PREVIEW: 2022 GB3 Championship – Donington Park
The GB3 Championship has reached quarter-distance after the first two rounds at Oulton Park and Silverstone, and makes the first of two visits to Donington Park this weekend (28-29 May).
Joel Granfors leads the standings by three points after taking his first poles and a win at Silverstone, with Luke Browning just behind.
Last time at Donington
The 2021 GB3 season concluded in Leicestershire in front of the Sky Sports F1 cameras, as Zak O’Sullivan officially won the title in the second visit of the season.
O’Sullivan and Reece Ushijima took pole for Race 1 and 2 respectively, while Mikkel Grundtvig started Race 3 from reverse-grid pole.
Carlin‘s champion-elect sealed the title, and an FIA Formula 3 Championship test, with a lights-to-flag win on Saturday, ahead of Ushijima and Roman Bilinski.
He repeated the feat on a wet Sunday morning, with Ushijima second again ahead of Christian Mansell in their season-long battle for second in the standings, which eventually went to Ayrton Simmons.
Grundtvig streaked away in the lead in Race 3, taking his second GB3 win at the same venue, and in the same race as his first three months earlier.
Alex Fores came home second for Chris Dittmann Racing in his first GB3 meeting since a disastrous season opener at Brands Hatch, with Frederick Lubin third.
Grundtvig is the only one of October’s podium finishers to stay on the GB3 grid for 2022, while Tom Lebbon, Roberto Faria and Alex Connor took podiums at the first visit in July 2021.
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 in October was set by Race 3 winner Grundtvig, with a 1:25.047. That was the final outing for the Tatuus BF3-020, before being replaced by the more powerful, more aero-dependent MSV-022 for this season.
At time of writing, Luke Browning’s fastest time from pre-event testing is 1.4 seconds under that set by the now three-time race winner, with times likely to fall further throughout the weekend should the skies stay clear.
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
This weekend’s action at Donington will welcome one new face and one returning one, as the Championship celebrates a record grid.
Marcos Flack returns to Douglas Motorsport amid an ADAC and Italian F4 Championship campaign he’s prioritising this season. His Italian F4 trip to Imola in early May kept him out of GB3 action at Silverstone, yielding P19, P21 and P29 in the first races of the season.
His ADAC F4 results at Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps were a little better, with P12 and P13 in April providing key experience of the Belgian circuit before GB3 heads there in late July.
Arden Motorsport announced Nico Christodoulou on Wednesday, the Canadian joining the team for Donington as part of a partnership with Velocity Racing Development with whom he’s competing in Formula Regional Americas this season.
In terms of the full-season contenders, Joel Granfors’ three podiums and one win to date have him on top of the standings by three points, while second-placed Browning’s Hitech GP lead the Teams’ Championship by 11 points from Fortec Motorsport, running Granfors and Donington double-winner Grundtvig.
Elite Motorsport and Carlin are separated by just 13 points after six races, with Tom Lebbon and Roberto Faria the only podium finishers for each team so far this season.
Douglas Motorsport and Chris Dittmann Racing are locked together with a seven-point gap, buoyed by Tommy Smith‘s Oulton podium and their return to a three-car line-up this weekend.
Though only the two highest-placed drivers in each race are eligible for points, running an extra car gives the team more margin for error and opportunity for points from an extra source should one driver struggle.
That will work in Douglas’ favour while Flack’s schedule allows him to compete in GB3 rather than on the continent, with CDR still fielding potential drivers to fill its as-yet vacant third seat.
Thursday 26 May – Testing
Friday 27 May – Testing
Saturday 28 May
11:40am – Qualifying
3:35pm – Race 1
Sunday 29 May
10:07am – Race 2
4:42pm – Race 3
How to follow
The Checkered Flag will be bringing you reports, news and interviews from every session on Saturday and Sunday.
Live timing is provided by TSL Timing throughout the weekend, with official live-streams of all three races on the MSV TV YouTube channel and the GB3 Championship website.