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Browning and Taylor claim GB3 and GB4 titles at Donington Park

BRDC SuperStar Luke Browning has been crowned the 2022 GB3, partnered by the BRDC champion, after a dramatic weekend of action at the Donington Decider weekend on 15-16 October.

The Hitech GP driver headed into the weekend with a 16.5 point advantage over Fortec’s Swedish contender Joel Granfors, but with 105 points up for grabs, it was a wide open affair, especially as the lead of the championship had swapped between the pair on multiple occasions throughout the season.

But Browning took first advantage in the battle by finishing second to Callum Voisin in the first race of the weekend on Saturday while Granfors was only fifth. That extended his title lead to 26.5 points, and only needed to stretch it by another six points in the second contest on Sunday morning to win the championship a round early.

Sunday dawned sunny but damp, and most drivers opted for wet weather tyres. Browning started the race fifth, a place behind Granfors, and when the Swede shot into the lead on the first lap and Browning dropped to sixth, it looked as if the title fight would go down to the final race.

But Granfors’ grip on the lead slipped away from him as first Tom Lebbon found his way past, and then Browning followed having climbed back up the order. While the Hitech driver maintained position behind Lebbon, Granfors slipped all the way back to 13th, allowing Browning to wrap up the title a race early.

There was still plenty to fight for as the reverse grid finale got underway, with a spot in the end of year top three for drivers still up for grabs, as well as the team’s championship honours.

Hillspeed’s Canadian Nick Gilkes led every lap of the race from pole to become the 13th different winner of the year ahead of Hitech’s Cian Shields and Arden VRD’s Alex Connor, while Tom Lebbon benefited from a mid-race drama that afflicted all three Carlin drivers to claim third in the championship with a drive to 12th from 19th on the grid, creeping past Voisin as a result.

The drama for Carlin also ensured Hitech overturned a 16-point deficit at the top of the team’s standings to claim their title too, ensuring the Silverstone-based squad claimed both championship crowns at Donington.

Browning wins a two day FIA Formula 3 test for winning the title, as he looks to follow in the footsteps of previous champions Clement Novalak, Kaylen Frederick and Zak O’Sullivan in graduating from GB3 into the F1 paddock.

Browning said afterwards: “It’s just incredible. My dreams when I was a little boy turning to reality is pretty special. To be a two-time British champion in single-seaters, especially at a high level such as this just feels amazing. The luck fell our way today but a lot of hard work has gone into this. The boys at Hitech deserve it, the hard work has paid off!

“I wanted to get the title sewn up before race three as anything could have happened in that one. To take all that doubt out of my mind going into the last reverse grid meant I could overtake as many cars as I could and take risks. It feels incredibly special to win the championship, and I’m looking forward to where I go next.”

Taylor takes inaugural GB4 crown

Fortec’s BRDC Rising Star Nikolas Taylor entered the Donington Decider weekend as the favourite for the GB4 Championship, partnered by the BRDC crown, with a 31-point lead over Hillspeed’s Max Marzorati, but he looked to have made things difficult for himself right at the start of the weekend.

A heavy shunt at the Old Hairpin in qualifying restricted him to third on the grid for the opening race, though he did secure pole for race two, his ninth of the year. More importantly though, was the rebuild job his Fortec team would need to do in less than five hours, with a couple of wheels hanging off his car and rear end damage too.

The early end to qualifying though had damaged Marzorati’s chances too however, as without time to get his best laps in, had only taken 10th and 14th on the grid for races one and two.

From third, on the race one grid, Taylor kept his nose clean in the race, and finished just four tenths of a second behind Kevin Mills Racing’s Tom Mills, who claimed his second win of the year. With Marzorati finishing seventh, Taylor’s championship lead grew to 45-points, and it meant for race two, all he had to do was finish inside the top-eight to take the title, or simply finish the race if Marzorati won from the back of the grid.

The second race was a nervy affair, as polesitter Taylor was passed on a sensational opening lap that saw several cars scrap for the lead. Taylor was bounced around the top eight throughout the contest, but ultimately did what he needed to by finishing fourth, with the race ending behind the safety car.

Mills’ teammate Jarrod Waberski won that race ahead of Elite Motorsport’s newcomer William Macintyre and Hillspeed’s Oliver Clarke, while Marzorati battled to sixth.

The driver’s title now settled, the order of the top-three drivers still needed to be decided in the final contest of the season, with Marzorati now holding just a four-point gap to the on-form South African Waberski, while the destiny of the team’s title was also to be settled, with KMR enjoying a small gap of their own to long-time leaders Hillspeed.

The advantage looked to be swaying Marzorati’s way as he blasted from fourth on the grid to the lead at the start of the race, but his decent margin at the front was almost immediately nullified as the safety car was deployed for a turn one tangle.

When the race restarted, Marzorati continued to lead but Waberski, who started seventh, was already up to third, and once he passed Jessica Edgar for second, set about the leader. The duo went wheel-to-wheel in a thrilling bit of racing, but Waberski found a way past and marched into the lead.

Newcomer Macintyre was next to pounce on Marzorati, who was shuffled further down the order, by Taylor and Jack Sherwood, when on the penultimate lap, he was harpooned by teammate Megan Gilkes and demoted further to eighth.

Waberski duly claimed his second win of the day, completing Kevin Mills Racing’s clean sweep of the event, and banked second in the driver’s standings, 50 points behind Taylor and 14 ahead of Marzorati, who had to settle for third. KMR claimed the inaugural team’s title.

Taylor’s prize for winning the inaugural championship is £50,000 towards his next single-seater campaign, with the Anglo-Malaysian eyeing a drive in GB3 next season.

The 17-year-old said: “It’s my first year of racing, and I already have a championship! It’s been amazing, the team has been incredible the whole season, they’ve put up with my ups and downs, but they’ve given me a cracking car and I’ve been able to really show my pace.

“The £50,000 prize is going to be a big help, and I reckon we can look at GB3 now. I think it’s the right way to go. I hope we can start doing some GB3 testing soon, but I’m also going to be doing some driver coaching. If you coach some other drivers, you learn a lot more yourself too. We’ll see how it goes over the next few months.”

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The Club regrets to report on the death of Alan Minshaw, who was elected as a BRDC Member in 1984
The Club regrets to report on the death of Ray Thackwell who was elected as a BRDC Member in 1957
The Club regrets to report on the death of Ron Bennett, who was elected as a BRDC Associate Member in 1963
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