Home Formula 3GB3 Bennett fastest in GB3’s Oulton Park test, Palmowski quickest in GB4

Bennett fastest in GB3’s Oulton Park test, Palmowski quickest in GB4

by Steve Whitfield

Photo: Jakob Ebrey Photography

JHR Developments’ John Bennett was quickest in GB3’s two-day pre-season test at Oulton Park.

Bennett topped Wednesday’s final two sessions, with his pacesetting lap of 1m28.569s coming as the test drew to a close.

McLaren junior Ugo Ugochukwu, making a surprise appearance with Rodin Motorsport as he will be racing in Formula Regional European Championship with Prema this year, was the only other driver to record a sub-1m29s lap.

Ugochukwu led Hitech GP’s Will Macintyre during a damp opening session on Tuesday with a 1m35.836s. Bennett lowered the pace to 1m30.890s in a dry session two before Rodin’s reigning British Formula 4 champion Louis Sharp registered a series of quicker laps to end up ahead of Elite Motorsport’s Jarrod Waberski and Ugochukwu with a 1m29.616s.

Having topped a slower session three, Sharp led again in session four before Elite’s McKenzy Cresswell posted a 1m29.180s to end the day quickest, while Sharp matched his session two best to pip Waberski to second by 0.008 seconds.

Sharp improved to within 0.011s of Cresswell’s benchmark to top Wednesday’s opening session ahead of Waberski and Ugochukwu. Bennett lowered the pace then was edged by Hitech GP’s Tymek Kucharczyk in session two, but it was Ugockukwu who ended up on top with a 1m28.967s set with 12 minutes remaining.

Cresswell led most of session three before Bennett set a blistering 1m28.732s with four minutes left to be 0.579s clear of Sharp, who was only 0.005s ahead of JHR’s Patrick Heuzenroeder.

Bennett registered an early 1m28.995s in the final session and grew his gap at the top as the chequered flag fell on testing. Ugochukwu was 0.398s behind, with Kucharczyk within 0.5s of Bennett in third and Sharp improving by 0.004s in fourth.

James Hedley was the last driver within a second of Bennett’s time in 12th, having replaced Shawn Rashid at VRD by Arden on day two. Former Mercedes-AMG Formula 1 junior and British F4 racer Daniel Guinchard tested for Douglas Motorsport, while Chris Dittmann Racing ran a third car for Indian F4 racer Rishab Jain.

Alisha Palmowski led an Elite one-two in GB4’s running, setting a 1m35.812s in session seven to be fastest by 0.220s over fellow Ginetta Junior graduate Finn Harrison.

KMR Sport’s Harry Burgoyne Jr topped three of Tuesday’s four sessions, dominating the first two to end the morning over 1.5s quicker than Arden’s Leon Wilson. Harrison lowered the pace in the afternoon to 1m36.825s but Palmowski topped session three with a late 1m36.728s flier. Palmowski went quicker still in session four, but her 1m36.603s benchmark was beaten in the final 10 minutes by Burgoyne by 0.039s.

Burgoyne led again in Wednesday’s first session ahead of Harrison and Palmowski with a lap just 0.030s shy of his day one pace. Palmowski set a new best of 1m36.513s in the next session but Harrison was quickest with a 1m36.032s.

Palmowski lowered the pace on two consecutive laps in the final minutes of the penultimate session to top the test, and was again quickest in the final session. Burgoyne was third overall ahead of Graham Brunton Racing’s Callum Baxter, who only ran on day two. Dan Hickey was fifth, having announced a full-season campaign with Fortec Motorsports following his debut at the 2023 season finale.

Absent from the test was Fox Motorsport, which announced it has signed 17-year-old Branden Templeton for the season ahead. He came 24th in the 2020 IAME Winter Cup and 31st in the 2021 British championship for X30 Junior karts, and on X30 Senior karts came 18th in the 2022 Kartmasters British Grand Prix.

Karting graduate Gracie Mitchell, whose only car racing experience to date is in UK club racing series Fun Cup, tested for KMR on day one.

Test results

Pos Driver Team Time Gap Laps
1 John Bennett JHR Developments 1m28.569s 139
2 Ugo Ugochukwu Rodin Motorsport 1m28.967s +0.398s 123
3 Tymek Kucharczyk Hitech GP 1m29.043s +0.474s 143
4 Louis Sharp Rodin Motorsport 1m29.104s +0.535s 146
5 Gerrard Xie Hitech GP 1m29.131s +0.562s 155
6 Noah Ping VRD by Arden 1m29.136s +0.567s 132
7 Jarrod Waberski Elite Motorsport 1m29.149s +0.580s 136
8 McKenzy Cresswell Elite Motorsport 1m29.180s +0.621s 140
9 Will Macintyre Hitech GP 1m29.248s +0.679s 149
10 Josh Irfan JHR Developments 1m29.281s +0.712s 151
11 Patrick Heuzenroeder JHR Developments 1m29.316s +0.747s 142
12 James Hedley VRD by Arden 1m29.369s +0.800s 70
13 Edward Pearson Fortec Motorsports 1m29.686s +1.117s 125
14 Daniel Guinchard Douglas Motorsport 1m29.797s +1.228s 132
15 Colin Queen Fortec Motorsports 1m29.813s +1.244s 153
16 Hugo Schwarze Elite Motorsport 1m29.820s +1.251s 121
17 Arthur Rogeon Rodin Motorsport 1m29.919s +1.350s 145
18 Shawn Rashid VRD by Arden 1m30.352s +1.733s 82
19 Rishab Jain Chris Dittmann Racing 1m30.996s +2.427s 143
20 Flynn Jackes Chris Dittmann Racing 1m31.091s +2.522s 118
21 Seb Murray Chris Dittmann Racing 1m31.098s +2.529s 138
1 Alisha Palmowski Elite Motorsport 1m35.812s 135
2 Finn Harrison Elite Motorsport 1m36.032s +0.220s 140
3 Harry Burgoyne Jr KMR Sport 1m36.538s +0.754s 140
4 Callum Baxter Graham Brunton Racing 1m36.620s +0.808s 73
5 Dan Hickey Fortec Motorsports 1m37.081s +1.269s 156
6 Leon Wilson Arden 1m37.248s +1.436s 118
7 Jack Taylor Fortec Motorsports 1m37.670s +1.858s 127
8 Bas Visser Graham Brunton Racing 1m40.044s +4.232s 60
9 Gracie Mitchell KMR Sport 1m41.437s +4.899s 82