constructed from 1980-2007 compete in three classes; Cup
(2002-2007), Trophy (1997-2001) and Masters (1980-1996).
A wet Oulton Park opened the new era for the MSVR-run F3 Cup
culminating in a double win for ex-British GT4 champion Jamie
Stanley. Despite increased competition, 2011 regulars Mark Harrison
and Chris Needham claimed Class victories to start their campaigns
on a high.
Torrential rain plagued the following round at Donington Park
but it failed to worry former British Formula Ford race winner
Linton Stutely, as he took the spoils on his debut. He would score
another double at Snetterton 300 in June and become a real
contender in the Trophy Class. However, the championship was
starting to take shape with Cliffe enjoying a double class victory
and Ussi picking up podium finishes.
Sunshine at Silverstone National in May gave the huge 25 car
grid a new variable to deal with. The meeting proved to be the
closest fight of the season and Dittmann's victory in race one sent
a message to his rivals. The 23-year-old followed the result up
with a second behind 2011 F3 Cup race winner Louis Hamilton-Smith
in race two. Meanwhile Cliffe and Ussi's consistency marked them
out as early title contenders.
The halfway point of the season saw several guest drivers
dominate at the front beginning with British F3 star Alex Lynn
recording a double win at Spa Francorchamps in both wet and dry
conditions. This meeting saw the title swing in the direction of
Cliffe as Dittmann suffered a puncture, inflicted by Ussi, which
forced him into retirement. Two fourth place finishes certainly
boosted Cliffe's title hopes.
FIA Formula Two driver Kourosh Khani secured double success at
Brands Hatch GP for Lanan Racing while Ussi stepped up his
challenge with two second place finishes. An uncharacteristic
mistake for Dittmann in race one saw the title battle take another
Rising star Sean Walkinshaw made his competitive F3 debut at
Anglesey and he didn't waste any time in showcasing his potential.
The 18-year-old scooped two convincing victories from a weekend to
forget for the title contenders. Dittmann suffered an engine
failure in Friday testing and both Ussi and Cliffe failed to make
the most of his absence. Young guns dominated the weekend with
Prajesh Shah and James Abbott securing their maiden podium
Despite the influx of guest drivers during the summer, the
championship battle ebbed and flowed. Retirements for Dittmann
allowed Cliffe to hold a slender 13.5 point lead heading into the
penultimate round. Three consecutive second place finishes hauled
Ussi into the title mix too.
However, Dittmann's double class win at Silverstone GP left him
in pole position to claim the title. But he was unable to
completely shake off Cliffe and Ussi who remained in contention for
glory. Guest drivers Khani and ex-British Formula 3 national
champion Jay Bridger grabbed the headlines with the former heading
a double one-two finish.
Despite almost stalling at the start, Dittmann came through to
win his class and take the title at the Snetterton 300 finale in
October. Red Bull F1 test driver Da Costa, who was preparing for
the Macau GP with Carlin, stormed to two race wins. A valiant
effort from Cliffe saw him finish just 3.5 points shy of the new
champion after recording two class victories. An eventful weekend
for Ussi forced him to settle for third in the championship.
The title for Dittmann will live long in his memory with this
being his first championship triumph in his motorsport career.
Elsewhere, Omicron Motorsport won the Teams' Championship courtesy
of consistent finishes from their drivers Cliffe and Tony Bishop.
MotorSport Vision Chief Executive Jonathan Palmer presented
Dittmann with his trophy while Trevor Carlin, head of the
successful Carlin racing team, was on hand to congratulate Omicron
Cliffe also picked up the honour of winning the Cup Class,
Dittmann claimed the Trophy Class and veteran Dave Karaskas topped
the Masters Class.
After such a successful first year a s championship, the F3 Cup
championship is set to continue its growth in 2013.
For more information on F3 Cup, please click here.
Images courtesy of Jonathan Hatfield, Andrew Cliffe and