Fortec Motorsport had arguably their best weekend of the 2021 BRDC British Formula 3 Championship so far at Donington Park (10/11 July).
The team has been running two cars since the first round at Brands Hatch, with exciting British prospect Ollie Bearman drawing acclaim at the head of the ADAC F4 and Italian F4 Championships.
The 16-year-old took two second-place finishes in Race 1 and 2 in Kent, but will not be in the British F3 title conversation as he focuses his efforts on F4 action in Europe.
That seems an inspired decision to date, with Bearman holding a 41-point lead over reigning F4 British Championship champion Luke Browning in ADAC F4, and a 66-point advantage over Tim Tramnitz, who also contests both series’ this season.
His steller opening British F3 weekend, though, means he still sits 13th in the standings despite missing six of the nine races run so far.
To date, he hasn’t indicated when he will return to the British F3 paddock, but it is unlikely to be at the next round at Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps, as Italian F4 heads to Imola for Round 4 on the same weekend (24/25 July).
Brazilian Roberto Faria took a fifth-place and two third-place finishes at Silverstone to give the team its third and fourth podiums of the season, before profiting from the Hitech GP pair of Reece Ushijima and Bart Horsten‘s collision in Race 2 at Donington to take the final spot on the rostrum for the third time this season.
That form has put him fifth after three rounds, slipping behind Carlin‘s Christian Mansell who took 51 points to Faria’s 34 over the weekend at Donington.
But while Bearman has been excelling in European F4 series’, Faria has consistently shown his pace and has generally been in and around the sharp end, borne out by his three podiums from nine races to date.
The reverse-grid Race 3 brought its third different winner of the season, with Mansell and Chris Dittmann Racing‘s Ayrton Simmons having taken the spoils at the end of the weekend at Brands Hatch and Silverstone respectively.
After starting behind Reema Juffali (Douglas Motorsport) and Max Marzorati (CDR), reigning Danish Endurance Championship Class 4 champion Mikkel Grundtvig jumped the former from the start, while quick reactions on the safety car restart gave him the lead into Redgate.
It was a lead the Dane would not relinquish, and after a best finish of fifth in Brands’ reverse-grid race, Grundtvig was delighted to take his first win in F3 machinery.
“It was an amazing race, and I think it was a really good performance from my side, especially from our first race at Brands Hatch where I started third and ended up fifth,” he said.
“So I knew this time I had an extra shot to do it and when I was in P1 I was just fully focused on driving it safely home. It’s just amazing.
“When I was in P2 I was getting closer. It was a good overtake [on Marzorati] but also well driven from both sides, it was really, really good.”
The 15 points on offer for a reverse-grid win is augmented by points for positions gained during the race, meaning British F3’s newest race-winner added 22 points to his tally to move ahead of Dexter Patterson (Douglas) and two points behind team-mate Bearman.
Faria was equally-pleased with his third-place finish in Race 2, having picked up the pieces after the duelling Hitechs clashed exiting Goddards late in proceedings.
“Again I started from P6 and I overtook one car [Javier Sagrera, Elite Motorsport] on the first lap. Then I was defending against them but I managed to open up a small gap and tried to catch the first four.
“They were fighting a lot and then unfortunately Horsten and Ushijima crashed into each other so I overtook them and managed to finish on the podium.
“It was a good result and good points for the championship. I started from P6, so this is very good for me.”
The 2021 BRDC British Formula 3 Championship heads to Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps on 24/25 July.
Fortec occupy fourth in the new Teams’ Championship, between debutants Arden Motorsport and Elite Motorsport.