Asian Formula 3 champion Joey Alders was denied the opportunity to make his sportscar debut at Barcelona this weekend after the FIA changed his categorisation as a driver mid-weekend.
The Dutchman had been aiming to step up to Formula 2 this year after winning back-to-back titles in Asia in Formula Renault 2.0 and then Regional F3, but couldn’t find the budget and instead secured a late deal in the European Le Mans Series.
He was set to share a car in the LMP3 prototype class with Italian Formula 4 graduate Mateusz Kaprzyk and category expert Andrea Dromedari for ex-IndyCar team EuroInternational before the FIA changed him from silver to gold driver status.
“I’m unable to drive this weekend because I’m categorised as a gold driver, and the regulations are clear [in LMP3] you can only have two silver drivers and one bronze,” said Alders.
“For some reason I am categorised as gold, why, we are not certain, but unfortunately I will not compete in this round in the ELMS. What this means for the rest of the season is still unclear.”
After his F3 title at the start of 2020, Alders entered two FR Eurocup rounds but didn’t have the budget to continue and hasn’t raced since. Recently he has been working with Van Amersfoort Racing, which potentially has a vacant slot in its Euroformula line-up.
In addition to Polish youngster Kaprzyk, the ELMS LMP3 grid includes several other junior single-seater stars.
Ugo de Wilde, the youngest race-winner in FR Eurocup history, is racing for Inter Europol Competition and he is also currently leading the Alpine Europa Cup. He shares his ELMS car with Julien Falchero, who raced in Indy Lights in 2019, while Cool Racing is running 2020 Euroformula frontrunner Niklas Krutten.
In the supporting Michelin Le Mans Cup that also uses LMP3 cars are two BRDC British F3 graduates.
Josh Skelton is also driving for Cool Racing, after two years in British Formula 4 that included a record run of nine podiums in a row and a British F3 campaign that resulted in sixth in the points, while Nico Varrone is part of Rinaldi Racing’s line-up.