Oz: New look for new season
1 January 1901
The Australian F3 championship has been given a new name and a new image for 2009, but insists that it has a continued commitment to developing young driving talent after several seasons of growth and international recognition.
After ten years of competition, and four as the category representing the Australian Drivers Championship for the CAMS Gold Star, sweeping changes to refresh the series image for the future have been announced by F3A series officials and, from 2009 on, the series will be known as the Formula 3 Australian Drivers' Championship.
The name change reflects both the powerful international recognition behind the F3 brand, whilst also returning the 'Australian Drivers Championship' brand to the forefront of Australian motorsport.
Antipodean stars including Lex Davison, Bib Stillwell, Kevin Bartlett, Alfredo Costanzo, John Bowe, Mark Skaife, Will Power and Scott Dixon are all previous Gold Star winners, while current V8 Supercar drivers Rick Kelly, Michael Caruso and Karl Reindler, amongst others, have also won the Australian Drivers Championship. In the past four years, however, there has been more of an international influence on the Gold Star's history, with two of the past four winners - Ben Clucas and James Winslow - hailing from Britain, and seeing off a greater multi-national challenge.
The series also unveiled a brand new logo that works both brands into one new, unique identity. Representing the past, present and future, the logo references both the Gold Star itself, the wings and slicks nature of the cars and a continued link to the rich history in Australian motorsport carved out by the Australian F3 Championship over ten years.
Both new concepts further cement Formula 3 Australia's intentions to grow open-wheel racing in Australia by combining the history and traditions behind the Australian Drivers' Championship and the international credibility behind F3.
“The drive, enthusiasm and talent within the F3 category is worthy of recognition with the Gold Star,” CAMS CEO Graham Fountain insisted, “CAMS has continued to enjoy an excellent partnership with the category and looks forward to evolving this into the future.”
The aim of the changes is to increase the recognition of winning the Gold Star both domestically and internationally, helping young drivers to better progress forwards in their careers – something one former champion appreciates.
”It meant a lot to be able to win the Australian Drivers' Championship,” Tim Macrow, who won the crown in 2007, noted, “When the president of CAMS presented me with the Gold Star medal at the Australian motorsport awards, it was one of the proudest achievements of my career.
"Winning the Australian Drivers' Championship is a sign that you have achieved success at the highest level in Australia's premier open-wheel championship. It is a huge thing to have on the CV and to have my name alongside some of the greats who have won it in the past.”
Formula 3 Australia chairman Ian Richards said that the series was similarly proud to continue to represent Australia's highest open-wheel award.
“We are very proud of the reputation that the Australian Formula 3 Championship has achieved since its formation in 1999,” he said, “Achieving Gold Star status in 2005 was a tremendous reward for our efforts and, with the series taking a fresh direction in 2009 with new management and new people, we felt it an ideal time to even better recognise the role that the Australian Drivers' Championship has in our series.
“Winning the Australian Drivers' Championship has had a significant impact on many of the current and past drivers' careers. We are looking forward to continuing the reputation and traditions of the Australian Drivers' Championship and working closely with CAMS to further enhance its status.
“Despite the current global economic climate, we have already had significant interest in both the championship and national classes for 2009. With the new talent coming to the championship, and a full season of development on the current chassis, I'm sure the outright lap record at the Clipsal 500 – already held by an F3 car – will be lowered even further.”