With 45 years of experience in detecting and shaping the very best hopefuls from the world of motor racing, the Eurocup Formula Renault 2.0 is ready to begin another campaign which is already among the most promising. The first meeting at Motorland Aragón will offer an opportunity to assess the contenders on the quest for the title and the attractive cash prizes that will be rewarded to the best of the best from the school of champions put in place by Renault Sport Racing. After the winter tests, all 24 drivers share the same goal: win the first race of the year this Saturday.
With technical and sporting stability assured, the 2016 Eurocup Formula Renault 2.0 season is sure to be exceptional with a level of competition rarely seen and a calendar that will see the competitors race in the curtain raiser for the F1 Monaco Grand Prix.
At the conclusion of the season, the top three in the general classification will receive cash prizes of €150,000, €100,000 and €50,000 to help them move up to the next level. The best rookie will receive €100,000 of help if he or she wants to return for another year in the Eurocup Formula Renault 2.0 in 2017. Suffice to say that the first three races might draw some early trends!
Josef Kaufmann Racing as the favourite
Defending team champion, Josef Kaufmann Racing comes into the new season as the favourite to repeat. During winter testing, the German squad beat the category track records at Circuit Paul Ricard and Motorland Aragón with Lando Norris behind the wheel. Winner in his first meeting in the MSA Formula, in the Toyota Racing Series and in the BRDC British F3, will the British rookie be able to do the same in a category as competitive as the Eurocup Formula Renault 2.0?
His biggest rival could be team mate and member of the Sahara Force India Academy, Jehan Daruvala. Fifth in the Formula Renault 2.0 NEC, the Indian driver has more experience and he was a consistent front runner over the winter. But the two will also have to pay close attention to Robert Shwartzman. Third in F4 Italy, the SMP Racing protégé made steady improvement to sandwich himself between his two team mates when the squad locked up the top three spots in the final collective test held on the Spanish circuit.
The competition will be fierce
Dominator at the first official tests held at Motorland Aragón, Max Defourny (R-ace GP) was more discreet last week due to neck pain. The top rookie in the 2015 Formula Renault 2.0 NEC should be fit in time to race alongside newcomers Julien Falchero and Will Palmer. The Brit, who won the title in BRDC F4 also took rookie top honours at his maiden outing at Silverstone last year.
Among the most serious contenders, Harrison Scott (AVF by Adrián Vallés) is going to give it all he has. The 2015 Eurocup Formula Renault 2.0 rookie of the year continues with the Spanish team with which he has demonstrated to be one of the main protagonists. He will be seconded in his quest by Henrique Chaves, one of the fastest drivers on the Spanish track last week.
Tech 1 Racing will be strong with a line-up of four cars consistently in the top ten in testing. Following a year in the FIA Formula 3 European Championship, Dorian Boccolacci will lead the charge alongside the experienced Hugo de Sadeleer and youngsters Sacha Fenestraz and Gabriel Aubry, respectively second and third in the 2015 French F4 Championship.
The Richard Dutton run Fortec Motorsports squad will run 2014 Sudamericana F4 champion, Bruno Baptista and Ferdinand Habsburg. Fully recovered from his spectacular incident at Silverstone, the Austrian scored his first open-wheel races at the start of the year and will try to do the Eurocup Formula Renault 2.0 – Euroformula Open double. Vasily Romanov will make his return to the category with the British team after finishing sixth in the Formula Renault 2.0 Alps.
JD Motorsport returned to the discipline last year and the Italian team will run James Allen, who will begin his third season, as well as Alexey Korneev, who finished just outside the top ten in his first race in the Eurocup at Jerez last year.
A surprise from one of the newcomers?
12 months after JD Motorsport, another Italian team returns full-time to the Eurocup Formula Renault 2.0. After taking Pastor Maldonado and José Maria Lopez, among others, to the upper echelons of racing, Cram Motorsport will field Canadian David Richert and 2015 Sudamericana F4 champion, Peruvian Rodrigo Pfluckler.
Two teams will make their debut in one of the most competitive championships in the world. After success in the Protyre Formula Renault, MGR Motorsport will concentrate on American driver David Porcelli, who comes from the Skip Barber Series. Meanwhile, Technorace will count on former Formula Abarth title contender, Alex Perullo.
Wild card entries Nikita Troitskiy (Fortec Motorsports) and Nerses Isaakyan (AVF by Adrián Vallés) from Russia were standouts in their first season in SMP F4, and the winner of the first female trophy in F4 Italy, Poland’s Julia Pankiewicz (AVF by Adrián Vallés) complete the field.
Friday 15 April 2016
9h45 – 10h35 Collective test 1
14h30 – 15h20 Collective test 2
Saturday 16 April 2016
9h35 – 9h50 Qualifying 1 – Group A
9h55 – 10h10 Qualifying 1 – Group B
13h00 – 13h27 Race 1
18h35 – 19h02 Race 2
Sunday 17 April 2016
9h00 – 9h15 Qualifying 1 – Group B
9h20 – 9h35 Qualifying 1 – Group A
12h25 – 12h52 Race 3