Tom Dillmann wins Formula V8 3.5 title in Barcelona

© GP2 Series

Tom Dillmann has become the inaugural champion of the Formula V8 3.5 series after an unlikely fightback in the final race of the year on Sunday in Barcelona.

Formula V8 3.5 took over from the old Formula Renault 3.5 single-seater series after Renault withdrew its backing at the end of 2015.

Dillmann made his debut in 3.5 in 2015 after spending three years in GP2, finishing the year seventh in the standings.

For 2016, the Frenchman moved to AVF and kick-started his title bid with a string of six straight podium finishes to start the year, including a race win in Hungary.

Dillmann appeared on the rostrum just twice in the 10 races that followed, meaning he entered the final round of the year in Barcelona trailing Louis Deletraz by three points.

A second-place finish in Saturday’s race saw Deletraz extend his lead to six points before qualifying on pole for Sunday’s title decider; Dillmann could only muster seventh on the grid.

Dillmann made a good start to sit behind Deletraz on-track, the pole-sitter having dropped back, and managed to vault into the lead following the pit cycle. Deletraz could not follow suit, meaning he was left in P4 heading into the closing stages.

Despite coming under intense pressure from Roy Nissany in the closing stages of the race, Dillmann was able to cross the line and score just his second win of the year, but it was enough to take the title.

“What a thriller! We led most of the championship and the last round was pretty difficult for us,” Dillmann said. “The team did an awesome job to have a great AVF car back and we went back to normal this weekend. Everybody in the team believed we in our potential and here we are.

“The race was perfect. We had a great start, the car was really fast from the beginning to the end, we knew we need a perfect race and I’m really happy for the team who believed in me putting me in the car for this season.”

With this victory, Dillmann follows in the footsteps of notable 3.5 series champions including Carlos Sainz Jr., Kevin Magnussen and Mikhail Aleshin.

Ganassi announces multiyear sponsorship extension with American Legion for No. 10

Chip Ganassi American Legion
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Chip Ganassi Racing announced a new primary sponsorship deal with The American Legion this week, shoring up the funding on its No. 10 Dallara-Honda of Alex Palou.

The 2021 NTT IndyCar Series champion primarily had driven with NTT Data sponsorship the past two seasons. But NTT Data will move next season to McLaren Racing as a primary sponsor for Felix Rosenqvist in 10 races and on the Indy 500 car of Tony Kanaan (who drove an American Legion car for Ganassi at the Brickyard last year).

It was the latest twist in a McLaren-Ganassi saga that included a contract dispute for the services of Palou (who is expected to move to McLaren in 2024 after reaching an agreement to race with Ganassi next year).

Ganassi stayed within its own walls to help plug the sponsorship gap left by NTT Data, re-signing The American Legion to a multiyear extension. The Indianapolis-based non-profit organization, which has been sponsoring Ganassi cars for the past few seasons, also will be associated with other Ganassi drivers, including Indy 500 winner Marcus Ericsson and development driver Kyffin Simpson in Indy NXT.

The Ganassi organization will continue promoting The American Legion’s “Be The One” campaign aimed at reducing veteran suicides. The team launched an online auction for the initiative this week.

“Supporting our nation’s veterans is of immense importance to our organization and we are humbled to continue supporting The American Legion’s mission in ending veteran suicide,” team owner Chip Ganassi said in a release. “We will do absolutely everything we can to help veterans get the support they need while raising public awareness of the ‘Be The One’ platform.”

“We have received an overwhelming amount of support from fans, active-duty military members and veterans as a result of this partnership and we’re pleased to see it grow,” said Dean Kessel, chief marketing officer at The American Legion. “Thanks to the continuous collaboration with the team’s other partners, and the promotion of the ‘Be The One’ initiative, we are discovering more ways to engage with the military community than ever before. We want all veterans to know that it’s okay to ask for help.”