The inaugural Invictus Racing League Formula 3 series has come to its conclusion and the book was closed on a truly enthralling and thrilling series.
In the end it was Betrayer46 who took the crown as champion after a dominant season that only saw him off of the podium once throughout the eventual 11 race competition. He finally saw off the challenger WaveIntel who certainly had a breakout season with a runner up position in F3 and taking home the Performance league championship.
The top two battled it out throughout the season trading wins and points but further down the grid the table was ever changing with the midfield all scrapping over a top six finish. Third and fourth in the standings were taken by AaronJSpence and mj_coop respectively as coop in particular will rue a poor start to the season for not elevating himself into the title challenge.
SirSpud72 took a comfortable fifth with some strong results throughout the season, notably a podium in the first and last races of the season while it was BWAClyde who just pipped Captain_Stiff to sixth place in the standings as Clyde made up for some disappointing results with a podium in Britain and a fourth in Suzuka to secure a top six finish in what was a very competitive midfield.
After pre-season was dominated by NeverMiss00, the young Haas driver went into the season high on confidence and backed by many to take the title. He took victory in Australia and Russia and as the paddock filled up at round one in Mexico City the talk was all about a potential Haas vs Ferrari rivalry.
The Haas team had signed two young but hungry drivers in NeverMiss and WaveIntel who were hoping to stamp their intention on the track early but the self-proclaimed ‘old guard’ of the league were the Ferrari team of Betrayer46 and Tejuarr behind the wheel of the famous Italian manufacture. They were determined to give the Haas drivers a hard time on circuit and show that they were yet ready to allow Haas domination.
The season kicked off in Mexico and with a shower of confetti and cheers from the passionate Mexican fans it was WaveIntel who took pole position and subsequently the win whilst Betrayer who missed out on pole by three hundredths of a second just wasn’t able to keep up with WaveIntel in the final stages of the race.
SirSpud took home third position after starting seventh in a track that he enjoys and with his team mate Fascone in fifth it was a good day for Mercedes.
Pre-season favourite NeverMiss had a shocking start to the season as a first lap crash saw his race end with a bang as the Haas team were left with a car to re-build before the following week.
The fast Interlagos circuit was next up as the teams made their way down through Central to South America. Pole was taken by mj_coop who set a brilliant lap to put his Toro Rosso ahead of Tejuarr who lined up ahead of his team-mate as WaveIntel struggled in qualifying and could only manage seventh.
The rain came down for the start of the race and with the prospect of a dry surface on the horizon it would all be about keeping it on track throughout the wet period.
It was a disastrous start for coop as he lost positions off the line and was then a passenger in an accident as NeverMiss lost control and put both cars into the wall. This once again ended NeverMiss’ race early but coop managed to limp back to the pits but he could only manage an 11th place finish. The race victory was taken by Betrayer who was superb on his intermediate tyres to get a lead before the dry tyres. He was joined on the podium by AaronJSpence in the Sauber and WaveIntel who made it up to third.
The night race in Singapore was third on the calendar as the cars raced around the Marina Bay street circuit in perfect conditions. Mj_coop took another pole position but after a mistake following his first pit-stop he retired which allowed Betrayer to guarantee the lead. The points leader didn’t have it all his own way as he held off a final lap attack from Aaron who seemed to have the move done before wing damage halted his final lap fight. In a surprise showing it was a superb race for Gazzaman96 in the Force India who came all the way from 12th to third and take his and the team’s first podium of the season. Tejuarr and Captain_Stiff both had excellent races after early mistakes saw the pit crews in action before expected as the two recovered for respectable fifth and sixth places respectively.
The first European race of the season was the home of Ferrari in Monza but the two scarlet racers had their worst points total collectively of the season.
An issue for Betrayer in qualifying saw him start from the back of the grid and only manage sixth place allowing WaveIntel to take home a comfortable and dominant victory ahead of Aaron who maintained his good form with a third consecutive second place.
The surprise result of the week was the spectacular drive from Renault driver F1Richard67 who took third after impressing all afternoon. Pole sitter was once again mj_coop but after suffering a spin at the Parabollica he required an extra pit-stop as he recovered to ninth.
The home of British motorsport in Silverstone held round five of the championship and after utilising brilliant one lap pace BWAClyde put his Red Bull on pole position.
However, the race victory was taken by mj_coop after an explosive final lap saw coop and Aaron collide exiting Stowe which with two corners left saw Aaron crash out and coop take to the grass allowing Betrayer through but after missing a gear on the final corner it gave coop the victory on the line as he finally managed to put his speed into practice.
Betrayer picked up second and was joined on the rostrum by Clyde who did very well to stay with the leaders. WaveIntel had earlier crashed out after an accident with the returning JFMUFC at Stowe saw both pick up extensive damage in a bitter blow for the Haas driver’s title hopes.
The final race before the season break was in China as the grid looked forward to the Shanghai circuit. It was SirSpud who had a rocket of a lap to get his Mercedes to the top of the times.
Unfortunately for Spud it wasn’t transferred to race pace as he dropped to seventh as mj_coop took a second win in the Toro Rosso followed home by Betrayer and WaveIntel as the Scotsman looked to make up for his non finish in Silverstone.
The season week long break became two as the Canadian Grand Prix was postponed and subsequently cancelled as the grid moved straight on from Montreal to Suzuka for the Japanese Grand Prix but it was business as usual for the top two as Betrayer took the win from WaveIntel whilst Aaron got back onto the podium in third. BWAClyde took a credible fourth as drivers like Fascone, Stiff and Notorious picked up useful points further down the order.
The beautiful city of Budapest was the location of round nine as the cars would race around the notoriously difficult overtaking circuit the Hungaroring.
The established top four had already made a break for it early in the race and it was Betrayer who won once again after taking his first pole position of the season. Coop and WaveIntel rounded out the podium but further back there were points for Bren_Ons and osteven002 as the two managed eighth and ninth.
Betrayer’s two victories had put him within touching distance of the title and with WaveIntel as his only challenger it seemed like a matter of time before he would clinch the points required.
However, the Haas driver was not prepared to give up the fight and a victory in Bahrain and a third for Betrayer who was beaten by coop for second meant that with two races left in the season it would mean that Betrayer only required a seventh place finish to win the title in Austin. Further back Spud, Notorious and Bren_Ons all picked up useful points as the fight in the midfield for sixth to eleventh was extremely close.
Knowing that Betrayer would miss the final race in Malaysia it was a crucial race for him to wrap up the title as a ninth/tenth plus two wins for WaveIntel would see him snatch the title from the Maranello team. All worries from the pit-wall were quelled as Betrayer took the race victory and therefore put the title out of reach of his rivals with a race to spare.
WaveIntel stayed with him and picked up second with Aaron in third but it was the red garage who would be celebrating late into the night with a trip to Sixth Street in Austin and sample the fantastic night life. The team also celebrated wrapping up the constructor’s championship, with Betrayer and Tejuarr taking that accolade back to the stacked trophy cabinet within Maranello.
The final race of the season was hosted by the outgoing Sepang circuit in Malaysia and it certainly threw up a whole load of excitement as the race was predicted to be rain affected and with strategies all different across the grid it turned out to be an outstanding race.
WaveIntel finished off the season in style with a victory and his fourth of the campaign. He was followed by SirSpud who drove well to get second but it was an incredible display from Williams driver osteven002, his best result to date was ninth and using a long first stint he went from 15th on the grid to take home a first podium as he was cheered on by the rest of the field. He was followed by Captain_Stiff who after spinning out of third early on recovered from ninth to fourth to pick up his best result of the season in a frenetic end to the season.
Betrayer was quoted after claiming his title that it was “a pleasure to race against the field and that to win the title in such esteemed company means a lot” before thanking the team with “Forza Ferrari” and with five wins over the season he certainly set the benchmark for others to follow.
It was a truly deserved title for Betrayer and with such a consistent season in regards to pace and results no one could offer up a better recipient of the inaugural F3 trophy. The F3 league has shown that while not the fastest league in IRL that the racing and comradery between drivers of all teams was second to none and the races offered excitement unrivalled.
WaveIntel took home the award for the most fastest laps over the season and it was the fast starting Captain_Stiff who made the most positions from qualifying to race results. While the only drivers to start and finish every race were both Renault drivers of Stiff and F1Richard in a consistent season for the Enstone team.
There is a very good chance that we see drivers like Betrayer, Coop and WaveIntel promoted to F2 next season but with such a competitive league left behind and with drivers ready to battle it out in the F1 2018 game. We are in store for an absolutely incredible season. Can the likes of Spud, Notorious, Clyde or Stiff look at taking up the challenge? But with so many drivers on the grid enduring positive seasons we can expect more of the same next season.
There have already been rumours of drivers linking up already and alliances forming so with contracts up with current teams it will be interesting to see who partners who next season.
The season was exciting, competitive and explosive from flag up in Australia for pre-season to flag down in Malaysia. Credit is due to all drivers for making it a memorable season and the admin team for creating the positive and fun community within the league.
Registrations are open for F1 2018 so join up now and experience it for yourself!