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Portuguese winter series planned for Regional F3 and F4 cars

by Elliot Wood

Photo: Spanish F4

Plans for a Junior Racing Festival this winter taking place at Portuguese Grand Prix venues Algarve and Estoril have been announced.

There will two single-seater categories present, with FIA Regional Formula 3-spec cars eligible for one element of the competition and then FIA Formula 4 cars for the other. Rather than specify one specific chassis and engine combination, entries in the two categories will be able to choose from different manufacturers from across the globe.

The Tatuus T-318 will be the only regional F3 chassis allowed for the ‘Formula 18’ races, but it can be used with either Alfa Romeo, Renault or Toyota’s engines.

The ‘Formula 16’ races will be open to the Crawford F4-16 (used in United States F4), Dome F110 (used in Japan), Mygale M14-F4 (used in British, Chinese, Danish, French, NACAM, South East Asia F4 championships) and the Tatuus F4-T1014 (used in Italy, Germany, Spain and the United Arab Emirates).

F4 engine selection will be open to Abarth, Ford, Renault, Geely, Honda and TOM’S Toyota, and all cars will run on Hanook tyres.

A six-day round will take place at each circuit, with Estoril on December 15-20 and Algarve on January 6-11 next year, with the first four days being filled by test sessions before a two-day race weekend where a combined sportscar and touring car category will also compete.

Each category will have classifications for rookie and female drivers, and drivers must be at least 15 years old to race in either F16 or F18.

The inaugural Junior Racing Festival is scheduled to take place at Estoril on 15-20 December 2020, with Portimao on 6-11 January 2021.

The proposed series follows failed plans for BRDC British F3 and British F4 to run a combined winter series in Portugal in recent years, and several attempts to create regional or global end-of-year F4 competitions to rival the likes of F3’s Macau Grand Prix.

Due to COVID-19, Chinese F4 will now actually race in Macau this year, while a winner-takes-all F4 event has been introduced as part of the FIA’s Motorsport Games.

The Junior Racing Festival has been founded by Cesar Alvarez, a veteran engineer in junior single-seaters and sportscars, who said: “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.”