SEASON PREVIEW: 2022 GB3 Championship

8 Mins read
Credit: Jakob Ebrey

The 2022 GB3 Championship gets underway at Oulton Park this weekend (16-18 April), supporting the Intelligent Money British GT Championship in its traditional Easter weekend season opener.

Britain’s premier single-seater series began 2021 as the BRDC British Formula 3 Championship, reinventing itself as GB3 from July onwards.

GB3 introduces a bespoke new car for 2022; the Tatuus MSV-022 is an evolution of the outgoing Tatuus BF3-020 with 25 per cent more downforce and a 20bhp increase to the Mountune engine, with a halo and improved side-impact structure.

The side-mounted air intake and airbox gives GB3 a sleek new look, bringing the Championship more in line with traditional FIA Formula 3 European Championship, F3 Cup and Euroformula Open machinery.

The Checkered Flag looks ahead to GB3’s first full season since its big rebrand, and brings you up to speed with the names to look out for in 2022.


The 2022 season will look broadly similar to last year, with the Championship visiting the same six circuits over eight rounds, three races in each producing a 24-race calendar.

The season begins at Oulton Park on 16-18 April, the Easter Bank Holiday weekend hosting the traditional curtain-raiser for the first time since 2019.

From Cheshire, the circus moves onto the Silverstone Grand Prix layout on 7/8 May for the first of two visits this year. The home of the British Grand Prix was a happy hunting ground for FIA Formula 3 Championship drivers Reece Ushijima and Ayrton Simmons last year, the pair winning two and three races in Northamptonshire last year respectively.

Round Three takes place at Donington Park (28/29 May), again the first of two trips to the Leicestershire circuit which will also host the season finale in October.

There’s then a four-week break before GB3 heads to the Snetterton 300 circuit in Norfolk (25/26 June), followed another four weeks later by the series’ European excursion to the upgraded Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps in Belgium (23/24 July).

The Ardennes circuit is enjoying safety improvements to the runoff areas surrounding Eau Rouge and Raidillon, as it hopes to host MotoGP‘s Belgian Grand Prix for the first time since 1990.

That’s immediately followed by a second trip to Silverstone, again on the Grand Prix circuit (30/31 July), before a six-week summer break brings us to the penultimate round at Brands Hatch (10/11 September).

The sole visit to Kent may see a Drivers’ and/or Teams’ Champion crowned a round early, but it’s likely at least one title battle will go down to the wire in the traditional ‘Donington Decider’ (15/16 October).

Weekend and points format

The weekend format for 2022 remains largely unchanged, though there is a key alteration to the scoring for the reverse-grid Race 3 which we will touch on later.

As in 2021, all eight race weekends will feature a 20-minute Qualifying session and three 20-minute races, after mid-week pre-event testing at all rounds except Spa.

Qualifying will continue to set the grid for all three races, with Race 1’s starting order derived directly from the fastest times on Saturday morning.

Race 2 will be determined by each driver’s second fastest lap, while Race 3 remains the reverse-grid outing responsible for spectacular charges through the field from drivers such as champion Zak O’Sullivan and Javier Sagrera last year.

That reverse-grid is taken directly from the final Qualifying result, meaning each driver’s fastest time essentially sets the grid for the first and last races of the weekend. Additionally, to qualify for the reverse-grid race, drivers must lap within 103 per cent of the pole time.

Points are awarded from 35 for a win to one point for 20th place in Races 1 and 2, while Race 3 is scored from 20 points for a win to one for 15th.

It’s hoped this slight change from last year will prevent a similar situation to that the Championship arrived at Donington in last October.

Carlin‘s Zak O’Sullivan arrived to the circuit having all but officially won the title, as the starting grid size for Race 1 meant he only had to finish the race to officially be crowned champion.

With points extending beyond 20th place last year, and three retirements during the race meaning just 18 drivers finished, O’Sullivan was guaranteed the two points he needed to win the title provided he finished Race 1. As it was, he won both Race 1 and 2 to complete a second Donington double of the season.

Zak O’Sullivan profited from 2021’s points system to effectively be guaranteed the title between the rounds at Oulton Park and Donington.
Credit: Jakob Ebrey

Points will also be awarded in Race 3 for positions gained at the end of the race, relative to a driver’s starting position.


Carlin – P1 in 2021

Carlin have run four of the last five GB3 Drivers’ Champions to the title, and won the first Teams’ Championship in 2021.

It’s all change at the Farnham-based team for 2022, with Ginetta Junior race-winner Callum Voisin moving up after a positive testing programme during last season.

Race-winner, and recent Sauber Academy signing Roberto Faria moves across the paddock from Fortec Motorsport for his second full season in GB3, with Brands Hatch podium-finisher Javier Sagrera also switching from 2021 debutants Elite Motorsport.

Faria is the highest-placed returning driver for 2022, while Spaniard Sagrera delivered solid, consistent results throughout the year and finished 2021 just behind Ginetta Junior champion team-mate Tom Lebbon.

Callum Voisin testing the Tatuus MSV-022.
Credit: Jakob Ebrey

Hitech GP – P2 in 2021

Hitech GP announced all three of its 2022 drivers at once at the start of February, with two bringing varying degrees of GB3 experience to the Silverstone-based outfit as it enters its third season at this level.

Former Team USA scholar Bryce Aron makes the switch from Carlin over to Hitech for his second season in GB3, moving from blue to silver after finishing 12th in the standings in 2021. He made one of the biggest jumps of any driver entering the Championship last year, stepping up from fifth place in the BRSCC Avon Tyres National Formula Ford Championship and third in the 2020 Walter Hayes Trophy.

Team-mate Cian Shields is making an even bigger step up for 2022, moving straight out of karting and skipping both the F4 British Championship and the new GB4 Championship to compete at the highest level of British single-seater racing.

The team does have a GB3 race-winner among its ranks, with Cheshire-based driver Luke Browning heading to his home circuit to start the season.

It’s a happy hunting ground for Browning, as the 2020 British F4 champion won Race 2 there in a wildcard reunion with Fortec Motorsport last year while he ran to third in the ADAC Formula 4 Championship. The rest of the weekend didn’t go to plan, though, as he was disqualified from second place in Race 1 due to a technical infringement and retired from Race 3 early on.

Fortec Motorsport – P3 in 2021

Fortec are another stalwart of British junior single-seater racing.

Unlike Carlin and Hitech who finished ahead of them last year, they retain a driver for 2022, continuity which may help them in the race to adapt to the performance gains of the MSV-022.

Mikkel Grundtvig stays with the Daventry-based squad after wins in both reverse-grid races at Donington last year, joined by fellow Scandinavian driver Joel Granfors, another race-winner stepping up from fourth place in British F4 with the team.

Zak Taylor also graduates from British F4 with a win and five podiums taking him to 13th in the standings, the same position he finished in the Ginetta Junior Championship in 2020.

Joel Granfors testing the Tatuus MSV-022 at Snetterton.
Credit: Mattias Persson / Motorsport Publication

Arden Motorsport – P4 in 2021

Arden Motorsport enjoyed a positive debut campaign in GB3 in 2021, winning races in just their fourth meeting in the Championship.

They will run a two-car line-up for 2022, as they did last year, but won’t be disadvantaged as only the two highest-placed drivers per team in each race are eligible to score points towards the Teams’ Championship. Therefore, the Teams’ Championship points will always be lower than the sum of the individual drivers’ points over the season.

Alex Connor returns for 2022, having taken three podium finishes in the first three rounds before his season ended early. He’s back after a stint in the F3 Asian Championship over winter, also helping Arden by Idola Motorsport evaluate its options early in the season as it considers entering the Praga Cup.

David Morales also steps up from British F4 with the team after taking two podiums and two pole positions last year, a similar return to Connor’s 2019 season which brought a ninth-place finish in the standings.

Elite Motorsport – P5 in 2021

Norfolk-based Elite Motorsport were the second new entry for 2021, and impressed in their first season in single-seater racing, only narrowly falling short of a much more established team in Arden.

Tom Lebbon keeps his seat for 2022 having won the 2020 Ginetta Junior title with the team, also taking a podium at Donington in July.

John Bennett also crosses from Ginettas over to single-seaters, but switches from the more powerful GT5 Challenge car with five wins, ten podiums and two pole positions on the way to fourth in the standings last year.

Lebbon’s Ginetta Junior predecessor, James Hedley steps up after two seasons in British F4, taking the more traditional single-seater route up into GB3 after eight wins and 15 podiums in total over 2020 and 2021. He got a taste of life with the team at the final round at Donington last October.

Tom Lebbon testing the Tatuus MSV-022 at Silverstone.
Credit: Jakob Ebrey

Chris Dittmann Racing – P6 in 2021

Chris Dittmann Racing has been a race-winning outfit in GB3 and its predecessors for many years, and expanded its programme into British F4 for 2022.

It will retain one of its 2021 drivers in Anglo-Thai Branden Oxley, who came in for the second half of the season to replace Max Marzorati. He missed out on a podium at Silverstone in only his sixth outing due to a post-race penalty, but was one of the only drivers to finish every race he started last year.

McKenzy Cresswell is yet another driver making the step up from British F4, winning more races last year than any other driver and finishing just one point off second place at the end of the season. Taking three poles and six fastest laps marks his card as one to watch in Qualifying throughout the year too.

At time of writing, CDR has one seat available ahead of the opening round at Oulton Park. The team confirmed to The Checkered Flag that they would only be running Cresswell and Oxley at the first round, but are assessing whether to run the third car from Silverstone onwards, or on a round-by-round basis.

Douglas Motorsport – P7 in 2021

Douglas Motorsport didn’t enjoy the success many expected of them in GB3 in 2021, but have announced an intriguing driver pairing for this year, bringing varying experience on several levels.

Australian Tommy Smith came into the Championship from Snetterton onwards after Dexter Patterson left the team, bringing experience at perhaps the highest level of any driver on the grid that year with 19 races in Formula Regional European Championship by Alpine.

He stays on for 2022, partnered with Walter Hayes Trophy winner, Formula Ford Festival podium-finisher and iRacing-backed American driver Max Esterson.

Esterson’s rise up the American Esports ranks has been well-documented, but an overall third-place finish in the National Formula Ford Championship further showed his credentials in racing wheel-to-wheel in real life. His experience and performance over the last two years are not to be discredited, and there is plenty of interest around his slicks-and-wings debut in GB3.

Smith’s compatriot Marcos Flack steps up from British F4 after gaining experience of the GB3 paddock with Douglas in testing before the last round at Donington in October.

His 2021 campaign with Argenti Motorsport brought three podiums, two fastest laps and an 11th-place finish overall, alongside three races in both ADAC F4 and the Italian Formula 4 Championship.

Credit: Jakob Ebrey

Hillspeed – P8 in 2021

Hillspeed re-entered the GB3 paddock late in the 2021 season, with 2020 Formula Ford Festival runner-up Jonathan Browne taking a podium on his debut at Silverstone before departing Stateside to race in Indy Pro 2000.

A new arrival from across the Atlantic has replaced him in what appears, for now, to be a one-car entry for the Markham Vale-based team.

Nick Gilkes is the reigning Canadian F1600 and Ontario F1600 champion, having also competed in the Walter Hayes Trophy and Formula Ford Festival last year.

Like Esterson, this is the Canadian’s first time racing with slicks and wings, but his sister Megan Gilkes won Race 3 of the GB4 Championship at Snetterton earlier in April, and has experience in W Series.

Nick Gilkes testing the Tatuus MSV-022 at Snetterton.
Credit: Jakob Ebrey

JHR Developments – Did not compete in 2021

JHR Developments didn’t appear on the GB3 grid in 2021, having run Carter Williams, Ayrton Simmons and Max Marzorati part-time throughout 2020.

They focused instead on British F4, which yielded the ultimate reward as they ran BRDC Rising Star Matthew Rees to the title with four wins and ten podiums, also winning the Teams’ Cup ahead of the likes of Fortec, Carlin and Arden.

Rees makes what would appear the natural step up to GB3, though he becomes the first British F4 champion to move directly up to the series since Kiern Jewiss won the title in 2018.

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