World Series by Renault: Season Preview
After what seems like an eternity, the Michelin-backed World Series by Renault race package roars back into action this weekend (5/6 May) at Motorland Aragon in Spain with some of the globe’s top aspiring FIA Formula One World Championship drivers set to do battle.
Headlined by the sensational Formula Renault 3.5 Series, and featuring support categories Eurocup Formula Renault 2.0 and Eurocup Megane Trophy V6, the World Series events always provide great entertainment on and off track with plenty of displays and shows to back-up the superb racing.
This weekend’s event will mark the race debut of the phenomenal new FR 3.5 chassis which boasts a wealth of F1-style developments. Most noticeable is the introduction of a brand new ‘DRS’ Drag Reduction System of the kind which has become a key part of Grand Prix racing.
Engine-wise, the FR 3.5 has had power boosted by 50bhp through a new 3.4-litre V8 powerplant meaning the car now produces an eye-watering 530bhp with top speeds exceeding 180mph and acceleration from 0-62mph in a mind-numbing 2.95 seconds!
Aerodynamically, the car creates huge downforce – around 30 per cent more than last year – which means the FR 3.5 is quicker through the corners than a current GP2 Series car. In terms of tyres, Michelin has stiffened the side wall to cope with the huge increase in downforce although the actual compound remains the same as in 2011.
Runners and riders for FR 3.5 in 2012...
Formula Renault 3.5 Series arguably features a stronger driver line-up than GP2 this year with several star names having switched from the F1 support category, accompanied by some ultra-quick graduates from Formula 3 and the like.
Flying the flag for the UK will be Michelin columnist Will Stevens with British squad Carlin, GP2 convert Sam Bird with ISR, Red Bull-backed GP3 graduate Lewis Williamson at Arden Caterham (the outfit now affiliated with the Caterham F1 Team) and Nick Yelloly at UK team Comtec Racing.
Reigning Eurocup Formula Renault 2.0 Champion Robin Frijns, racing for British outfit Fortec Motorsports, starred during pre-season testing against vastly more experienced opposition and the Dutchman could be a genuine contender in his debut campaign.
Tech 1 Racing’s Jules Bianchi, a member of the Scuderia Ferrari F1 driver development programme, will undoubtedly be a major player in the championship battle as will American driver Alexander Rossi, driving for Fortec, who is embarking on his second season in FR 3.5.
Look out too for Danish racer Kevin Magnussen who is part of the Vodafone McLaren-Mercedes young driver scheme – the 2011 British Formula 3 Vice-Champion joins Stevens at Carlin.
In Eurocup Formula Renault 2.0, British hopes rest with Fortec’s Oliver Rowland, Manor MP Motorsport’s Jordan King and Melville McKee of the Interwetten.com Racing Junior Team. Also expected on the grid is the Atech Reid GP squad.
Digital satellite and cable broadcaster Eurosport will feature the Formula Renault 3.5 Series action live across the weekend – check listings for further details.