Japanese F3 champ Cassidy joins Piquet and Newey at test

Newly crowned Japanese Formula 3 champion Nick Cassidy is testing for Van Amersfoort Racing this week as this year's top three F3 European Championship teams begin preparation together for 2016

Japanese F3 champ Cassidy joins Piquet and Newey at test

VAR, Prema Powerteam and Carlin - which between them won 31 of the 33 races in 2015 - are fielding a total of 12 drivers at the Red Bull Ring on Thursday and Friday.

The presence of New Zealander Cassidy - who also contested two European F3 rounds with Prema Powerteam this season - with VAR suggests that he could be eyeing a return from Japan to Europe for 2016.

He is joined in VAR's line-up for the Red Bull Ring test by two-time Brazilian F3 champion Pedro Piquet, the son of Nelson who will race in Euro F3 next season, and BRDC Formula 4 runner-up Harrison Newey, the son of Red Bull technical wizard Adrian getting his second F3 runout.

Prema is giving a second F3 outing to its Italian F4 champion Ralf Aron, who was highly impressive on his maiden test, and a first audition to Chinese Ferrari protege Guan Yu Zhou, who finished runner-up to Estonian Aron this season.

Also in action for the Italian team are Euro F3 regulars Arjun Maini, who has raced for VAR this season, and Pietro Fittipaldi, who has spent 2015 with Fortec Motorsport.

Carlin continues with Red Bull junior Callum Ilott and Ryan Tveter, both of whom have raced for the team in 2015, at the test.

The British team will also run its MSA Formula champion Lando Norris, who has already accumulated F3 mileage with Carlin as well as Mucke Motorsport.

SMP F4 champion Niko Kari is another to test with Carlin - Autosport understands that the Finn has already run with Motopark and Double R Racing, and has a T-Sport test lined up.

Also in the Carlin line-up is French-Canadian Zach Claman DeMelo, who won a host of MSV F3 Cup races with the team this season.

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