2023 GB3 rookie Waberski: ‘I’m working as hard as possible’

After making his debut outside of South Africa in the inaugural round of the GB4 Championship one year ago, Jarrod Waberski finished the 2022 season with four wins and a further ten podiums to his name — only being beaten to the GB4 title by the dominant Nikolas Taylor. Following a sporadic yet successful first step into the British single-seater scene, Feeder Series spoke to Fortec Motorsport’s new GB3 recruit, Jarrod Waberski.

By George Brabner

After competing against Fortec Motorsport in GB4 last year, Waberski and the team are joining forces in 2023 as he completes the British outfit’s three-car GB3 squad alongside Max Esterson and Ed Pearson.

Even at this stage in the year where not a single lap has been turned in an official round, comfort and confidence in the team are both vital, and it’s something Waberski has had in Fortec since day one.

“Fortec have been amazing. I did a test with them at the end of last year and straight away, off that, we made up our mind that these were the guys we wanted to work with for this year. The way they work is really exceptional,” Waberski told Feeder Series.

The work on the track has already begun as extensive testing programmes carry both team and driver through the winter months.

“Testing has been going really good with them, working really really well with the team, and I think if we continue working at this rate and continue progressing together, we should have a really strong package for the year,” he said.

Settling in after an uncertain 2022

Despite an uncertain 2022, Waberski was able to deliver strong performances throughout his first season racing outside of South Africa in GB4 | Credit: GB4

2022 was not an easy year for Jarrod Waberski. Announced to be joining the Kevin Mills Racing team just days prior to lights out for the first time in GB4, Waberski had zero testing and zero experience around the circuits he would be competing on, yet he left Round 1 with a podium.

“We weren’t planning to come to England last year to compete. It started off as a once-off race in the beginning of the year that turned into me doing the whole championship, so you know, doing no pre-season testing, and then going straight in and to finish vice-champion was definitely a big highlight in my career, for sure,” Waberski explained.

The challenges of being based out of South Africa and competing in the UK on such short notice faced by Jarrod and his family made their situation unique.

“It’s a big challenge, but it’s something we have to do. Last year it was pretty much me and my dad on the road is how I explain it. You know, last year we were pretty much living out of a car. It’s quite a big adjustment — there’s a lot more that goes into it than just arriving and racing.”

Despite the personal sacrifices that were necessary for making his debut season in the UK possible, the experience gained from being thrown truly into the deep end has been invaluable as he makes the jump up to the GB3 Championship from its junior series.

“You know, we do the same tracks, we run the same weekends, we see how the racing is — you know the same format as well with the reverse grid races. So when it comes to this year where I’ve actually been able to do some pre-season testing, it will help when we go into the races,” he said.

Encouraging signs, measured hopes

The GB3 Championship is in one of the best places it has ever been in 2023 with a grid of over twenty drivers and an immense level of competition due to hit the track in April.

Testing has been solid for the South African thus far, setting the eighth-fastest time on both official pre-season test days at Oulton Park and completing over 100 laps through the course of the six sessions. He has also topped one of the three official days of testing at Silverstone too.

Based off testing we’ve shown that we’re quick, and we just need to put the package together

Jarrod Waberski

“Obviously, we take each round as it comes, but I’m working as hard as possible to go out there and deliver the results. Obviously it will be quite challenging as the competition is extremely high this year — there’s a lot of second-year drivers, there’s a lot of guys from other championships that have won championships that are in [GB3],” Waberski told Feeder Series.

“But I think based off testing we’ve shown that we’re quick, and we just need to put the package together, and I think just take it round by round and not worry about the results as much and just to go out there and maximise each session, each race, and I think that will put us in a good start.”

For Waberski, who is stepping up into the category for the first time after an unsettled first season in downforce-focussed single-seater cars last year, it’s important that he is in with a strong team and will be surrounded by drivers that will only aid his growth.

“Having the strong competition definitely helps push me as a driver and, you know, continuously improve. And especially like having Max [Esterson], who’s also a second-year driver, him joining the team, it’s a good way for me to learn because he’s had a year’s experience so can accelerate my learning straight away.”

Laying the groundwork for a successful season

Waberski will be aiming for a successful debut season in GB3 with Fortec Motorsport after moving up from GB4 | Credit: GB4

There will be five official GB3 pre-season tests in March, with teams such as Fortec also choosing to also engage in private testing separate from the championship. This track time and the data collected from it is crucial in aiding a driver reach the top of their game — and it is exactly what Waberski missed out on last year.

Whilst many of the circuits on the 2023 GB3 calendar are the same as those Waberski raced on last year in GB4 bar the new editions in mainland Europe, the Tatuus MSV-022 is wildly different to the old generation F4 car that he has become accustomed to in GB4.

“The car is insane, it’s such a nice car to drive. It’s a big jump from F4 with the downforce levels, it’s quite a different technique that you have to use driving the car, but I’m really loving it, it’s such an amazing car to drive.”

“The F4 car… you could get away with a lot more things in the F4 is the best way to explain it, where in this [GB3 car] you have to be ultra-smooth and the way your inputs as a driver affect the car drastically, so it’s been a lot of preparation in the sim and just making sure that I can drive the car as best as possible,” Waberski said.

“It’s pretty much tweaking the car to best suit me and when the car is best suited to me, the easier it is for me to extract the time out of the car.”

Header photo credit: Fortec Motorsport

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