Since the early days of Motor sports, Great Britain is the place to be if you want to develop yourself as a professional driver. Many international race classes visit one of the circuit in Great Britain, and many teams have their headquarters there. However, when they try to setup a British championship it does not go that well. The British F3000 championship in 1997 is a great example of it.
The original British Formula 3000 championship was first held in 1989, the cars were one-year-old International F3000s. It was cheaper to use the cars instead of give Reynard or Lola the o order to design a brand new car. Within two years, the championship had plenty of entrances. However, in 1992 the organisation decided to change the name to British F2 championship. While the championships’ name was changed, less teams appeared on the grid during the years.
In 1995, there was no championship at all, there was only one team that announced their entry for the British F2 in 1995. The series would use new Reynard Chassis and powered by Cosworth. The series returned in 1996 with several teams on the grid, Gareth Rees won the championship. The same year the announcement came that the British F3000 championship name would return in 1997. In addition, the series would use the new Lola T96/50, as already used by the International F3000 series, powered by Zytek engines and use Avon Tyres.
The package looked fine for the British F3000 championship. Several teams announced their interest in the series. DKS Racing and Redman Bright Engineering applied for the entry. While other teams that showed, their interest were Elide and Z-speed. While Astromega was rumoured to put at least two cars on the grid. Also Edenbridge and Nordic said to look for an entry in the series.
The British F3000 Championship in 1997 had 10 rounds on several British circuits.
|British Formula 3000 Championship 1997|
However, the first race at Oulton Park was cancelled already due the lack of interest by other teams. And the teams that were interested moved to the International F3000 series, as the series was already competitive. The second race held on the 13th of April 1997 continued. However, the sad view of only three cars on the grid was desperate. DKS appeared the weekend with a car for Dino Morelli and Tommy Field. While Redman Bright Engineering had one car on the grid for Gonzalo Rodriguez.
The race was intended to have 36 laps, due the lack of cars the race distance was reduced to just 26 laps. Dino Morelli was on pole, behind him was Gonzalo Rodriguez and his team mate Tommy Field. Remember the Indianapolis race in 2005, when only 6 cars started the race? The F3000 race at Brands was the same. Gonzalo got some problems with his gears but he was still able to drive his pace. During the 18th round, the safety car appeared on the track. It is said that there was debris on the track; however, I think they put the safety car on the track as a desperate attempt to bring some action on the track. Of course, this didn’t happened. Morelli managed to set the fastest lap with 39,38s. Morelli also won the race.
|British Formula 3000 Championship 1997 Brands Hatch results|
|1||Dino Morelli||DKS||18m 19.380s||9|
|2||Gonzalo Rodriguez||Redman||18m 22.860s||6|
|3||Tommy Field||DKS||18m 25.580s||4|
Was this the end of the British F3000 Championship? Well yes it was, however, the organisation thought the teams that were not able to get their International F3000 grid space would move to the British F3000 championship. Of course, this didn’t happened. DKS Racing and Redman Bright Engineering moved to the International F3000 championship.
You could say from the beginning the British F3000 championship was doomed to fail. Partly because most of the drivers tried their luck in the International F3000 championship or in the British F3 Championship. On the other hand the series had not much support and media coverage from the beginning as they thought they would. Also the high costs to run an team in the series was to much.