Capacity GB3 grid ready to master Zandvoort challenge

Capacity GB3 grid ready to master Zandvoort challenge

The GB3 Championship hits a 26-driver capacity as it heads to Zandvoort this weekend (13-15 October), with the title battle finely poised ahead of the triple header on the Netherlands coastline. 


The forthcoming event marks GB3’s debut appearance at the spectacular home of the Dutch Grand Prix, which has returned to the F1 calendar for the past three seasons, while also being notable for hosting the Masters of F3 contests between 1991 and 2016.


GB3's 26-car entry is another record high for the series, with the additions of F4 drivers Jack Sherwood at Chris Dittmann Racing and Patrick Heuzenroeder at Elite Motorsport ensuring each team racing this weekend has filled their available seats. 


Rodin Carlin’s Callum Voisin and JHR Developments’ Joseph Loake head into the fixture with just 14 points (equivalent to a seventh place finish) between them at the top of the standings. Voisin claimed his first win of the season last time out at Brands Hatch, as he extended his title advantage in each race, while Loake took his fourth triumph, as both stretched their margins to the chasing pack. The pair head into the event knowing that another victory could well swing the championship battle in their favour.


But with six races remaining this season, including the season finale at Donington Park next weekend (21-22 October), 210 points are still up for grabs, meaning nine other drivers remain in mathematical contention for the title. 


Of those, it’s Alex Dunne, James Hedley, McKenzy Cresswell and Matthew Rees who harbour the most realistic title chances, though each is in need of a big score this weekend to regain ground.


Hitech Pulse-Eight’s Irishman Dunne headed to Brands Hatch just a point adrift at the top of the standings, but was nudged into retirement at the start of the first race in Kent, and now lies 42 points in arrears. Arden VRD’s Hedley, Elite’s Cresswell, and Loake’s teammate Rees are all separated by six points and have all taken wins this season, but are between 77 and 83 points behind Voisin. 


Next up is Douglas Motorsports’s Polish charger Tymek Kucharczyk, who continues to edge closer to a maiden GB3 victory, as does Arden VRD’s Canadian Nico Christodoulou, who claimed his second runner-up spot of the season at Brands Hatch. 

John Bennett (Rodin Carlin) and South African Jarrod Waberski (Fortec) complete the top-10 heading into the weekend, having also graced the podium this season. 

American Noah Ping has two wins to his name for Arden VRD, and is the final driver still with a mathematical title chance, but slipped out of the top-10 after a challenging Brands Hatch event. Meanwhile Chris Dittmann Racing’s Zak Taylor enjoyed one of his stronger events of the season as he continued his climb up the rankings. 

Fortec’s American Max Esterson hopes a new venue will spark a change of luck for the Formula Ford Festival winner, and sits a couple of points clear of Rodin Carlin’s Australian Costa Toparis, who like Esterson, is aiming for a first podium of the season.


After a stint in FIA F3, Hitech’s South Korean Michael Shin has continued his solid first GB3 campaign, while JHR’s American David Morales has assisted his team’s prolonged campaign at the head of the team’s championship. 


Oliver Stewart was a winner for Elite the last time the championship raced away from the UK at Spa, and he’s two points ahead of Fortec’s Edward Pearson, with Douglas Motorsport’s Brazilian Lucas Staico back on the podium at Brands Hatch and looking to break the 100-point barrier at Zandvoort. 


Hillspeed’s Hong Konger Gerrard Xie was another to impress on the previous overseas visit, taking two top-five finishes, while his teammate Daniel Mavlyutov has proven to be the king of the reverse grid contests, having won three of the five such races held this year.

 
Chris Dittmann Racing’s Frenchman Arthur Rogeon has two podiums to his name so far, and is equal on points with Hitech’s Red Bull and Honda junior Souta Arao, with Douglas Motorsport’s American Shawn Rashid next up.


Then there's the two debutants, with British F4 driver and multiple GB4 race-winner Jack Sherwood continuing his relationship with Chris Dittmann Racing, and Elite Motorsport handing a first GB3 opportunity to fellow F4 contender Patrick Heuzenroeder, who hails from Australia. The pair complete the 26-car entry, a capacity for the current season, though that limit will increase further to 28 next year when Ammonite Motorsport joins the field.


A busy weekend is in store at the penultimate round, with three 45-minute practice sessions on Friday, and then qualifying on Saturday morning at 09.00 local time (08.00 UK). In a change to the usual format, the first two races of the event follow, with the first at 11.50 and the second at 17.40. The always-dramatic fully reversed grid contest is scheduled for 11.10 on Sunday morning, with all races shown live on the GB3 Championship website, with full build-up and post-race analysis. 


Championship leader Callum Voisin: “It was a good battle at Brands Hatch, I think we’ve made some pretty good improvements since Silverstone over the summer break. It was nice to be back up towards the very sharp end of the field, and obviously getting my first win of the year, which was long overdue but better late than never!


“I haven’t actually driven there [Zandvoort] in the dry yet, so I’m yet to find out for sure, but looking from onboards and things like that it looks like an amazing track. I think it will suit these cars perfectly, lightweight, quick in the corners and stuff like that so I think Zandvoort with the twisty and undulating nature of the circuit is the perfect combination for these GB3 cars.”


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