James Winslow has admitted that he believes the efforts he made to ensure that he completed the 2008 Australian F3 Championship season will serve him well as he looks to move on from the category next season.
Having given up Australian F3 title ambitions to win the 2007 Renault V6 title, the Briton had hoped to be able to move onwards and upwards for 2008, but anticipated chances in Champ Car, IndyCar and sportscars in the United States went begging before his sponsor got him back into an F3 seat for the season-opening round in Adelaide.
Although, at the point, the role was expected to be temporary, Winslow's performances saw him at the sharp end of the championship and his participation continued until the same sponsor suddenly imploded, leaving the Briton seemingly high and dry just when he was poised to mount a championship challenge.
Undeterred, however, Winslow embarked on a race-by-race quest keep himself in with a chance of taking the title, changing teams and cars in an effort to keep himself on the grid, and rewarding those that supported him with strong results that saw him take a win at each of the final five rounds, eventually pipping Leanne Tander to the title at the Symmons Plains finale.
Ironically, however, the struggle to find finance served to raise Winslow's profile, especially in Australia, where he has since tested V8 Supercars with a view to moving on next season.
"I think winning three titles on a trot has created a lot of media interest, as has being associated with A1GP and winning the F3 series," he told Crash.net Radio
, "The sponsor I had in Australia was also a big corporate company and, when they ran into a few problems, it highlighted, within the racing world, my struggles throughout the season.
"I managed to find different backers to keep my going for individual races. We came through it in the end, but it was a really tough season and I've learnt a lot about how to bring in sponsorship and how to pull a few last-minute deals off - some of the deals were done just a few days before the race! To come out the other end having won the series after all the hard work, it's actually been quite good fun to pull it all off. I'm glad it's ended the way it did.
"To get to the end of the year with no big sponsor, like the other guys had, was a good story and I got - and still get - a lot of good press in Australia. That's been good for me and has led to a few V8 teams offering me tests and I'm in talks with a couple of teams for 2009. Nothing is signed as yet, but there are definitely possibilities in V8."
Swapping an open-wheel F3 car for a 'tin-top' V8 would mark a major change of tack for Winslow, but he is confident that he can make the switch without too much trouble.