In a sport stuffed with showcase events, whether in Monaco, Indianapolis or Le Mans, one punches way above its weight – and is scrutinised every year by insiders and enthusiasts keen to identify the motor racing stars of the future.
We’re a little more than two weeks away from the 2008 Macau Grand Prix, where winners and challengers from F3 series around the world will take each other on in a head-to-head race on one of the most famous and challenging street courses in the world.
It used to be seen as a fast-track route into F1 with Ayrton Senna, both Schumacher brothers and David Coulthard featuring among former winners.
Recently the route has been a little less clear, with Darren Manning, Lucas di Grassi, Oliver Jarvis and Mike Conway all missing out, in one way or another, on an F1 call-up. In fact, the last winner to make the jump was Takuma Sato.
But it’s still one of the most evocative victories a young driver could have on his or her CV – and this year six Brits will feature as well as the British F3 International winner Jaime Alguersuari.
The 18-year-old Spaniard will line up alongside Carlin Motorsport team-mate Oliver Turvey, who he beat to the title in the last race of the season.
Familar names from other series will include James Jakes, who has recently made his debut racing for Super Nova in the GP2 Asia series. He will be competing for ART Grand Prix on the strength of his season in F3 Euro Series, where he came 13th.
James Winslow, who is resuming his rookie duties for A1GP’s Team GBR in the run-in to Macau, will compete on the back of winning the Australian F3 championship.
Others include Max Chilton for Hitech Racing, who competed in British F3 and came 10th. Manor Motorsport’s Sam Bird and John Lancaster both take part following seasons in F3 Euro Series.
One notable name missing from the entry list is Nico Hulkenberg, who took the F3 Euro Series title. The reason given is a clash with existing GP2 commitments.
However Hulkenberg has already tested for the Williams F1 team and there are rumours that he signed on the dotted line earlier this month – rendering a Macau Grand Prix outing possibly superfluous.