The Junior Racing Festival, the first open formula European winter series aimed at young single-seater, GT and touring car drivers, will launch this December.
The inaugural festival will be hosted across two six-day events at Circuito Estoril and Autódromo Internacional do Algarve this winter, providing a unique opportunity for drivers during the traditional European motorsport off-season while international travel is restricted. The drivers will participate in test sessions during the first four days of each event, before competing in multi-engine, multi-chassis races over the weekend.
Partnered with Hankook Tire, Tatuus, AF-Tech and P1 Racing Fuels, the Junior Racing Festival is the brainchild of Cesar Alvarez, an experienced engineer who has worked in WEC, Formula E, ELMS, Formula Renault 3.5, Toyota Racing Series and GT World Challenge, with teams such as Andretti Autosport, SMP Racing, Charouz Racing System, Absolute Racing and Status Grand Prix.
Competitors can enter one of three categories. The two single-seater classes Formula 16 and Formula 18 are an equivalent to FIA F4 and F3 Regional respectively, while the Touring and GT class uses selected homologated vehicles issued from their national and regional series. Each class will also include categories for rookie and female drivers.
Four chassis will be eligible in Formula 16 (Dome F110, Tatuus F4-T1014, Mygale M14-F4 and Crawford F4-16) as well as six engines from Abarth, Ford, Renault Sport, Geely, Honda and TOM’S Toyota. Formula 18 will use the Tatuus F3 T-318 chassis with the choice of engines between Renault Sport, Alfa Romeo and Toyota Gazoo.
Drivers must be at least 15 years old and possess either an International A, B, C or National Grade A racing license. The closing date for applications is on 1 November 2020.
The inaugural Junior Racing Festival is scheduled to take place at Estoril on 15-20 December 2020, with Portimao on 6-11 January 2021. Further announcements regarding the inaugural Junior Racing Festival will follow.
Cesar Alvarez, Junior Racing Festival founder: “The concept for the Junior Racing Festival was developed over the past few years following a number of eye-opening discussions with single-seater and GT team owners and driver managers. These conversations gradually became more serious, and we have now devised an event aimed at attracting young drivers for new testing and racing opportunities during the winter. Our hope is to conjure up the atmosphere that was created at the original Formula Ford Festival and gather some of the best drivers from every national series and reward them with top prizes.”
Giovanni Delfino, Tatuus Chief Executive Officer: “We’ve always hoped to see such an initiative in Europe and are very happy to participate in the inaugural event. Motorsport suffered a lot during the COVID-19 pandemic, but this event is a symbol of progress and hope for the industry going forward. Since the end of the lockdown, we’ve felt the urgency with which teams and drivers have wanted to get back on track and the Junior Racing Festival can be an important part of our sport returning to normal. We believe in this project and as the first series of its type in Europe, I’m sure it will be a real success for the drivers and teams alike.”
Martin Popilka, P1 Racing Fuels Chief Executive Officer: “Junior championships are a crucial platform for the development of young motorsport talent. In the past, P1 Racing Fuels has powered numerous drivers to victory at many different levels and we look forward to supporting all the participants in the Junior Racing Festival as we continue to invest in building a vibrant and sustainable future for motorsport in Europe and beyond. As a long-time pioneer in our field, we believe in working alongside industry leaders to build open, inclusive and affordable platforms to ensure a diversity of talent in racing. The Junior Racing Festival is an important example of this, and we are proud to be onboard as the official fuel supplier.”
Manfred Sandbichler, Hankook Motorsport Director: “We’re more than happy to support the Junior Racing Festival as its exclusive tyre partner. Adding a winter series will prove to be a key part of our motorsport strategy. It’s important to show that we continue to support young drivers, especially in the current circumstances, and this initiative will offer some of the best young talents in Europe the opportunity to continue their testing programmes throughout the winter and prove themselves in races against other top competitors. The tyre is the only contact patch between the car and the racetrack and therefore they play a large role in the outcome of a race and the safety of the drivers. At Hankook, we acknowledge the importance of our product and make sure that our tyres deliver reliable performance levels lap after lap. The Ventus race tyre will be used during the series and we look forward to displaying it on what we believe will be a fantastic platform.”
Launched in 2020, the Junior Racing Festival is a unique opportunity for young drivers to compete in an exciting European winter series during the traditional off-season, promoting 40 of the best talents from single-seater, touring car and GT racing. Our mission is to showcase and develop young drivers while reviving multi-engine and multi-chassis competition which has laid dormant for decades.
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