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The eagerly-anticipated 2023 rematch happening on a brand new stage in GB3

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With one other robust discipline of thrilling rookies combined with acquainted faces, and a go to to the Hungaroring for the primary time, the GB3 Championship appears set to thrive once more this season. Whereas a number of the persevering with drivers might be among the many favourites for the crown, a possible rematch of final yr’s British Formulation 4 title combat between Louis Sharp and William Macintyre is an intriguing prospect because the pair make the step up.

Sharp is coming into his third yr with the rebranded Rodin Motorsport workforce, which guided Callum Voisin to the 2023 GB3 title, and the Kiwi’s probabilities of profitable back-to-back single-seater championships have been boosted by a powerful pre-season forward of this weekend’s Oulton Park opener.

“There’s a lot to be taught,” says the 16-year-old. “I’m a rookie in comparison with a few of these guys of their second or third years, however I’ve acquired full confidence in myself and the workforce and there’s no motive why we received’t be combating for wins and the championship on the finish of the yr.

“It’s serving to lots,” he provides on remaining with Rodin. “It fills me with numerous confidence but in addition it looks like dwelling. I’m actually acquainted with how all the things works, and I couldn’t ask for a greater place to be.”

Additionally acquainted would be the menace from Macintyre, who was runner-up to Sharp in British F4 in his first yr racing single-seaters – having beforehand starred in Ginetta Junior. And, like his rival, Macintyre has the good thing about continuity by remaining with Hitech GP.

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“He’s at Rodin, I’m at Hitech once more – two of one of the best groups in GB3 – so I suppose it’s going to be one other one this yr,” he says on the probabilities of battling Sharp once more. “It’s each our first years, hopefully we will combat.

“I’ve acquired numerous help behind me, we’ve all acquired a extremely good relationship. The automotive’s ok, so it’s nearly me getting one of the best out of it. I’m getting used to the aero and discovering the bounds, each time I get within the automotive I’m getting sooner.”

Reigning F4 champion Sharp is trying ahead to renewing his rivalry with Macintyre in GB3, however there are different probably contenders too

Photograph by: JEP

Nevertheless, Macintyre can also be more likely to face robust competitors from team-mate Tymek Kucharczyk, who has switched squads following a quick however inconsistent rookie GB3 marketing campaign with Douglas Motorsport. Finances points ultimately took their toll in 2023 however the Pole feels higher ready this time round.

“Issues that occurred final yr weren’t too good,” he displays. “It took me out of the rhythm a bit. I hope it is going to be higher [this year] and we will simply concentrate on driving. It is a workforce that I can combat for the championship with, that’s the principle plan. They know what I’m able to, I do know what I’m able to and we will now push on. I simply want to complete the job on observe.”

However, away from the Hitech and Rodin powerhouses, there are a number of different drivers who might play a component on this season’s title combat. As a third-year driver, McKenzy Cresswell might be many individuals’s favorite, particularly because the 18-year-old stays with Elite Motorsport, who he completed fourth within the standings with in 2023.

“We’re studying each session concerning the new tyre. Everybody’s in the identical boat so it’s nearly who can adapt sooner” 
McKenzy Cresswell

“The preliminary plan was F3, and that was trying fairly probably for some time, however the funds simply wasn’t there,” he explains. “So, it was principally both change disciplines and take a look at one thing new or come again for an additional season and that’s what we’ve executed.”

Cresswell has left no stone unturned over the winter with the only real purpose of changing into champion, and has topped 4 out of six official pre-season check days.

“Lots has modified behind the scenes,” he reveals. “Elite have put in an incredible effort to enhance on what was wanted final yr, so simply making an attempt to be sure that, once we present as much as spherical one, all the things is nearly as good as it may be.”

John Bennett is one other driver to stay in GB3 for a 3rd time period following a difficult yr with Rodin Carlin that ended with him tenth within the standings. A change to reigning groups’ champion JHR Developments, nevertheless, appears to have reinvigorated the 20-year-old, who has shone in testing.

“It’s a recent begin,” Bennett says. “Placing final yr behind me, it’s essential be taught from it however in numerous methods simply wish to transfer on, come to a brand new workforce, recent begin and see what we will do.

Bennett is hoping a switch to JHR can reinvigorate his career as he embarks on a third season of GB3

Bennett is hoping a change to JHR can reinvigorate his profession as he embarks on a 3rd season of GB3

Photograph by: JEP

“I confirmed tempo at instances final yr, however I believe this yr might be about maximising each weekend and being constantly up the entrance. Going into my third yr there’s an expectation to do nicely, however I believe we’ve settled in actually properly with JHR and the testing outcomes to this point have been fairly robust.”

Elsewhere, VRD by Arden is fielding an all-American line-up, with Noah Ping its most certainly title contender having received twice final yr. His team-mate Nikita Johnson will make his debut at Spa in June after turning 16 and will shortly grow to be a frontrunner, having already gathered a number of spectacular single-seater accolades in his homeland because the age of 12.

McLaren F1 junior Ugo Ugochukwu is one other part-time contender as he plans to deal with 4 rounds with Rodin alongside his full-time Formulation Regional European Championship assault, and appears a possible victory contender on the Oulton Park opener. 

The introduction of a brand new tyre might additionally show a think about who comes out on prime. Manufactured out of a brand new base in Brazil, the Pirelli compound has taken longer to succeed in its working window within the cool testing temperatures.

“We’re studying each session concerning the new tyre,” says Cresswell. “Everybody’s in the identical boat so it’s nearly who can adapt sooner.”

One other tweak for this yr is race three will not characteristic a full reversed grid, as an alternative simply the highest 12 from qualifying might be inverted. The addition of the Hungaroring to the calendar means 5 of the eight rounds will happen on present F1 circuits, one thing that has been nicely acquired amongst this yr’s drivers as they attempt to emulate final season’s prime three and use GB3 as a stepping stone to the F1 help invoice in F3.

After impressive performances in testing, can Cresswell start the season on the front foot?

After spectacular performances in testing, can Cresswell begin the season on the entrance foot?

Photograph by: JEP

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