Grid for maiden Formula V8 3.5 season continues to take shape

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The grid for the first Formula V8 3.5 season is beginning to take shape following a series of driver announcements over the past week.

Previously known as Formula Renault 3.5, French manufacturer Renault confirmed last year that it would be withdrawing its support of the series, handing organizational and promotional duties over to Spanish company RPM Racing.

RPM launched a new website for the series earlier this month, confirming that it would be running under the Formula V8 3.5 banner.

2015 vice-champion Matthieu Vaxiviere announced in December that he would be returning to the series in 2016, but a number of other drivers have now also confirmed their entry.

Rising Brazilian star Pietro Fittipaldi will make the jump up to Formula V8 3.5 for 2016 after spending last season in the FIA European Formula 3 series.

Fittipaldi is the grandson of two-time Formula 1 world champion Emerson Fittipaldi, and will race for defending teams’ champion Fortec.

“I am very pleased to continue working with Fortec in this new chapter of my career,” Fittipaldi said. “The championship will be very competitive, so I know that it’s going to be a big challenge.

“I am confident that we will have a strong package, but we will have to work hard in order to run at the front right from the beginning.”

Spanish team Pons Racing also confirmed its line-up for the coming season earlier this week, signing Dutch racer Beitske Visser for a third year in Formula Renault 3.5.

Visser will be joined at Pons by Aleksander Bosak, who spent 2015 racing in GP3 with Arden.

Finally, Japan’s Yu Kanamaru will return to the 3.5-litre series in 2016 with Teo Martin Motorsport after taking part in six races last year with Pons, scoring a best finish of sixth at Le Mans.

The 2016 Formula V8 3.5 season is due to kick off on April 16 at Motorland Aragon in Spain.