A full grid of Euroformula Open cars will head to Pau this weekend to fight over not only the third and fourth races of the 2019 season, but the 78th edition of the Grand Prix de Pau.
This is the first time that the Euroformula Open has the honour to headline this legendary event that traces back to 1930 in its current form and through the various eras has been part of the history of F1, F2, F3000 and F3. Together with Monaco and Macau, the 2.760km-long Circuit de Pau forms a triptych of legendary urban tracks that have managed to survive into the modern era of formula racing.
Formula 3’s affinity with the town in the French Pyrenees, renowned for its Belle-Epoque architecture, started in 1964 and kept almost perfect continuity up to our days, despite the varying fortunes of the category. Over the decades, the GP de Pau has been ran as part of different European series and cups, but also as an event of the French, British or German series.
“We are happy and honoured to take the baton with the Euroformula”, says the CEO of GT Sport Jesús Pareja, “and to offer the Euroformula teams and drivers such a prestigious platform where to display their abilities”.
The Euroformula drivers will be indeed wanting to follow the likes of Formula 1 world champions Lewis Hamilton, Juan Manuel Fangio, Jim Clark, Jack Brabham, Alberto Ascari and Jochen Rindt as winners of the grand prix.
Leading the championship heading into the second round of the season is Red Bull junior Liam Lawson, who had a dramatic weekend at the Paul Ricard season opener that included a victory and a clash with his fellow Red Bull-backed Motopark team-mate Yuki Tsunoda.
Their team-mate Marino Sato won the other race at Paul Ricard, and will be one of the favourites at Pau this weekend having raced Formula 3 cars there for the last two years. The fourth Motopark car of Julian Hanses also has experience of the French street circuit.
After making history by taking the first pole of the championship’s open-engine formula, Teo Martín Motorsport’s Lukas Dunner took two podiums at Paul Ricard and is already one of the title favourites. The Austrian leads the team’s three-car line-up, which also includes Guilherme Samaia and Aldo Festante. It will be a weekend full of learning for the team, having not visited a street circuit since the pre-merge de Villota Motorsport raced in Valencia in Spanish F3 in 2008.
Double R Racing, running Red Bull junior Jack Doohan and Linus Lundqvist, has more recent street circuit experience, and has finished on the Pau podium before.
It is trumped on Pau success by British rival Carlin though, which has won the grand prix three times with WEC champion Anthony Davidson, Alfa Romeo F1 driver Antonio Giovinazzi and Alessio Lorandi. Christian Hahn, Nicolai Kjaergaard, Billy Monger and Teppei Natori fill its roster in the search for a fourth win.
Fortec missed racing at Pau last year, but won at the circuit the year before, and has highly rated drivers in Cameron Das and Calan Wiliams.
The final team on the grid, Drivex School, has never visited a street circuit before and will also be marking the Piedrafita engine’s debut at the circuit. Reigning Euroformula champion team RP Motorsport won’t be making its mark on Pau, but is expected to return in full gear at Hockenheim.