Turkey’s Latest Formula 3 Driver: Cem Bölükbaşı
Earlier this month, the reigning champions of the F3 Asia Series, Blackarts Racing, announced two new drivers for their 2021 lineup. Formula 4 United Arab Emirates race-winner Lorenzo Fluxa signed with the team, alongside Formula 1 ESports star and maiden champion of the Formula Renault Esports Series, Cem Bölükbaşı. Bolukbasi and Fluxa will join recent F4 graduates Zdenek Chovanec and Rafael Villagomez to complete the four-car lineup that Blackarts plan to race this year.
Written By: Umut Yelbaşı, Edited By Joe Kirk
Bölükbaşı is the first Turkish Formula driver since Jason Tahincioğlu, who tested for the Jordan F1 team back in 2005. The young Turk completed a full season in the 2020 European GT4 Series with a shared car under Borusan Otomotiv Motorsport, where he finished second in the Pro-Am class standings with a single podium. His F3 signing is the second time we’ll see the 22 year old in a Formula car, appearing briefly for two races in the Formula Renault Eurocup last year, which saw him finish only one race in P16. His second race unfortunately coming to an early end after a problem with his car.
The first F3 Asia Series weekend is over at the Dubai Autodrome, and Bölükbaşı has been left sitting comfortably in 8th place in the standings of the 23 driver championship after managing P7, P9, and P8 in the first three races. The closest of his teammates is Chovanec in P12, followed by Fluxa in P13 and Villagomez in P16, meaning he’s been a valuable driver for Blackarts, scoring 12 out of the team’s 14 points – good enough for P6 in the Constructors Championship.
Needless to say, his unexpected promotion to F3 has been well received by the Turkish public. Serhan Acar, a Turkish motorsport commentator tweeting after the first race, “It’s a great start, but hopefully the best is yet to come”. Likewise, the Turkish Autosports Federation have also shown their support on Twitter, congratulating Cem on his three consecutive points finishes.
The next rounds of the Formula 3 Asia Series will be held on the 4th and 5th of February at the Yas Marina Circuit, Abu Dhabi.