Hedley: “When the car’s there we can produce a mega lap time”

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Credit: Jakob Ebrey

James Hedley has stepped up to the GB3 Championship from the F4 British Championship for 2022, and has made a solid start to life at a higher level.

He arrived at Silverstone 13th in the standings after the opening round at Oulton Park, having topped testing sessions on both Thursday and Friday.

The Elite Motorsport driver spoke to The Checkered Flag after securing fifth and sixth-place grid slots for the first two races.

“I’m a bit disappointed after yesterday to be honest, but after Oulton Park it’s a good improvement.

“Just a few things didn’t quite come together, which made all the difference but we did a good job considering. We can race from there.”

Hedley’s best time in Qualifying put him just half a second behind polesitter Joel Granfors, with an identical time to Roberto Faria.

“We know when the car’s there and everything’s there we can produce a mega lap time,” he said.

“When things don’t go our way slightly we need to build on that, but apart from that, the car looks strong.”

Hedley took four wins and eight podiums on the way to fourth in the British F4 standings last year; both that series and GB3 welcome new cars for 2022.

“I think we’re two or three seconds quicker than last year’s GB3 car, and F4 was about four seconds from that. So it’s quite a big difference, especially on the Grand Prix layout, it’s a lot quicker.”

Having won the 2019 Ginetta Junior title, and competed in F4 for two seasons on the British Touring Car Championship support bill, all his experience at Silverstone has only familiarised himself with half the track. So he and his fellow F4 graduates have had a steeper learning curve than most this weekend.

“This is the first time I’ve raced the GP track, [in F4, Ginetta Junior] we just did the National layout. I think it’s good, it provides a lot more room for overtaking with the [Hangar] straight.

“At Oulton everyone struggled with overtaking, there aren’t a lot of long straights and it’s very narrow, but here we’ve got a long straight and some low-speed corners, so it should produce some good racing.”

He hopes although his strong Qualifying performance puts him in the thick of things for the reverse-grid Race 3, he can avoid collisions like the one Luke Browning experienced at Oulton.

“We’re up there. The reverse-grid race is always a bit of carnage, so I think it’s just [about] staying out of trouble, trying to get clear as fast as you can.”

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