The F3 Americas Championship Powered by Honda travels to the Big Easy for its penultimate event Oct. 13-14 at NOLA Motorsports Park for its last tripleheader weekend of the season. With just five races left in its inaugural year, the team championship battle intensifies as crews make last-minute roster decisions in effort to clinch the historic title.
Abel Motorsports, which leads the championship over Global Racing Group, expanded to a two-car squad midseason, calling up its steadfast F4 pilot Jacob Abel of Louisville, Kentucky, to compete alongside eleven-time F3 Americas winner Kyle Kirkwood of Jupiter, Florida. Abel was tied for 10th place in the F4 U.S. championship before making the move to F3, and after yielding a triple-round of third place finishes in his debut, the 16-year-old rookie elected to step out of F4 permanently for the season and formulate a late-season F3 championship run for his team.
Global Racing Group ran as a single-car team for six of the 12 races this season. Baltazar Leguizamon of Buenos Aires, Argentina, has remained the top points earner for the Seattle-based team, netting a win and 10 top-three finishes so far. Focused on winning the F4 U.S. championship, Leguizamon’s teammate Benjamin Pedersen of Copenhagen, Denmark, entered the F3 events that weren’t in conjunction with F4 weekends. However, now that the F4 championship is out of grasps, Pedersen’s goals have refocused to be the first competitor in history to earn top-three standings in both F4 U.S. and F3 Americas in a single season. Pedersen announced that he will now race in both championships in the season finale at Circuit of the Americas next week and could respectively earn up to 24 FIA Super License Points in one season to add to the 10 points he cleared last year in F4.
Series-newcomer Parker Locke of San Antonio entered F3 at Road Atlanta as a test for a prospective 2019 F3 seat with GRG, but subsequently earned a full-time ride for the remaining five 2018 races after placing in the top-four and earning the Sabelt Hard Charger Award in his debut.
Pedersen and Locke committing to F3 in the final two events gives GRG a one-car advantage over Abel. While only the top-two cars earn points for teams, adding an extra GRG car on the grid along with John Paul Southern Jr. of Westlake, Ohio, constantly contesting up front, definitely creates some challenges for Abel Motorsports in the homestretch.
The drivers will participate in one 30-minute practice and qualifying session Saturday morning before competing in the first 35-minute race in the afternoon. The penultimate event concludes on Sunday with the final two races. Fans can watch how the weekend plays out by following live timing and scoring on F3Americas.com.
NOLA event schedule (times listed in Central Time, subject to change)
Sat., Oct. 13
Practice: 8:00-8:30 a.m.
Qualifying: 11:45-12:15 p.m.
Race 1: 3:00-3:35 p.m.
Sun., Oct. 14
Race 2: 9:45-10:20 a.m.
Race 3: 3:00-3:35 p.m.