British F3

PREVIEW: 2021 GB3 Championship – Donington Park

3 Mins read
Credit: Jakob Ebrey

The 2021 GB3 Championship visits Donington Park this weekend (16/17 October), with the Leicestershire circuit hosting what is still mathematically a title race going into the final meeting of the season.

The series supports the Intelligent Money British GT Championship, which has several titles of its own still up for grabs this weekend.

TCF takes a look at the stories going into the season finale, and what they mean for next season.

What happened last time at Donington?

Wins in Race 1 & 2 for O’Sullivan, Mikkel Grundtvig took only win of the season so far for Fortec Motorsport in Race 3.

GB3’s first visit to Donington this season in July, when the series was still called British F3, brought two wins for Champion-elect Zak O’Sullivan after the Carlin man took pole for Race 1 and 2, putting him last for Race 3 which brought retirement after a clash with then-title rival Reece Ushijima in Sector 3.

Ushijima and Alex Connor completed the podium in Race 1, with Connor and Roberto Faria joining O’Sullivan in Race 2.

The reverse-grid podium, topped by Grundtvig, was completed by Max Marzorati and Tom Lebbon.

The Circuit

Credit: driver61.com

The 4.020km GP circuit comprises 11 corners, seven right and four left, and will host a Qualifying session and three races.

The fastest race lap the last time GB3 visited in July was set by Race 3 winner Grundtvig, with a 1:25.047.

Sector 1 takes in Redgate, Hollywood, the iconic Craner Curves, the Old Hairpin and the run up to Starkey’s.

Schwantz Curve, McLeans and Coppice make up Sector 2, while the slower-speed Sector 3 comprises the Fogarty Esses, the Melbourne Hairpin and Goddards.

What to look out for this weekend

At time of writing, at least 21 drivers will take part in the race weekend itself, with 23 cars expected to be on track in pre-event testing on Thursday 14 and Friday 15 October.

Should 21 cars make the grid on Saturday, it will be a joint-record start list since the Tatuus BF3-020 was introduced to the Championship in 2016, a fitting send-off before the Tatuus MSV-022 arrives next season.

This season to date has brought 19 different podium finishers, and ten different race winners from 21 races.

Zak O’Sullivan has led the Championship since Race 2 in the season-opener at Brands Hatch, extending his lead over the likes of Reece Ushijima, Ayrton Simmons and Carlin team-mate Christian Mansell at almost every round.

Five wins, seven further podiums and only two retirements have given the 16-year-old a commanding lead, and helped the 2019 Ginetta Junior and 2020 F4 British Championship runner-up put one hand on the first title of his car racing career with three races remaining.

For Simmons or Mansell to have any chance of taking the title, they will need to take pole on Saturday to give themselves a chance to take maximum points for positions gained in the reverse-grid Race 3.

Simmons has four wins so far this season, with Australian Mansell just three points behind him with two wins and four total podiums.

Fans got their first sight of several drivers in GB3 machinery in pre-event testing on Thursday.

Flynn Jackes was announced at Hillspeed on Sunday, one of many Australian drivers featuring in testing. He finished the first day of testing with a best finish in 15th in the morning sessions.

F4 British Championship runners Eduardo Coseteng and James Hedley turned out for Fortec and Elite Motorsport respectively, with best finishes of 18th and ninth.

Tommy Smith returns to Douglas Motorsport this weekend, the Australian making his first appearance in the Championship since two rounds ago at Silverstone.

Alex Fores will bookend the season at Chris Dittmann Racing, appearing for the first time since the season-opener at Brands Hatch. The Championship’s visit to Kent was ill-fated for the 2020 F3 Cup runner-up, as he retired from two races and missed the start of the other.

The 23-car testing line-up was augmented by two more British F4 contenders.

Australian Marcos Flack got his first taste of GB3 machinery with Douglas Motorsport on Thursday, sitting 13th in the British F4 standings with three podiums and two fastest laps so far this season.

Testing on Thursday brought 11th, 21st, 16th and eighth-place finishes over the four sessions.

Meanwhile, Tasanapol Inthraphuvasak turned out in a fourth car for Carlin, as he does in F4.

The Thai driver has two podiums so far this season, as well as several races in the French F4 Championship.

What’s the schedule?

Thursday 14 October – Testing

Friday 15 October – Testing

Saturday 16 October

10:50am – Qualifying

3:10pm – Race 1

Sunday 17 October

10:10am – Race 2

4:00pm – Race 3

How can I keep up with the action?

The Checkered Flag will be bringing you all the action from every session on Saturday and Sunday.

Live timing is provided by TSL Timing from Thursday morning through to Sunday afternoon, with official live-streams of Races 2 and 3 on the GB3 Championship YouTube channel.

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Stickler for track limits, covering the GB3 Championship and the British GT Championship. Twitter: @MCallanderMedia
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