The region’s brightest young talents are set to shine as the Formula Masters China Series (FMCS), the leading international junior single seater championship in China and Asia, gets underway with its first triple-header of the 2015 season this weekend at Malaysia’s Formula 1 track, the Sepang International Circuit.
Eight drivers will make their series debuts and a further seven will be embarking on their first full FMCS seasons, representing the next generation of tomorrow’s stars. The field will battle it out over 18 races for the coveted FMCS championship title, while at the same time developing a solid motorsport foundation skillfully designed to launch a successful motorsport career. The championship has already proven to be a powerful platform in helping drivers graduate to advanced open-wheel series; 2014 runner-up Matthew Solomon is currently competing in the prestigious FIA Formula 3 European Championship.
The diversity of the 2015 FMCS field, with drivers hailing from eight different nations, promises an intriguing season ahead, and also ensures the high competition benchmark – which allowed Solomon successfully make the transition from karting to the world’s most respected Formula 3 championship – remains.
As the 2015 FMCS season gets underway this weekend, Jake Parsons (20) of Meritus.GP leads the charge as the highest-finishing returning driver. Parsons finished fourth in 2014, having joined at the series mid-point and, in his first full FMCS season this year, the Australian will have his sights firmly on the championship prize. Joining Parsons at Meritus.GP is Malaysian Daniel Woodroof (19), who made his FMCS debut last year and also returns for a full season in 2015, and Thai newcomer Worawong Komarakul (18). Last year’s FMCS Best Chinese Driver Trophy winner Yuan Bo is back with FMCS to capture the overall title and this year races with Meritus.GP.
Reigning Team Champions Cebu Pacific Air by KCMG return with four new drivers all eager to impress on their FMCS debut: Australian Nicholas Rowe (16) was Australian Karter of the Year in both 2012 and 2013, and the Australian Speedcar Pro Series Rookie of the Year in 2014; hot prospect, 19-year old Martin Rump of Estonia, who already has several junior single seater victories under his belt; and Chinese drivers Zheng Shangguan and Jeffrey Ye Junhui, who are both 17. Zheng and Ye are also part of the Star Racing Academy, China’s first junior single-seater driver development programme established by Volkswagen Group China to nurture the next generation of Chinese motorsport heroes.
Flying the flag for South Korea is newcomer Kim Jeong Tae (19), who won his national Rotax Senior Kart Championship in 2014. Kim races with the six-strong Eurasia Motorsport squad, which also enters China’s Hua Miao, back for a second FMCS season, and Australian Aidan Read (16), who joins FMCS full-time this year having made his debut at the 2014 season finale. Last year, Singapore’s Sean Hudspeth could only contest a partial season due to his national service commitments, but this year returns for a full-on championship assault. Newcomers and siblings Takeru (17) and Asuka Muratomi (16) of Japan make their FMCS debut at Sepang.
Japanese drivers Tomoki Takahashi and Takashi Hata are back with Super License after partial seasons in 2014. New team Arrows Racing joins FMCS with South African Matthew Swanepoel (20), whose partial 2014 season included two pole positions at the opening weekend.
Following the season-opening trio of races at Sepang, the championship moves to China for a triple-header at the Shanghai International Circuit, before racing in Chinese Taipei for the first time at the Penbay International Circuit. In August, three races at the brand new Kuala Lumpur Street Circuit bring an additional challenge, and provide the drivers with another exciting opportunity to showcase their potential. FMCS then moves to Zhuhai for three races in China’s Pan Delta Region in September, before closing 2015 with a return to China’s Formula 1 track in Shanghai.
“For the past three seasons Formula Masters China Series has led the way in the development of Chinese and Asian single-seater talent, and the success of the proven FMCS training platform is reflected in both the accomplishments of our graduates and in the quality and diversity of the new drivers we have attracted for the 2015 season,” said Dominic Lyncker, Senior Director, Group Sports Car, Motorsport and Car Culture Department, Volkswagen Group China. “FMCS represents the ideal training ground for young athletes embarking upon a career in professional motorsport, a professional championship which has the benefit of decades of VW motorsport experience and expertise, and a credible benchmark in terms of competition, where drivers can judge their level of performance on a global level. With a challenging and exciting calendar, the upgraded paddle shift on the Tatuus FA010 and a field of talented, passionate and ambitious young drivers, the 2015 Formula Masters China Series promises to be a thrilling ride from start to finish,” added Lyncker.
The Formula Masters China Series 2015 season blasts off the grid from April 24-26 at the Sepang International Circuit in Malaysia. Saturday features two qualifying sessions and Race 1, with Races 2 and 3 on Sunday.
Formula Masters China Series 2015 Provisional Calendar
|24-26 April||1-3||Sepang International Circuit, Malaysia|
|5-7 June||4-6||Shanghai International Circuit, China|
|3-5 July||7-9||Penbay International Circuit, Chinese Taipei|
|7-9 August||10-12||Kuala Lumpur Street Circuit, Malaysia|
|18-20 September||13-15||Zhuhai International Circuit, China|
|17-19 October||16-18||Shanghai International Circuit, China|