For the first time this season, the GB3 and GB4 calendars will diverge for Round 3. GB3 will head to Spa-Francorchamps for its first fly-away event in mainland Europe on 2 June, whilst GB4 continues to follow the British GT calendar as it heads to Donington Park for an extended weekend of racing on 27 May. Feeder Series analyses what’s to come from Round 3 of the GB3 and GB4 seasons with commentator Lewis McGlade.
By George Brabner
What united GB3 and GB4 after Round 2 at Silverstone was that the championship leaders not only remained at the top – but pulled away.
In GB4, KMR Sport’s Tom Mills dominated Race 2 and made his way onto the podium in Race 3 to grow his lead over Liam McNeilly; in GB3, JHR Developments’ rookie Joseph Loake extended his buffer to Rodin Carlin’s Callum Voisin with two inherited victories from John Bennett.
Now, GB4 heads to Donington Park. The 3.1-kilometre venue shares some similarities with Silverstone in the high-speed nature of corners found in Sector 1 – such as the blast through the Craner Curves – but it quickly becomes technical on the Grand Prix layout that will be used this weekend.
Meanwhile, in just over one week’s time, it will be GB3’s turn to head to the Ardennes and the iconic Spa-Francorchamps circuit, one of the most difficult tracks on the calendar. Its high-speed nature and the resultant power of the slipstream will provide a unique style of racing driven by the balance between straight line and cornering performance.
Who can bounce back and challenge Mills?
Mills’ pair of podium finishes and sixth-place result at Oulton Park put him on the front foot heading to Silverstone – momentum he would capitalise on throughout Round 2 in GB4.
A double podium in the shortened week puts him further from McNeilly in the standings as the Fox Motorsport driver, Evans GP’s Cooper Webster and teammate Jeremy Fairbairn had varying success throughout the Silverstone round.
On the grid for Round 3 despite the threat of budget restraints, second-year driver Mills looks good as the competition behind him looms – a thought that’s echoed by GB3 and GB4 commentator Lewis McGlade.
“Right now, Tom Mills is easily the man to beat, especially being a proven race winner at Donington Park last year, and having 2 wins so far this season,” McGlade told Feeder Series.
Mills was also present at Donington Park’s official pre-season test and would set the fastest time of the day.
“That said, I think McNeilly and Fairbairn had distinctly average rounds at Silverstone – coming to Donington Park can be a bit of a reset for them.
“They will need to respond fast though as if they aren’t careful, the gap at the top of the standings will balloon out of control,” McGlade said.
Importantly, GB4 will return to Donington Park for the season finale later in the year, plus, this weekend will consist of four races rather than three. Getting up to speed at the track will therefore be of particular importance.
Race 1 at Silverstone was cancelled due to poor weather conditions and has since been rescheduled to this race weekend at Donington Park, with the grid set out exactly as it was three weeks ago. McNeilly’s Silverstone hurt will carry over as he will start fifth, with Mills set to start from pole position ahead of Colin Queen and Webster.
Who will be strongest at Spa?
Spa Francorchamps is a uniquely challenging circuit where confidence and experience can lead to a huge advantage. As the GB3 season continues to develop, the dynamic between teams and drivers is sure to change.
This was exhibited at Silverstone with the rise of the rookies, Alex Dunne and Tymek Kucharczyk. In parallel to this, second-year drivers John Bennett and McKenzy Cresswell bounced back as James Hedley and Max Esterson struggled.
More is expected to come from different drivers in both cohorts. How they stack up against each other in the coming races at the second consecutive Grand Prix circuit will be crucial.
“Spa is always an interesting one. Last year Hitech went really strong there with all 3 cars so I suspect the same here. They do really need to go strong – if Dunne is going to fight for the championship, this is a make-or-break weekend,” McGlade explained.
Dunne’s pace was clear at Silverstone, even if he couldn’t convert it into his first podium – or win – in the GB3 Championship. Souta Arao also needs a strong round: the Japanese driver is currently an unrepresentative 23rd in the standings after two DNFs at Silverstone caused by collisions and a DNS due to the damage sustained from a triple barrel roll in Race 2.
Looking ahead to the third round of the GB3 Championship, McGlade said, “I think this will be a big round for Rodin Carlin. Coming on strong at Silverstone, Bennett will be good and Voisin did win Race 3 at Spa last year on the road before being reverted to Tommy Smith.
“Shoutout to Kucharczyk as well, massive comeback drives at Silverstone after starting from the back, he will be very hungry,” he added.
Header photo credit: Jakob Ebrey
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