The first-ever race weekend in the GB4 Championship is over and it was filled with action, drama and raised many questions which will hopefully be answered throughout the season. But wins at Snetterton for Nikolas Taylor, Alex Walker and Megan Gilkes showed that the series is wide open for anyone to win – exactly what the series wants to be.
By Richard Smyth
With this being the first-ever weekend of a championship, you would expect a few mistakes, but this wasn’t the case and the first event passed by with very minimal issues, at least from the public eye. It was professional both off and on track and the drivers were treated just like you would expect your favourite Formula 1 drivers, to the highest professional standard.
TV coverage brings in an audience of over 10k
MSV recently announced that both the GB3 and GB4 Championships would be having a production overhaul to help increase the popularity of the series.
Talksport’s Jon Jackson was given the job to front the coverage and engage the viewers, getting interviews with drivers with the live cameras running. Credit must go to the drivers as well for being so prepared for this as many will not have had media training and a live camera put right in front of them before.
Lewis McGlade, a voice you will be familiar with if you follow the Virtual Le Mans series, commentated over the race and was met with overwhelmingly positive reactions. What made this even more impressive was that this was the first time he has commentated on ‘real-life’ racing.
After his hectic weekend, Lewis said that “It’s tricky to get used to how things work coming from sim-racing and esports. Trying to work out how the cold windy conditions affect the cars has been difficult, but the teams and drivers have been really open and passing on information.”
Drivers on board with the affordable, professional experience
Max Marzorati, who raced in GB3 last season said, “The experience has been excellent so far. MSV has done an incredible job at setting up a championship that is for everyone. It doesn’t matter what budget you have or what age you are, it’s really a cost-effective single-seater championship.”
MSV has done an incredible job at setting up a championship that is for everyoneMax Marzorati (Hillspeed)
Race 2 winner Alex Walker said straight after stepping off the podium, “I think the championship has been run really well so far, you can tell from the live stream that it is all really professional.”
W Series race winner and Race 3 winner this weekend, Megan Gilkes said “I think it’s absolutely great for a series like GB4 that is trying to get drivers up the racing ladder, it gives us that exposure that we need to get partners and sponsors when budget becomes more of a challenge.”
Italy provides yet more fantastic cars
When we think of Italian cars, we instantly think of Ferrari, Lamborghini and Alfa Romeo just to name a few.
What about the Tatuus F4-T014? Well, this is what the GB4 Championship is using this season and they have proved to be a hit with the drivers.
Alex Walker couldn’t praise them more after he took his to victory, “The cars are really good but also pretty equal. Given how they came from Italy, and everyone has got an understanding of them so quickly, credit has to go to Tatuus on how well built and hopefully reliable they are.”
Given how they came from Italy, and everyone has got an understanding of them so quickly, credit has to go to Tatuus on how well built and hopefully reliable they areAlex Walker (Elite Motorsport)
British F4 would be the most comparable national competition to the GB4 Championship, but according to MSV Chief Executive and former Formula 1 driver Jonathan Palmer, the GB4 cars are just that little bit quicker.
“It is really a challenge to start a brand-new championship. It’s at the same performance level as the British F4 Championship, so in terms of pace the two are comparable. Interestingly, these (GB4) cars are actually two seconds quicker than the British F4 cars from last season and I don’t think the new (British F4) Gen2 cars will be much different in terms of performance.”
The first step in a world of possibility
The great thing about feeder series racing is that you get to watch some of the best drivers in the world develop their talents before moving into the crazy world of Formula 1, or another international racing series should they prove their worth.
For most of these drivers on the grid this weekend, it’s a real possibility to move up in the feeder series, while others are content with racing for primarily the enjoyment side of it. It is these young drivers who have shown potential to be future champions, that get fans excited.
It’s crazy to be a part of the early stages of their careers and it’s breathtaking to see the young talent come to fruitionLewis McGlade
Lewis McGlade: “It’s honestly mind-boggling because you don’t really think about it now, it’s only when you look back in a few years that you realise who was racing. It’s crazy to be a part of the early stages of their careers and it’s breathtaking to see the young talent come to fruition.”
Next up is Oulton Park and while this circuit isn’t the best in terms of overtaking, the GB4 drivers will have a better understanding of their cars and some might just be able to pull off a shock result.
The grid is expected to fill out as the season goes on, with Jonathan Palmer expecting around 15 to 16 drivers by the end of the season. There are a few teams that have announced their intentions to join but have yet to take part. If these teams take a look at how the weekend went, they might be impressed.
Header photo credit: Jakob Ebrey Photography
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