Two drivers with a sole Formula 3 Australian Drivers Championship race win to their credit are confident of extending that winning feeling this weekend at Sydney's Eastern Creek.
Fresh from recently taking his first career Formula 3 victory, John Magro has every reason to feel confident about that winning feeling continuing this weekend.
That’s because he drives for Team BRM – an outfit that is next to unstoppable on the twists and undulating turns of the 3.9km Western-Sydney circuit near Blacktown.
Magro won the second sprint race at Darwin’s Hidden Valley recently after the two leading cars, of James Winslow and Chris Gilmour, came together controversially whilst fighting for the lead.
But as the series arrives in Sydney later this week, Magro is more confident of doing it with pure speed alone as he seeks to get his championship campaign back on track.
“I can’t wait to get on track this weekend, I think it’s going to be a big one for the team,” Magro said.
“Team BRM have an incredible record of success at Eastern Creek. It’s not just one thing in particular they do, but their cars are always really quick so this weekend it’s pretty clear it’s going to be on my shoulders!
“I think we’re ready to go on with the speed we showed at Darwin and put a championship campaign together but to do that we need to start winning races regularly and it would be good to start this weekend.”
After taking pole and finishing second in race one of the season at Winton, n non-finish in the second saw Magro behind the eight-ball from the very first round. After two rounds and five races, the Mango farmer from Mareeba, North Queensland, currently sits fifth in the championship some 14 points from the lead.
“The Go Auto Parts Magro Motorsport Dallara should be quick and Formula 3 cars are at their very best on a high-speed circuit like Eastern Creek where they use their aero grip to the maximum.”
For one reason or another, the Adelaide-based six-time Formula 3 championship winning team are often the class of the field at Eastern Creek and have dominated there in recent memory.
Out of the last 19 races contested at the circuit – across nine rounds from 2004 onwards – Team BRM prepared cars have won nine times, finished 1-2 on three occasions and even finished first, second and fourth in another.
Eighteen podiums and eight pole positions from seventeen attempts go further to reinforce their domination and it goes some way to explaining why Magro is particularly excited about his chances next weekend.
“To know the team has had such good cars there in the past does give a lot of confidence to a driver,” Magro added.
“Ben Barker and Mitch Evans finished 1-2 there last year so hopefully we can keep the streak going this weekend, but it’s not going to be easy and with guys like Mat Sofi coming back into the field this round it’s going to be even tougher.”
Meanwhile, Liverpool-based Sofi gives the F3 Australian Drivers Championship field an additional local touch this weekend, joining Terrigal-based Steel Guiliana as the local link to this weekend’s round.
Sofi, returning for another part-time campaign this season, raced at Eastern Creek’s round last year and showed plenty of speed – qualifying third despite not having driven for several months prior to the meeting.
Sofi’s only career win came at Eastern Creek in 2009 and the Astuti driver says he expects to pick up where he left off.
“I can’t tell you how much I want to get back in the car. We’re coming out feeling pretty confident even though I haven’t been in the car in race conditions since the Eastern Creek round in September last year,” he explained.
“We’re back in a big way and are doing it properly. Sam Astuti has prepared the car and the best thing is we have always shown plenty of speed at Eastern Creek. We won there in 2009 and I was in the top three on speed last year, so there’s no reason we can’t do it again.
“It’s a pretty tough field, though, so we’re under no illusions that we’re going to come in and blow the wings off them, but I’m confident the team will be competitive – and hopefully I will be too!”
This year’s competitive Formula 3 battle could also be one of the fastest grids to visit Eastern Creek thanks to the phasing-in of a newer specification control Kumho Tyre the field will use from this weekend onwards, most teams anticipating significantly improved lap times.
The field hits the circuit for two practice sessions tomorrow at the expanded four-day Shannons Nationals Event at Eastern Creek, before qualifying Friday afternoon. The three races – two, 10-lap sprints and a 15-lap feature – will all be broadcast live on ITVLive.com.au with all the Shannons Nationals action at the weekend.
More information about the championship can be found at www.formula3.com.au