The world-famous Spa-Francorchamps will host the penultimate meeting of the 2017 Formula Renault Northern European Cup (NEC) season this coming weekend [23-24 September].

The championship – commonly recognised as an important stepping stone for aspiring Formula 1 and professional drivers – is set to enjoy three action-packed races on the 4.3-mile circuit, home of the Belgian Grand Prix.

The circuit – renowned for it’s steep change in gradient, diverse range of corners and overtaking opportunities under heavy braking – is set to be the perfect test for the field, running near-identical Renault-engined chassis manufactured by Tatuus.

The challenge is made even sterner by the opposition, with the NEC field set to participate on circuit alongside the Formula Renault Eurocup runners, including double Nurburgring winner Sacha Fenestraz, and the new NEC points leader Gabriel Aubry.

The Tech1 racer seized the advantage after a frustrating weekend for R-ace GP’s Gilles Magnus, taking a podium in the final race to establish a one-point lead at the top of the standings.

With Aubry ineligible to score NEC points this weekend due to his participation in the Eurocup, Magnus has the perfect opportunity to strike back and secure the upper hand heading to the series finale at Hockenheim in October.

He will first have to fend off the challenge from teammate Michael Benyahia (R-ace GP), whose consistency has put him on the fringes of the title fight.

BM Racing’s Bartek Mirecki is another likely to fight for race victories in the Ardennes Forest, as will French F4 winner Charles Milesi – who would have left Nurburgring with two strong points finishes were it not for a technical infringement after the opening race.

Théo Coicaud (R-ace GP) will also be looking to continue his consistent points scoring form and still remains in mathematical contention for the championship crown – a strong weekend would certainly go a long way to improving his chances.

Fans can watch all three races live via the official Renault Sport YouTube page, with in-race updates also available through the NEC’s Twitter account (@FRNEC).

Live timing is also available, along with behind-the-scenes content on Facebook and Instagram.

With only five races remaining before the season closes at Hockenheim in October, this weekend is certainly set to thin down the number of contenders for this year’s championship crown.

Jurgen Evers, Series Manager says: “This can be the most important event of the championship for our drivers. With 3 races, separate standings and 90 points up for grabs this weekend it will be decisive for the titelhunt I am sure. And Spa being Spa means that not only the track and the fellow competitors, but also the weather can play an important part in the weekend. It will also be a test to see which driver can adapt quickly. As we run as part of the Eurocup, we also follow their qualifying and race formats, these are somewhat different from what our drivers are used to. So, all in all I am looking forward to an exciting weekend in the south of Belgium.”