Nine teams will field a total of 24 drivers in the 2023 GB3 season as the series enters one of its most competitive years to date. With all of the UK’s most prestigious circuits awaiting – as well as a new venue overseas – the GB3 Championship is quickly becoming a must-see. Here’s everything you need to know about the upcoming season.
By George Brabner
After a nearly season-long battle between Luke Browning and Joel Granfors kept fans entertained in 2022, GB3 is levelling up even further in 2023. The grid is a concoction of experienced drivers that return to the series with their eyes set firmly on the title, while a pack of rookies look to bolster the competition. Early signs foretell a competitive grid, after a packed month of official testing in March gave an indication of what’s to come.
In addition to the spectacular entry list that GB3 boasts, the calendar has also received an upgrade. With the home of F1’s Dutch Grand Prix, Zandvoort, joining Spa Francorchamps on the schedule for 2023, there will now be two races in mainland Europe, alongside visits to many of the series’ regular British venues.
Calendar and format
Despite visiting a new venue in 2023, GB3 will remain a 24-race, 8-round season as it has been since its inception. The calendar was fleshed out by two visits to Silverstone Circuit as well as a second round at Donington Park 12 months ago, but the presence of Zandvoort now means that only Silverstone will host dual rounds – the second of which GB3 will headline alongside its feeder series, GB4.
On the whole, GB3 will continue to follow the British GT calendar, co-headlining with the GT3 and GT4 series at five of the eight rounds and splitting off for visits to Spa at the beginning of June, Silverstone in July, and Zandvoort in October. Here’s the full 2023 calendar:
Round 1 – Oulton Park International (8–10 April)
Round 2 – Silverstone GP (6–7 May)
Round 3 – Spa-Francorchamps (3–4 June)
Round 4 – Snetterton 300 (17–18 June)
Round 5 – Silverstone GP (29–30 July)
Round 6 – Brands Hatch GP (9–10 September)
Round 7 – Zandvoort GP (14–15 October)
Round 8 – Donington Park GP (21–22 October)
Each race weekend will consist of a single 20-minute qualifying session as well as three races – the last of which will have its grid set by a full pack reversal based on the fastest qualifying laps. Qualifying itself will therefore set the grid for Races 1 and 2, with a driver’s fastest lap counting for Race 1 and their second-fastest time counting for Race 2.
Races 1 and 2 will be 20 minutes in length and award drivers 35 points for victory down to one point for 20th. Reverse-grid Race 3, on the other hand, will be 25 minutes long, awarding 20 points for a win down to one point for 15th, but every position gained by a driver will earn them an extra point.
Despite talk of upcoming revisions to the Tatuus MSV-022 chassis – which were revealed to Feeder Series during an interview with Tatuus CEO Gianfranco De Bellis – the car used in GB3 remains largely unchanged for the 2023 season, receiving only minor adjustments.
Last year saw the MSV–specific package enjoy an increase in both horsepower and downforce whilst still keeping the chassis’ signature low weight – a successful overhaul which led to faster lap times across the calendar and praise from drivers up and down the grid.
Despite a handful of re-brands, the same nine teams will fight for glory in GB3 in 2023 as in 2022. Hitech GP, who carried Luke Browning to the drivers’ championship last year, are the ones everyone wants to beat – the British squad pipped Carlin to the top spot by just nine points last season.
Despite making their GB3 debut in 2021, Arden are not a new name to European single-seaters. They will continue to field multiple cars in the GB3 Championship in 2023, although this time around, they will be in a deeper partnership with American racing team Velocity Racing Development.
The two names came together during the 2022 season but will strengthen their ties for their first full season as one team in GB3 – a relationship which will allow drivers from the outfits’ respective programmes in Europe and the USA to cross paths.
Canadian Nico Christodoulou will return to Arden VRD after joining the team following the initial deal between the two outfits last year. Noah Ping, meanwhile, will cross the pond to make his GB3 debut with the team after racing to third in F4 US with VRD in 2022.
They’ll be joined by late addition James Hedley, who appears in the series for a third consecutive year after showing good pace with the outfit in the latter stages of winter testing.
Chris Dittmann Racing
Chris Dittmann Racing will field two drivers in 2023: Frenchman Arthur Rogeon and Briton Zak Taylor. Interestingly enough, Rogeon will be embarking on the first of two years in GB3 with CDR, having signed a two-year deal with the team as he steps into car racing for the first time. With an extensive winter testing programme under his belt, he’ll be looking to lay the groundwork for further success as his single-seater career progresses.
Zak Taylor will join Rogeon to complete Chris Dittmann Racing’s pair of drivers in 2023. The 20-year-old made his GB3 debut last season, starting out with Fortec Motorsport before shifting to Chris Dittmann Racing – the outfit he now calls his full-time home – for the final two rounds. A year of racing in British F4 in 2021 saw him take five podiums and one victory before he picked up one third-place finish at Spa in GB3 last year.
After finishing fifth in the teams’ championship last year in their 10th season in the series, previously known as BRDC F4 and British F3, Douglas Motorsport look to work their way back up the order in 2023.
Tymek Kucharczyk joins GB3 with Douglas following a successful season in Spanish F4 that saw him take third place in the championship behind only Hugh Barter and Nikola Tsolov – both of whom have since graduated to FIA Formula 3. The talented young Pole took 11 podiums as well as one victory in his maiden season outside of karts, and with strong pace throughout pre-season testing, he is likely to be challenging at the sharp end of the field.
Lucas Staico and Shawn Rashid will complete Douglas Motorsport’s 2023 trio. This season will mark Staico’s second campaign in single-seaters after his debut season in Brazilian F4 last year, a series in which he finished runner-up to champion Pedro Clerot, whilst Rashid joins the GB3 field after a season racing Formula Ford cars last year – a similar journey to that of Fortec driver Max Esterson.
Elite Motorsport joined GB3 for the 2021 season, rising up the teams’ table from fifth to third by the end of 2022. But can that trend continue?
They have signed three drivers for the 2023 season. McKenzy Cresswell has jumped into the Norfolk-based squad from Chris Dittmann Racing, with whom he finished eleventh last year. Cresswell has impressed in single-seaters since his debut in 2021, when he took third in British F4 and finished just 26 points behind champion Matthew Rees, who is a likely rival for him once again in 2023. Entering his second season in GB3, Cresswell will be aiming high this year.
Meanwhile, Ayato Iwasaki will be making his full-time GB3 debut with Elite in 2023. The Japanese racer made a single-round appearance at the Donington Park finale last year – taking a best finish of sixth in Race 3 – and has since enjoyed a full winter of testing and a round in the Formula Regional Middle East Championship. Finally, rounding out Elite Motorsport’s line-up is Oliver Stewart, who raced in British F4 last year with Hitech GP, finishing 10th overall as the third-best rookie.
Fielding returning GB3 race winner Max Esterson, South African GB4 runner-up Jarrod Waberski, and former British F4 driver Ed Pearson, Fortec Motorsport have an interesting line-up for the 2023 season.
Esterson – who moves from Douglas Motorsport to Fortec – is another second-year driver looking for glory on his return to the GB3 Championship. The American scored two podiums and one race victory last year in his first season outside of Formula Ford but was left desiring more from the last few rounds.
Alongside him will be Jarrod Waberski, who had a successful if uneven 2022 GB4 campaign with Kevin Mills Racing. He has momentum on his side following success in the category last year and has shown to have definite potential thus far, marking him as a likely challenger to the upper midfield.
Finishing Fortec’s line-up will be Ed Pearson, one of Virtuosi’s 2022 British F4 challengers. He sits in a similar position to Stewart and finished 27 points behind his fellow Briton last year.
Hillspeed were a one-man band in 2022, with Canadian driver Nick Gilkes as their only entrant. However, in 2023, the British outfit are adding one more car to their operation by signing both Daniel Mavlyutov and Gerrard Xie.
Mavlyutov moves to Hillspeed from Hitech, with whom he raced in British F4 last year – a championship in which he would finish 15th of the 15 full-time entrants with a best finish of ninth. Since, he has kept close with Hitech GP as part of their academy, competing in four rounds of FRMEC with the squad, as well as receiving support from the outfit over the winter in preparation for 2023.
Hong Kong’s Gerrard Xie is in a similar scenario, also receiving aid from Hitech throughout the off-season. However, he will be making his European racing debut alongside Mavlyutov following a dominant campaign in Chinese F4 last year that saw him win the title four races early in a 14-race season.
Whilst supporting Hillspeed’s two 2023 drivers, reigning teams’ champions Hitech GP will enter three racers of their own.
Reigning British F4 champion Alex Dunne will likely spearhead the team’s title defence after proving himself as one of the stars of the UK racing scene in 2022. Eleven wins throughout the British F4 season as well as another three in the Italian F4 championship puts him in good stead for 2023.
Alongside Dunne will be Souta Arao and Michael Shin. Arao, whose position as part of the Red Bull Junior Team makes him the GB3 grid’s only Formula One–affiliated driver, moves up from French F4 after finishing third in the series in his first full-time single-seater campaign.
South Korean driver Michael Shin, meanwhile, joins Hitech after a full 2022 British F4 season as well as an assault on the Formula Regional Middle Eastern Championship with Prema Racing early this year, in which he claimed a podium. His greater experience in the Tatuus F3-T318 car used in several Formula Regional championships may well be beneficial to his progress early in the GB3 season.
Despite a long history in British single-seater championships, JHR Development had a tough 2022 in GB3 as they finished seventh in the teams’ standings. However, they only signed one full-time driver for 2022 in Matthew Rees, who will now return to the team for a second season in GB3.
Rees finished sixth in the drivers’ standings last year and took his first of two podiums at the opening race of the year, going on to claim his first victory in the season’s penultimate event at Brands Hatch. Already fast in the official pre-season tests, topping the timing sheet on one of the Oulton Park testing days in mid-March, JHR’s Rees will have high hopes for his sophomore GB3 season.
Joining Rees at JHR Developments will be Joseph Loake, who climbs JHR’s single-seater ladder following back-to-back seasons in British F4. He showed especially great progress in his second year, finishing with two wins and a podium in the final four races.
Completing JHR’s 2023 trifecta is David Morales, who leaves Arden, the team with whom he made his GB3 debut with last season. He will be hunting for better results after finishing 22nd last year, and he looks to build on his previously gained experience as well as the pace of those around him at his new team.
Formerly known as Carlin, Rodin Carlin takes on 2023 with three impressive young talents in the form of returning drivers Callum Voisin and John Bennett as well as full-time single-seater debutant Costa Toparis.
Voisin and Bennett enter the year sharing a similar goal: the championship, as both Brits will be in their second year of GB3 after finding success throughout 2022. Voisin finished fourth in the drivers’ standings last year with the most pole positions of anyone, picking up three victories and three more podiums along the way, making him a safe bet for success in 2023 as he chooses to stick with the Carlin operation.
Bennett, however, comes from Elite Motorsport, a team with whom he finished eighth last year. Moving to Rodin Carlin for the 2023 season, he looks to challenge Voisin and other second-year drivers at the top of the timing sheets.
Rounding out Rodin Carlin’s 2023 roster is Costa Toparis. Heavily aligned with Rodin Cars – who became a majority shareholder in Carlin for 2023 – the Aussie will be making a big step up from karts to GB3. With the right people around him, Toparis, who made a cameo appearance in F4 UAE’s Trophy Race in November, will be looking to start his full-time single-seater career on the front foot.
Editor’s note: This article was updated after publication to reflect that James Hedley was confirmed at Arden VRD on 6 April 2023.
Header image credit: GB3
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