A silver car on a racetrack with an old bridge behind

Dunne: ‘We definitely had the pace to win’ at Silverstone GB3 round

After securing the British F4 title in dominant fashion last season, Alex Dunne moved up the UK single-seater ladder to the GB3 Championship and has scored well thus far in 2023 to sit sixth in the standings. At Oulton Park, he took sixth, 13th, and 10th in the three races, but at Silverstone he turned up the pace. Feeder Series spoke to the Hitech Pulse-Eight driver following Race 3 of the GB3 weekend.

By George Brabner

In a messy wet-weather qualifying session that saw multiple drivers fall foul of traffic on their fastest runs and a mid-session red flag, Dunne put together two strong lap times to secure two second-place starts for Races 1 and 2. Comparatively, he qualified seventh and tenth in Round 1.

He finished fourth in Race 1 but did not see the chequered flag in Race 2. In Race 3, however, he gained twelve places to jump from 18th on the grid to sixth, marking a strong weekend as he finds his stride in GB3 even if there was potential for more.

“It was a tough one,” Dunne told Feeder Series. “I think the pace has been really strong after having a good qualifying and a pretty good Race 1. Definitely in the dry, we had really really strong pace – in the wet too, but in the dry, it was a little bit stronger.”

On the pace at Silverstone

On a drenched circuit, Dunne slipped back to fourth in Race 1, pipped by Rodin Carlin’s John Bennett and the two fast-starting JHR Developments drivers Joseph Loake and Matthew Rees. The pace was on his side as the race continued, but a more tentative start meant he couldn’t pass Rees.

“To be honest, I felt like I was probably the quickest on track in Race 1. It was difficult being in the dirty air of three cars in front,” he said. “I think I made a slight mistake at the start. I struggled a little bit with the start in the rain so [I] got a little bit of wheelspin, and from then on in, I was just stuck in fourth [position]. 

“The one lap I did in clean air, I set the fastest lap. I think it was taken away at the end, but the one lap I got in clean air was fast, so the pace has been really strong in all conditions,” Dunne said. “It’s just kind of a shame how the weekend formed out.”

Making up for a missed opportunity

Dunne showed his newly unlocked speed in Race 2 as he fought with Bennett following a good start – a fight for the virtual first position because of Rees’ time penalty for jumping the start. However, contact at Brooklands sent Dunne into a spin and stall, an incident that earned Bennett a penalty as he was deemed to have slid into the side of the Hitech car. 

The reverse-grid format of Race 3 meant Dunne then started the final race of the weekend from 18th, but he climbed all the way to sixth to bag 22 points – 12 of which he earned for his overtakes. The young Irishman clinically handled the 25-minute contest, which was anything but straightforward.

Driver in white race suit with headphones on jumping rope with cars and trailers
Dunne jumped up 12 positions in Race 3 from 18th to sixth | Credit: Jakob Ebrey

“In Race 2, we definitely had the pace to win. The car was feeling really good, but I had the incident in Brooklands which ended my race. I think being able to capitalise on the reversed grid [in Race 3] and get some good points and show the pace we had in the dry was a good feeling,” Dunne explained.

“The main goal is to make up as many places as possible, but also, to do so, you have to keep your nose clean, stay calm and make good moves. There was a couple of moments where some drivers were a little bit more aggressive than I wanted them to be, so I had a couple of close moments, but once I chilled out and relaxed, I just tried to pick everybody off one by one and try to do it as cleanly as possible,” he continued.

“In the end, we knew that the pace was strong enough to pick everybody off one by one.”

Getting comfortable in GB3

Oulton Park, Dunne’s first competitive outing in the Tatuus MSV-022, wasn’t entirely smooth sailing, but the pace he exhibited at Silverstone already is encouraging for the following rounds.

“Now that I’ve settled in a little bit more, I’m feeling more comfortable with the car, and the team are doing a really good job as well, so I don’t see why we can’t carry this pace on for the rest of the season,” Dunne explained.

“Every time we’ve been in the car, the pace has been strong. We just haven’t really got the perfect opportunity to either show that or maximise on it.”

Dunne found a huge amount of success in British F4 last year as he took 11 race victories on his way to the title with Hitech GP, the team with which he is still racing in 2023. Whilst what he learned in British F4 hasn’t all carried over to GB3, the consistency behind the scenes from sticking with the British outfit has certainly played to his advantage.

“A lot of the stuff I learned in F4 I almost had to re-learn when I got into GB3, but staying with Hitech and being in a similar environment, that was a big help. I feel very comfortable within the team and I love working with everybody in the team, and they believe in me and they’ve been really helpful with me,” Dunne said.

A lot of the stuff I learned in F4 I almost had to re-learn when I got into GB3, but staying with Hitech and being in a similar environment, that was a big help

Alex Dunne

“I’d say it took me a little bit longer than I would have liked or would have expected to get my head around the car, but I think once I did, it’s been really good, so I’m enjoying it.”

Header photo credit: Jakob Ebrey


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