Story and photographs by Bill Maharidge
The WEC was in Texas this month at the Circuit of the America’s for the Lone Star LeMans. Along with them came the World Series Formula V8 3.5 Championship. This was the first time the support series has made it over to the United States this season.
The series was called Formula Renault 3.5 before Renault Sport withdrew its backing at the end of the 2015 season. There are 11 cars vying for the championship this year with Pietro Fittipaldi as the point leader, finishing on the podium eight times this season. He is the grandson of Formula 1 champion Emerson Fittipaldi. His team mate at Lotus, Rene Binder, has claimed four podium finishes and sits seventy nine points behind in fifth place.
The cars have a similar look to those in the GP2 series. They use a Dallara chassis and are powered by a 3.4 litre V8 engine. This season they will be racing with the WEC in nine events across the globe.
The World Series Formula V8 3.5 ran two races over the weekend with two qualifying sessions. In the first session on Friday, Rene Binder took the pole position with Pietro Fittipaldi second, and the Spaniard Alex Palou, driver for the Teo Martin team, was third.
The races were 22 and 23 laps long, but they were not lacking in excitement at all. With Lotus taking the top spots in qualifying on Friday, it looked like it would be a lock for a one, two race finish, but in the end, Lotus driver Rene Binder took the win, and Pietro Fittipaldi dropped to third.
The second qualifying session on Saturday saw Alex Palou take pole position with Fittipaldi second and SMP Racing by AVF driver Egor Orudzhev taking third.
The race turned out a little different. Egor Orudzhev ended up winning, Alex Palou came in second and Fortec Motorsports driver Digeo Menchaca moved up five spots to claim third. Pietro Fittipaldi hit the barriers early in the race and had to retire from the race.
This is a pretty exciting racing series. The cars are sleek and fast, and they have a very talented driver line up in the series. A lot of top names in F1 and other motor sports have driven in the series over the years.
To follow the standings and view the race schedule, go to www.worldseriesv8.com. You will also find the driver bios, standings and latest news for the World Series Formula V8 3.5.
Bill Maharidge is a contributor to Sports Car Illustrated. To contact Bill or enjoy more of his work visit his website at www.fastrackphoto.com
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