Race-winning BRDC British Formula 3 Championship driver Sasakorn ‘Cutter’ Chaimongkol has today, Wednesday, 22nd July, finalised a deal with successful team Hillspeed to remain with the squad for the delayed 2020 season – which begins just 10 days from now.
The 20-year-old Thai, who lives in West Bridgford, really came of age as a British F3 driver last year with the Markham Vale-based team after securing his maiden race victory at Silverstone Grand Prix Circuit with an outstanding performance.
Over the past few months, both team and driver have been working tirelessly to secure the budget required for Chaimongkol to return to action in British F3 – a task not helped by the negative impact of the coronavirus pandemic and the enforced global lockdown.
The battle to achieve the necessary funding has been a significant one but the Bangkok-born racer can now look forward to only his third full season in car racing thanks to the continued backing of long-term sponsors MAXIMA Motorsport, MAXIMA Motor Oil and Chiratec.
One of the consequences of the COVID-19 situation, added to budget restrictions earlier in the year, has been a distinct lack of testing for Chaimongkol. In actuality, he hasn’t climbed behind the wheel of a race car since the end of the 2019 season.
His first run in the upgraded and re-profiled Tatuus BF3-020 car which will be raced during the rescheduled 24-round campaign will only come during the practice session before the opening event of the season at Oulton Park, which takes place over the weekend 1st/2nd August.
He will therefore, go into the first four races of the season at the Cheshire track with significantly less running than the competition – not that Chaimongkol is remotely fazed, in fact he is relishing the challenge. He is also, of course, looking forward to flying the flag for Thailand once again.
“It’s great to come back to British F3 and work with Hillspeed again, we’ve established a fantastic relationship over the last few years and we proved last year we can win in this championship”, said Chaimongkol, “I’m very grateful to everyone who has been working so hard to make this deal happen, not least my manager John Kirkpatrick and Richard and Morgan [Ollerenshaw] at the team.
“Even though we’ll be going into the new season on the backfoot compared to everyone else who has had the budget to go testing, I know we can hit the ground running and mount a really strong challenge. I’m proud to be representing Thailand again in British F3, my ultimate goal is to be the first Thai-born driver in Formula One since Prince Bira. Winning British F3 would be a perfect start.”
Making his BRDC British F3 debut in 2018 with Hillspeed, having conducted a test programme with the squad prior to entering the championship, Chaimongkol concluded his maiden campaign as the top ‘Rookie’ driver in ninth position overall – taking two podium finishes along the way.
Returning last year with the team, the Thai ended his second season eighth in the standings. Adding to his podium tally with a top three finish at Donington Park Grand Prix Circuit in June, he then achieved the Sunoco ‘Fastest Driver of the Weekend’ accolade at Spa-Francorchamps in Belgium.
His memorable first victory at Silverstone was the true breakthrough for Chaimongkol, a front-row start converted into a fantastic lights-to-flag success. Notably, he finished inside the points in all 24 races to underline his consistency, as well as the terrific reliability of his Hillspeed prepared car.
Speaking on the Thai’s return, Hillspeed team principal Richard Ollerenshaw said: “We’re absolutely delighted Cutter is back with us for the new season. It’s been a long slog to get the budget together, and if it wasn’t for Cutter’s long-term sponsor MAXIMA Oils he would have been spending 2020 on the sidelines which would have been a travesty.
“It’s unfortunate he hasn’t been able to test, but we know what he’s capable of and we’re all aiming for big things this season. We’re making a real push now to fill our third seat, it’d be fantastic to complete a capacity line-up and we’d be delighted to speak to anyone looking for a cost-effective drive in the UK’s top single-seater championship – whether for the full season or selected rounds.”
Chaimongkol will join young British driver Oliver Clarke in Hillspeed’s line-up and, as mentioned, the team is still working hard to fill its third seat before the opening four races of the rescheduled season at the beginning of August.
Provisional 2020 BRDC British F3 Calendar
Rds 1/2/3/4 – Oulton Park, Cheshire – 1st/2nd August
Rds 5/6/7 – Donington Park GP, Leicestershire – 15th/16th August
Rds 8/9/10/11 – Brands Hatch GP, Kent – 29th/30th August
Rds 12/13/14 – Donington Park GP, Leicestershire – 19th/20th September
Rds 15/16/17/18 – Snetterton 300, Norfolk – 3rd/4th October
Rds 19/20/21 – Donington Park National, Leicestershire – 24th/25th October
Rds 22/23/24 – Silverstone GP, Northamptonshire – 7th/8th November