Following the end of its relationship with previous backer Marlboro, the F3 Masters event at Zandvoort will be known as the Ultimate Masters after securing a tie-up with petroleum company BP for 2006 and beyond.

The name change takes effect at the 16th running of the international event, which continues to vie with the likes of Pau and Macau for the honour of being the category's blue riband meeting, and ensures that Zandvoort remains on the F3 radar for the foreseeable future.

Scheduled for the first weekend, the Ultimate Masters expects to welcome the cream of European F3 racers, all of whom will now run on control fuel from the new sponsor, which claims to be the cleanest on the market.

The new deal will also herald the start of greater co-operation between BP and Zandvoort itself, with advertising hoardings around the coastal circuit and sponsorship of the paddock area.

"With the publicity prior to the Ultimate Masters of F3, the event will come to the attention of a broader public, through which both parties will benefit," circuit manager Hans Ernst insisted, "We are glad to have joined forces with BP Ultimate, considering the advantages that the product offers, not only for engine performance but also for the environment.

"Obviously, are we also happy that BP has lent its name to a fantastic event, and that its sponsorship will help to attract a large crowd to Zandvoort on 5-6 August. On top of that, its involvement in the 'Road to the Ultimate Masters' programme is an important one, and we hope that everyone involved benefits."

The 'Road to the Ultimate Masters' project will give race fans the chance to qualify for a place on the grid of the Dunlop SportMaxx Clio Cup, which supports this year's Masters weekend.

Backed also by Dutch F1 driver Christijan Albers, who will provide a target time in the final stages, the competition will see a dozen karting centres stage heats to whittle down applicants for a shoot-out at the Speed & Kart Center in Amsterdam, from which the best of 200 fastest drivers will be invited to proceed to a race training session in order to find a winner to contest the Clio race. Potential entrants will get a 40 per cent discount on purchasing fuel from selected BP outlets in Holland.

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