British Formula 3

GB3: The 2023 Championship begins at Oulton Park

Featured Image Credit: @JakobEbrey

The GB3 Championship is back for 2023, starting over Easter Weekend at Oulton Park.

If you are new to the series, here is a quick rundown of how the weekend works:

The race weekend consists of one qualifying session and three races. Within this qualifying session, the driver’s fastest times set the grid for the first race of the weekend. The grid for the second race is set by the driver’s second-fastest times in the qualifying. As no driver is knocked out in qualifying, everyone has the opportunity to set two fastest laps.

The third and final race of the weekend is a reverse grid race from the first race grid, essentially those at the front of the grid are now at the back of the grid. For the 2023 season, it has been agreed with teams that the final race will now be 25 minutes long allowing drivers to progress easier throughout the field and have a better opportunity to score points.

Each race awards drivers in the top 10 points which contributes to their overall championship standings.

Qualifying results:

Race 1:
1. Joseph Loake, JHR Developments, 1m27.958s
2. Matthew Rees, JHR Developments, +0.180
3. Callum Voisin, Rodin Carlin, +0.190
4. Souta Arao, Hitech Pulse-Eight, +0.244
5. James Hedley, Arden VRD, +0.405
6. Tymek Kucharczyk, Douglas Motorsport, +0.427
7. Alex Dunne, Hitech Pulse-Eight, +0.504
8. Max Esterson, Fortec Motorsport, +0.542
9. Arthur Rogeon, Chris Dittmann Racing, +0.543
10. David Morales, JHR Developments, +0.592
11. Jarrod Waberski, Fortec Motorsports, +0.646
12. Costa Toparis, Rodin Carlin, +0.677
13. Michael Shin, Hitech Pulse-Eight, +0.704
14. Nico Christodoulou, Arden VRD, +0.721
15. Gerrard Xie, Hillspeed, +0.734
16. Lucas Staico, Douglas Motorsport, +0.787
17. John Bennett, Rodin Carlin, +0.892
18. Ayato Iwasaki, Elite Motorsport, +0.901
19. Oliver Stewart, Elite Motorsport, +0.906
20. McKenzy Cresswell, Elite Motorsport, +0.924
21. Zak Taylor, Chris Dittmann Racing, +0.972
22. Noah Ping, Arden VRD, +1.014
23. Edward Pearson, Fortec Motorsport, +1.101
24. Shawn Rashid, Douglas Motorsport, +1.723
25. Daniel Mavlyutov, Hillspeed, +2.078

Race 2:
1. Joseph Loake, JHR Developments, 1m28.027s
2. Callum Voisin, Rodin Carlin, +0.230
3. Souta Arao, Hitech Pulse-Eight, +0.311
4. James Hedley, Arden VRD, +0.403
5. Matthew Rees, JHR Developments, +0.432
6. Max Esterson, Fortec Motorsport, +0.540
7. Jarrod Waberski, Fortec Motorsport, +0.590
8. Costa Toparis, Rodin Carlin, +0.631
9. Tymek Kucharczyk, Douglas Motorsport, +0.635
10. Alex Dunne, Hitech Pulse-Eight, +0.645
11. Arthur Rogeon, Chris Dittmann Racing, +0.727
12. Gerrard Xie, Hillspeed, +0.730
13. Nico Christodoulou, Arden VRD, +0.763
14. Michael Shin, Hitech Pulse-Eight, +0.768
15. David Morales, JHR Developments, +0.830
16. Ayato Iwasaki, Elite Motorsport, +0.841
17. John Bennett, Rodin Carlin, +0.852
18. Lucas Staico, Douglas Motorsport, +0.908
19. McKenzy Cresswell, Elite Motorsport, +0.918
20. Oliver Stewart, Elite Motorsport, +0.953
21. Noah Ping, Arden VRD, +1.003
22. Zak Taylor, Chris Dittmann Racing, +1.214
23. Edward Pearson, Fortec Motorsport, +1.352
24. Shawn Rashid, Douglas Motorsport, +1.688
25. Daniel Mavlyutov, Hillspeed, +2.034

Rundown of Race 1 at Oulton Park:

The first race of the season took place on a sunny Good Friday afternoon at Oulton Park. JHR Developments had two of their British drivers Joseph Loake and Matthew Rees starting at the front of the grid with Rodin Carlin’s returning GB3 driver Callum Voisin in P3 and Hitechs Souta Arao in P4.

As the red lights went out for the first race of the 2023 season Loarke kept his lead with Hedley passing Arao for P4 but couldn’t make it stick for the rest of the lap.

Loarke continued to extend his lead and by lap 7, the Brit had created a 1.238s margin between himself and Rees behind. Lap 9 saw Arao spin over the Britain Chicane, bringing out the Saftey Car for the first time this season. Following normal race procedures, the cars are taken to the side of the track. However, you may have seen a clip going around on social media where one of the cars rolled back onto the track. No cars were damaged and all drivers managed to avoid a collision.

The drivers didn’t have too long before the racing was disturbed again with Cresswell, Xie and Toparis coming together at Lodge, finishing a dramatic first race of the season at Oulton Park.

Image credit: @JakobEbrey

Rundown of Race 2 at Oulton Park:

On a rainy Easter Monday, the GB3 grid came back together for the second race of the weekend at Oulton Park. With the rain pelting down, it was not in Gerrard Xie of Hillspeed’s favour as his race was finished before it could start, after crashing coming out of the pitlane. 13 cars then decided to pit after the formation lap to change to wet weather tyres with the rest lining up on their grid spots. This decision to stay out on the grid was in those drivers’ favour as a delayed start was announced, allowing teams to change their tyres on the grid.

With the track being given the go-ahead and lots of spray everywhere, Loarke headed the grid as the lights went out but he only raced a short while before Headley was in his mirrors applying pressure from behind.

Headley took the lead of the pack at Lodge, instantly creating a 0.411s gap over Loarke. Returning driver to the GB3 championship, Matthew Rees was next to try and pass Loarke. However, this battle ended with Rees going off at Cascades, consequently dropping down the order significantly. Rashid was the next driver to end his race prematurely after crashing into the barriers at Lodge.

As the checkered flag was waved, James Headley took his first GB3 Championship win with Voisin in P2 and Loarke settling for P3.

Image credit: @JakobEbrey

Rundown of Race 3 at Oulton Park:

For the final race of the weekend, the sun decided to make an appearance for a short while at Oulton Park. But that didn’t mean the race would be any easier on the drivers.

As soon as the lights went out the grid entered into chaos. There was a collision between Cresswell and Staico, and Voisin spun out at Old Hall along with the Rodin Carlin of Bennett. Taylor and Rashid also made contact at turn 1 taking a total of 6 cars out of the race.

With the British weather turning again, the rain started with the safety car still out on track and a few drivers chose to make the change for wet weather tyres. However, by the time the track went green, the rain had stopped meaning a huge disadvantage for those who had dropped positions to change tyres. Mavlyutov had a great start leading the race before it was interrupted again with Rashid, Esterson and Rogeon going off at Island Bend, bringing the safety car back out.

With 10 minutes remaining the Sun decided to make yet another appearance only for the race to finish under the safety car. It was a first win for Mavlyutov with Iwasaki and Pearson joining him on the podium.

Image credit: @JakobEbrey

What a cracking start to the GB3 championship, to take a look back at the 2022 season click here.

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