"2018 Formula Challenge Season" table of contents
The 2018 Formula Challenge season was the 7th GPVWC Formula Challenge season. After deciding not to apply for a promotion into Supercup, STAX Racing entered the series with an All-English lineup consisting of Adrian Campfield and Chris Shepherd.
The GPVWC Formula Challenge is an established series at the league which features two short races. The qualifying session which precedes these races is a conventional 15-minute qualifying session. The series is aimed towards developing drivers and teams into potential Supercup candidates, with the cars being slower and not featuring as many setup options as their more complex siblings. 2018 saw the introduction of a modular car for all three Career Ladder series in the GPVWC. The Formula Challenge car is called GPVWC FC-018 and is powered by a 3.5L V6 engine. Drag Reduction System (DRS) was introduced to Formula Challenge for the first time in 2018.
Englishman Chris Butcher won the the Drivers’ Championship while his team, Red Arrow Racing, run by former Superleague champion David Fidock, wrapped up the Teams’ Championship.
Butcher won by 23 points from fellow countryman Chris Shepherd, who actually scored more wins than Butcher; nine to Butcher’s seven. Though over 150 points behind, third in the championship was Butcher’s Swiss teammate David Jundt; together, they secured a dominant win for Red Arrow Racing in the team’s championship; 246 points ahead of Shepherd’s STAX Racing in second place. STAX were 95 points ahead of third-placed Cenobite Motorsports, the latter competing in their first season in the Career Ladder. Despite missing out on the title, STAX was given the best livery award, which was a double honour for owner Christian Zoerner, as he was the one who painted the cars, and many others beside.
2018 was to mark the end of an era that had run since 2013, in which Formula Challenge acted as the third-tier of the Career Ladder while following the rest of the Career Ladder’s calendar explicitly. While the latter was still somewhat true, from 2019 Formula Challenge was instead run in the week before the main Career Ladder events, and furthermore essentially became the fourth-tier, with the creation of the tentatively-called “Superleague-2” championship. The new championship created a tremendous shift in the Career Ladder makeup and most Formula Challenge teams from 2018 were promoted either to Supercup, or especially the new championship, for 2019. Only three teams from the end of the 2018 season stayed on for 2019, including the quasi-institutional GPVWC Academy team.