Nelson Piquet Jr to make shock F3 return at Pau with Carlin

Reigning Formula E champion Nelson Piquet Jr is to make a shock return to Formula 3 in this weekend's Pau Grand Prix - and may even race at Macau

Nelson Piquet Jr to make shock F3 return at Pau with Carlin

Piquet, 30, will drive the fourth Carlin Dallara-Volkswagen vacated after the European championship's Paul Ricard opener by Raoul Hyman, who is waiting for sponsorship to materialise from his native South Africa.

It will be Piquet's first F3 race since he won the British title in 2004, when he was driving for the family Piquet Sports team.

But the ex-Formula 1 driver has already raced for Carlin, claiming pole position on a one-off outing in Indy Lights last season at Toronto when he subbed for Max Chilton, who was competing in the Le Mans 24 Hours.

Piquet, who will be competing against his younger brother, European F3 rookie Pedro, said: "I'm really excited to get back behind the wheel of an F3 car, which holds so many great memories for me.

"I had a great time working with Carlin in the Indy Lights car in Toronto last year, and I'm happy to help the team again this weekend in Pau.

"Any experience gained on street circuits is beneficial for my Formula E campaign and I relish the challenge of adapting to another category this season."

Team boss Trevor Carlin added: "Nelson is a real racer. He's unafraid of competition at any level and is reminiscent of the era of drivers like Jim Clark who would take part in races from various categories, just for the love of racing.

"Nelson really impressed the team last season when he jumped into an unfamiliar Indy Lights car and put the car on pole on a track he had never visited before.

"His championship-winning credentials in Formula E perfectly reflect his talent on street circuits.

"We believe he will be a great asset to the team and our young drivers this weekend and we look forward to working with him in Pau and hopefully again in Macau later this year."

Piquet will be perfectly eligible for championship points. The car is registered for the series and the only maximum-experience criterion is that a driver cannot have contested more than three seasons in the F3 European Championship.

Carlin presently has no driver lined up for the car for the remaining F3 rounds, although Hyman is planning to return for the Spa round in late July.

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