British F3

SEASON PREVIEW: 2021 BRDC British Formula 3 Championship – Hitech GP

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Credit: Jakob Ebrey

Hitech GP enter their second BRDC British Formula 3 Championship season in 2021, having come within 51 points of taking Kush Maini to the Drivers’ title in their début campaign.

Having come close to the perfect start to their time in Britain’s leading single-seater series, they have completed their line-up ahead of 2021.

Hitech have proven pedigree in junior single-seaters across the Asian Formula 3, FIA Formula 3 and FIA Formula 2 Championships, and have kept one half of their 2020 line-up, while keeping another in the series.

The Checkered Flag explores what the Silverstone-based outfit can expect from their sophomore season in British F3.

Bart Horsten – #50 – AUS

Bart Horsten (above) joins Hitech from the outgoing Lanan Racing, who have been replaced for 2021 by Elite Motorsport.

While at Lanan, he took three podiums and 10th place in the 2020 standings, 44 points ahead of 2021 team-mate Reece Ushijima, 74 ahead of Lanan team-mate Piers Prior and 139 ahead of Josh Mason.

Horsten enjoyed a fruitful karting career in Australia, taking three podiums in Australian Formula Ford before moving to the UK and the F4 British Championship for 2019.

His British F4 campaign with Arden Motorsport yielded a win at Donington Park and another nine podiums, taking him to ninth in the overall standings.

For his, and the team’s, second season in British F3, he’s targeting yet more positive results.

“I’ve had a great time working with Hitech in every capacity. I feel super prepared thanks to everyone’s expertise as well as the constant pressure of my teammates,” he said during pre-season testing at Silverstone.

“Hitech’s results in the championship last year were the biggest thing that caught my attention considering the limited timeframe they had to prepare.

“Since then I’ve had the opportunity to experience their fantastic facilities and work with a lot of hugely knowledgeable and motivated people which has helped me improve a lot and is also a big part of why I chose to race with them in 2021.

“I’m not confident of anything apart from the fact that me and everyone at Hitech GP will be doing everything we can to get the best results possible this season.”

Sebastian Alvarez – #12 – MEX

Sebastian Alvarez leaves the pits at Silverstone while testing for Hitech GP.
Credit: Jakob Ebrey

Sebastian Alvarez is the Championship’s second Mexican driver for 2021, alongside José Garfias at Elite Motorsport.

He took two Rookie Class podiums and a pole position in his first season in British F4 with Double R Racing, staying with the team founded by Kimi Räikkönen to take second-place in the 2019 standings with five wins, 19 podiums, three poles and five fastest laps.

He expected to make the move up to British F3 for 2020, before COVID-19 put paid to his plans for the year. After testing with the team over winter, though, his move was announced in March.

Alvarez said: “I’m excited to make the step up into British F3 with Hitech.

“I cannot wait to get going after a year out.

“I am looking forward to getting to know everyone in the team and working together to achieve great results.

“Hitech is a team with great professionalism, so I am optimistic that I will be on track for a great season from the offset.”

Reece Ushijima – #13 – JPN

Credit: Jakob Ebrey

April saw Hitech complete their 2021 line-up with Reece Ushijima returning to the team.

The Californian-born Japanese driver claimed a runner-up position in the Rookie Cup class while competing in Asian F3 over winter.

He brought a year of car racing experience into his maiden British F3 campaign, having débuted in a Formula Ford 1600 event at Anglesey in 2019 where he claimed a pole position, two podiums and a fastest lap.

He then competed in Asia’s MRF Challenge over the winter of 2019, taking two fastest laps at Dubai Autodrome and finishing seventh in the overall standings, before a move to British F3 beckoned for 2020.

Once at Hitech in British F3, Ushijima took two second-place finishes and regularly featured in the top ten.

“I’m thrilled to be back for another season of British F3 with Hitech GP,” he said.

“The team and I had a strong season last year where I personally learned a lot, and this year I’m ready to put all of that to practice.

“Super grateful for the opportunity and can’t wait to get the season started.”

The verdict

In signing two drivers with British F3 experience, Hitech have kept some stability in their line-up, which can be in short supply in the junior formulae as drivers usually push to reach the next level at the earliest possible opportunity.

Bart Horsten showed his pace for Lanan last season, comfortably outperforming his team-mates for most of the season, while Ushijima only outscored Maini on five occasions.

While Alvarez may have missed a year of racing in 2020, he was expected to move up to British F3 for last year owing to his stellar record in British F4 over 2018 and 2019.

Though he won’t know the car as well as Horsten and Ushijima yet, his pedigree and results at the lower level show he’s clearly got the ability to adapt quickly.

Running a three-car entry after last season’s two gives Hitech another opportunity to chase a maiden British F3 title, and all three drivers have proven their pace and ability to run at the front.

Might this be the year they add British F3 to their list of junior single-seater successes?

The 2021 BRDC British Formula 3 Championship begins at Brands Hatch GP on 22/23 May, supporting the Intelligent Money British GT Championship.

The Checkered Flag will be bringing you all the action from the season.

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Stickler for track limits, covering BRDC British F3 and the British GT Championship. Twitter: @FutbolCallander
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