Tech 1 Racing and Pons Racing have withdrawn from the inaugural Formula V8 3.5 Championship ahead of the opening round, though ex-GP2 team Durango has taken up one of the available entries.

A fresh blow for the new series, which has been created from the vestiges of the former Formula Renault 3.5 Championship after the French manufacturer withdrew support, it had already lost Carlin from its original entry list before Tech 1 and Pons followed suit this week.

Though Tech 1 Racing hadn't confirmed any drivers, Pons - which says it is focusing on its Moto2 efforts - had originally planned to run Beitske Visser and Alex Bosak, but they have now been released from their contracts.

Stepping into the series, however, will be former GP2 race winning team Durango, which hasn't competed on the European single-seater stage since 2009.

Nonetheless, as it stands, only nine teams are set to participate in the 2016 championship - which starts on 16-17 April at Motorland Aragon -, though the first pre-season test is underway today at the Circuit de Catalunya.

Beyond the drivers already announced, Visser is testing with Strakka Racing alongside GP3 race winner Emil Bernstorff, while GP2 veteran Johnny Cecotto is testing with RP Motorsport.

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