Joshua Dufek will step up to the highest echelon of Formula 3 competition this season, having inked a deal to join PHM AIX Racing in the 2024 FIA F3 Championship.
The Austrian racer dipped his toe in the championship waters with Campos Racing in last year's season finale at Monza, but returns to German-based PHM AIX Racing having been a part of the team's line-up for the 2023 Formula Regional Middle East, taking a race victory on the road in Kuwait alongside two other podium finishes. The reunion follows a 2023 summer campaign that saw Dufek compete for silverware in both the Formula Regional European and EuroFormula Open series, taking a win and multiple podiums in the latter, before linking back up with PHM AIX Racing for the post-season FIA F3 test sessions.
"I'm thrilled to announce that I'll be teaming up with PHM once again for my full debut season in FIA F3," 19-year old Dufek confirmed. "It's an exciting opportunity and I can't wait to hit the track and show what I can do. The official tests at the end of last year really helped us in setting a solid baseline, and I hope to build on that to make this season together a memorable one."
PHM AIX Racing, renamed at the start of the year to reflect a new partnership with the AIX Investment Group, was founded by Paul Müller at the end of 2021, competed in three different Formula 4 Championships in its first full year and took its first victory in just its fourth ever race. Further success in Formula Regional in 2023 was only capped by expansion into FIA F2 and F3 and powering the first female driver to score points in the FIA F3 Championship. The team continues to run multiple entries in all four categories heading into 2024.
The FIA Formula 3 Championship was created ahead of the 2019 season, combining the former GP3 and European F3 series to form a defined entry point for young talent to race on the F1 support bill and provide the perfect training ground for the jump to F2 and, ultimately, F1 itself. Each weekend event features two races and partially-reversed grids, which puts the onus on drivers to manage every aspect of the 380hp Dallara-Mecachrome machine in order to maximise their point-scoring potential. More than 40 drivers have already made the jump from F3 to F2 since the series began, and signing with PHM AIX Racing will put Dufek — who remains a part of the Peak Performance Management (PPM) stable — on that same path.
“We’re delighted to announce that Josh will be stepping up to the FIA Formula 3 Championship for 2024,” PPM director Kevin Korjus commented. “His performances in EuroFormula Open and on debut in FIA F3 towards the end of last season were very encouraging, and he has already forged a great understanding with PHM AIX Racing after running with the team in the official post-season FIA F3 test sessions. This is a great opportunity for Josh, with a team that has a proven pedigree of success despite its short history, and we're looking forward to seeing what he can achieve on the biggest stage."
The 2024 FIA F3 Championship kicks off in Bahrain at the start of March and then follows the F1 World Championship to nine further global destinations, including round two on the streets of Albert Park in Melbourne, Australia.