Ayrton Simmons’ journey to Donington GB3 title decider

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Credit: Jakob Ebrey

Ayrton Simmons is one of the most successful drivers in recent GB3 Championship history.

After a debut 2019 season which yielded three wins (more than eventual champion Clément Novalak) and a third-place finish with Chris Dittmann Racing, he stepped up to Euroformula Open in 2020 with Double R Racing.

He took a best finish of fifth place in the first half of the season, before taking two wins at Brands Hatch in a wildcard appearance with JHR Developments, also returning with two podiums at Silverstone at the end of the campaign.

His 2021 season kicked off in the best possible way, with pole position and a win in the first race at Brands, before retiring after a collision with Bart Horsten in Race 2.

That incident caused chassis damage which endured into the trip to Silverstone in June, but Simmons still took the win in the reverse-grid Race 3, having qualified 14th, perhaps initially struggling with that damage but learning to drive around it as the weekend went on.

He moved up to tenth in Race 1 and 2, having started 14th and 11th respectively, winning Race 3 after starting fourth.

The next two rounds at Donington Park and Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps delivered no top-five finishes, but he enjoyed an upturn in form at Snetterton and took his third and fourth wins of the season to date in the Championship’s second visit to Silverstone in August.

The penultimate round of the season brought the teams to Oulton Park, with Simmons taking second in Race 1 and fourth in Race 2. Having qualified third for Race 1, his job looked difficult going into a wet Race 3 where he started 14th.

Despite that, the Essex driver moved forward to seventh in a stellar performance and kept himself in the title conversation by finishing seventh while Championship leader Zak O’Sullivan took sixth.

O’Sullivan retired from Race 2 after an ambitious move on 2020 F4 British Championship rival Luke Browning, allowing Simmons to close the gap by 11 points and keeping his challenge alive going into the final meeting.

With 116 points on the table and three races remaining, O’Sullivan leads by 112 points. While you would perhaps get the longest of odds on Simmons (or Christian Mansell) overturning such a deficit to take the title, the Chris Dittmann Racing driver will head to Donington Park hoping to add the GB3 title to his nine wins in the Championship to date.

He will be keeping himself busy between the final rounds, being called up for a maiden FIA Formula 3 Championship appearance with Charouz Racing System this weekend (25/26 September).

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Stickler for track limits, covering the GB3 Championship and the FIA Formula 3 Championship. Twitter: @MCallanderMedia
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