Britain's James Winslow will be looking to end his international Formula Three career with victory over the best in the world at this weekend's blue riband Macau Grand Prix, having again managed to secure his place in the field at the last minute.
The new Kumho Tyres Australian F3 champion will take on the top men from each of the other major international series on one of the toughest street circuits in the world as he seeks to cap an impressive F3 career that has brought three championship titles in three different continents and more than 30 race wins.
Winslow will join the Italian-based Ombra Racing team for the event, which traditionally brings the curtain down on the international F3 season and attempts to establish the identity of the category's best driver, and warmed up for his trip to the Chinese enclave by winning on the streets of Australia's Surfers Paradise. He now hopes to carry that street-fighting form through to his final F3 event.
“I've gone on record as saying that Surfers Paradise has to be one of the best street circuits in the world, but Macau just about tops them all,” the Briton admitted, “The track is narrow and bumpy after it leaves the waterfront and very quick on the main straight, so you need to find the right balance in your set-up. It really provides a stern test of both your driving and engineering skills.
“Racing at Surfers Paradise was a great experience and also a great way of warming up for Macau - winning there means that I can go to Macau with confidence. I may be running with an unfamiliar team, and with the only Mugen Honda engine in the field, but I really believe that we can get a good result.
“Macau is one of those events that I have wanted to win since I was a child, and I'm really hoping for at least a podium finish, especially as doing well in Macau puts you in the spotlight and can lead to bigger and better things. With the F1 season over, who knows who might be watching……”
In keeping with much of his Australian campaign, however, Winslow had to sweat on his entry to the invitation-only event, needing to raise the sponsorship to guarantee his seat with Ombra.
“It was touch-and-go for a while but, as the result of a concerted effort away from the track, we have again somehow managed to find the backing,” he confirmed, “A huge thank you to Cars Motorsport and Prova for their substantial support for this event, and also to Gawler Farm Machinery and Driving Solutions. Prova came on board at the last minute to secure our place on the grid, so an especially big thank you to Craig Bastian, as well as all our sponsors for this great event.
“It's been a tough year in many ways, but it ended very successfully, and doing well against the sort of field we can expect in Macau would be reward for them, and the icing on the cake for 2008.”
Winslow's opposition will include the youngest-ever British F3 champion, Jamie Alguersuari, and Masters champion, Jules Bianchi, as well as new Japanese title-winner Carlo van Dam and top five finishers from all three major series.
The Briton's preparations for Macau included returning to the Team GBR line-up for round two of the A1 Grand Prix series at Chengdu in China, where the squad recorded two podiums finishes on its first event with lead driver Danny Watts at the wheel.