What if there was a way to nurture Australian open wheel talent, in Australia, while still leaving overseas options open?
The standard path to Formula 3, Formula 2 or Formula 1 for any Australian has generally been to pack up bags and head overseas as there has been no reputable series to provide the stepping stone. Sorry to the now defunct Formula 4, that includes you.
The Australian Motor Racing Series announced the Invitational Class of the Australian Formula 3 Championship which will be open to drivers as young as 14 to delve into the wings and slicks racing category in a transferable skill category.
Bruin Beasley, who has three decades of managing championship teams and drivers has imported Toyota Racing Series (TRS) cars into Australia and is encouraging drivers with overseas ambitions to get behind the wheel.
“Up until now, 14-year-olds haven’t had a suitable pathway to progress from karts to a wings-and-slicks open-wheel category within Australia,” Beasley said.
“The AMRS and F3 Championship are now perfectly positioned as the country’s home of junior open wheel racing. Rising stars are able to learn the nuances of the cars in a competitive racing atmosphere where there are factors like starts, battles for track position, Safety Cars and changing track conditions.”
Beasley said that previously, junior drivers with professional open-wheel ambitions were forced to head offshore.
“In recent times, we’ve seen a number of Aussie drivers who have pursued the overseas open-wheel dream, such as Oscar Piastri, Alex Peroni, Marcus Flack and Hugh Barter,” Beasley said.
“The reality is that these drivers had no open-wheel experience at 14, because there simply wasn’t a local open-wheel category that provided them with a sound platform to take on Europe at 15.
“The AMRS and F3 Championship Invitational Class provide that platform and the TRS cars are ideal for junior drivers making their first foray into circuit racing from go-karts.”
Beasley said the AMRS strikes the right balance between exposure and pressure, as well as accommodating drivers at a young age.
“It’s important to have a pathway for junior drivers to make the step into cars at as young an age as possible, to bring Australia in line with what happens overseas; by allowing 14-year-olds to race, the AMRS achieves that goal,” he said.
“As a national series, the AMRS is professionally managed and there are features like the live-streaming package, which allows aspiring racers to earn recognition and provide a value proposition to potential sponsors.
“At the same time, there’s not the burden of expectation or the massive pressure of heading straight to Europe and competing in a cut-throat open-wheel category without the proper preparation. I’ve seen talented drivers do that in the past and it has done their careers more harm than good.”
Some of those who Beasley has guided through the juniror ranks includes drivers such as Nikita Mazepin, Callum Illot, Jack Le Brocq and Todd Hazelwood.
“Many of my mechanics and engineers have worked for some of the top European teams, so we’re able to open doors and create opportunities for those who demonstrate their abilities,” he said.
“We’ll be aiming to get some drivers into the TRS cars, we’ll work closely with them and we’ll do all we can to help them pursue their international racing dreams.”
AMRS manager Matt Baragwanath is excited about the series providing a springboard for stars of the future.
“Over the last few seasons, the AMRS has already unearthed exciting young talent, in categories like the Australian Formula Ford Championship and TA2 Muscle Cars,” Baragwanath said.
“The Australian Formula 3 Championship, including the Invitational Class, provides an avenue for those who want to learn their craft in open-wheelers and potentially pursue a professional career in Europe or America.”
Parties interested in competing in the Australian Formula 3 Championship Invitational Class in a TRS car can contact Bruin via email – firstname.lastname@example.org.
The next round of the Australian Formula 3 Championship will be held as part of the next AMRS round at Winton Motor Raceway, 11-13 June