The BRDC British F3 Championship returns to action at Donington Park for its third round this weekend (10/11 July), following just a short, two-week break.
Carlin’s Zak O’Sullivan and Hitech GP’s Reece Ushijima, first and second in the standings, have established a significant margin over their rivals ahead of the first of two visits to the East Midlands circuit. This is much more than simply a two horse race though, with a strong field of drivers aiming to close the gap at an early stage of the season.
O’Sullivan holds the championship lead after a strong showing at Silverstone last time out where he claimed two second place finishes, before finishing ninth in the reverse-grid finale from 16th on the grid. The Brit was narrowly beaten in the opening two Silverstone races by Ushijima, who stormed to the first two victories of his single-seater career. He’s just six points behind O’Sullivan heading into this weekend’s triple-header at the scene of his maiden British F3 podium last year.
A strong weekend for any of the chasing pack could see the title race change dramatically though, as they did at Silverstone for Fortec’s Roberto Faria. The Brazilian started the event 14th overall, but he rocketed up to third in the standings with two podiums and a fifth.
Chris Dittmann Racing’s Ayrton Simmons turned around a difficult previous event around with victory in the final race. Simmons is the only driver other than Ushijima with two wins to his name in 2021, and a likely frontrunner this weekend.
Arden ace Frederick Lubin is next up; he was seriously quick at Silverstone and, while the results didn’t quite match his pace, he still demonstrated his potential. Usual teammate Alex Connor misses this event, with his new teammate due to be revealed later this week.
Carlin’s Christian Mansell banked more strong points at the home of the British Grand Prix, and while he fell just short of his Mansellmania heroics at Brands Hatch, the young Aussie is proving he’s a quick learner in just his second season of car racing.
Elite Motorsport’s Javier Sagrera was well at tune with the Silverstone layout, scoring fourth and fifth place finishes on a weekend where he showed improved speed compared to his Brands Hatch debut.
Silverstone was another one of those ‘what if’ events for Hitech’s Bart Horsten, the young Aussie again showing his speed with a podium in race one, before an around-the-outside overtaking masterclass in the second race as he soared from 15th on the grid to sixth. However, a collision in race three means he’ll serve a five place grid penalty this weekend, so brace yourselves for more daring overtakes!
American Bryce Aron has been inside the top-10 in four of this year’s six races for Carlin, having shown consistent speed as he adapts from national-level Formula Ford racing. Meanwhile, reigning Ginetta Junior champion Tom Lebbon made amends for a race one retirement by claiming two top-eight results in the final two contests, with sixth in race three being his best result so far.
Hitech GP’s Sebastian Alvarez continues to progress well on his return to racing. After sitting out the 2020 season, the former F4 runner-up scored his best result to date in British F3 with sixth in race one, and sits 20 points ahead of Fortec’s Mikkel Grundtvig, who also returned to single-seater racing at the start of this season after a year of GT competition in Denmark in 2020.
Douglas Motorsport’s Reema Juffali showed what she is capable of at Silverstone with a fighting drive to fourth place in race three, and kept good pace compared to the leaders too, while teammate Dexter Patterson is next up in the standings, and heads to Donington looking to put his Silverstone troubles behind him.
Elite Motorsport’s Jose Garfias is another to have scored a best result in the final Silverstone race, claiming fifth, while Max Marzorati led the final race thanks to a bold move on the opening lap. He then went wheel to wheel with experienced CDR teammate Simmons, and only missed out on a big score after being rear ended at the end of the second lap.
Testing on Thursday and Friday will serve as a form guide ahead of the weekend, which, as is usual, will feature three races. Qualifying at 11.00 on Saturday will determine the line-up for the first two races, with each driver’s fastest times forming the race one grid (14.20), and second fastest times counting towards Sunday morning’s race two (10.15) starting order. The always-dramatic reversed grid race three contest, based on the inverted qualifying order, will close out the weekend at 15.40 on Sunday. Races two and three will be streamed live online, while live timing will be available across the event.
Donington Park Entry list
3 Javier Sagrera, Elite Motorsport
7 Roberto Faria, Fortec Motorsports
10 Reema Juffali, Douglas Motorsport
12 Sebastian Alvarez, Hitech GP
13 Reece Ushijima, Hitech GP
18 Ayrton Simmons, CDR
21 Christian Mansell, Carlin
23 Bryce Aron, Carlin
34 Tom Lebbon, Elite Motorsport
43 Mikkel Grundtvig, Fortec Motorsports
50 Bart Horsten, Hitech GP
51 Zak O'Sullivan, Carlin
55 Dexter Patterson, Douglas Motorsport
78 Frederick Lubin, Arden Motorsport
81 Max Marzorati, CDR
99 Jose Garfias, Elite Motorsport
TBC Arden Motorsports.