LEETON'S Noah Sands may be just 17, but he will be strapped into one of Australia's fastest race cars when he tackles the 2022 Australian Formula 3 Championship with Gilmour Racing.
Noah has demonstrated his talents in the Formula Ford competition the last two seasons, highlighted by his runner-up result in last year's national championship.
However, Noah is expecting Formula 3 to be another challenge entirely.
"Formula Ford has been a great place for me to learn how to race cars, but F3 is on a completely different level," he said.
"The cars have much more advanced aerodynamics, so they have an enormous amount of grip and can carry huge corner speeds.
"They are some of the fastest race cars in the country, they hold the outright lap records at a number of tracks and they're quicker than the V8s at most circuits."
The Australian F3 Championship has increased in popularity in recent years, thanks to the success of Australian drivers such as Oscar Piastri, Jack Doohan and Calan Williams in the international FIA F3 Championship, which supports the Formula 1 World Championship.
Noah was expecting a high level of competition on the local scene.
"A lot of young drivers are watching people like Oscar, Jack and Calan, and wanting to follow in their footsteps - I'm expecting this year's championship to be very competitive," he said.
"The Australian F3 Championship definitely sets you up well if you want to head overseas; Calan won the Aussie title a few years ago, he competed in international F3 in 2020-21 and this year he's stepping up to F2.
"But even if you want to stay in Australia, F3 teaches you skills that are relevant to other categories as we've seen with someone like Harri Jones, who has progressed to Carrera Cup and had some great results."
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Noah will drive for the Gilmour Racing Team, which has had two decades of experience in Formula 3 and assisted the careers of drivers.
As part of the arrangement, Noah has relocated to Queensland where he will spend time at the Gilmour Racing workshop and assist with preparation and maintenance of the team's F3 cars.
The season starts at Sydney Motorsport Park on February 18 and 19.
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