Home Featured GB4 2023 season preview: who will triumph in the series’ second year?

GB4 2023 season preview: who will triumph in the series’ second year?

by Steve Whitfield

Photo: Jakob Ebrey Photography

GB4 returns for 2023 with new teams and a bigger grid as it attempts to build on its inaugural season.

A field of 15 cars will contest this weekend’s opening round at Oulton Park, which includes a mixture of full and part-time entries.

The series will continue with first-generation Tatuus Formula 4 machinery, which gives drivers a chance to get onto the single-seater ladder with a fraction of the budget required for FIA F4 series.

Series promoter MotorSport Vision will once again award £50,000 to the series champion in 2023, to be put towards a drive in GB3 or British Formula 4 next year, and will host another £20,000 scholarship shootout at the end of the season for the top three teenagers in BRSCC National Formula Ford 1600 to be used towards to 2024 GB4 seat.

It will also continue on the British GT support package alongside GB3, with the total number number of rounds reduced to seven this year.

KMR Sport

The highly-successful Kevin Mills Racing outfit from Formula Ford 1600 impressed on its step up to slicks-and-wings in GB4 last year, scoring six wins and taking the teams’ title. It starts 2023 with a new line-up of Jeremy Fairbairn and Jack Clifford, and they will be joined by Tom Mills for the first round. 

18-year old American Fairbairn won the SuperNationals karting title in his homeland on an X30 Junior kart prior to stepping up to cars. He scored a best finish of fourth during a part-time campaign in US F4 in 2020 and was sixth in USF Juniors last year, taking one pole position and a podium finish. He also competed at the Formula Ford Festival in 2021 and ‘22, finishing ninth in the latter for KMR in a shortened final.

Photo: Jakob Ebrey Photography

Clifford also has FFord experience, having competed in three different series in Australia, finishing seventh in the Victorian State championship last year, previously was a race winner in the Kent-engined class, and also drove in the country’s National championship. His father Andrew also raced in FFord in his youth, and made it to Australian Formula 3 during his career.

Mills, son of team owner Kevin, returns for the opening round in the team’s recently-acquired third car, but does not currently have the budget for a full season. He scored two late season wins en-route to fourth in GB4 last year and will be the favourite at the Oulton Park opener having dominated testing at Donington Park in March.

Fortec Motorsports

Nikolas Taylor took the inaugural GB4 crown in 2022 with the team, with which returns with a full three-car effort thanks to late signings.

Colin Queen starts as one of the favourites to succeed Taylor, having won a scholarship shootout in Fortec GB4’s cars in October last year. After several years spent in karts in his homeland, the 17-year old American was eighth in the standings in his first car racing season in National FF1600 in 2021 and runner-up last year, winning four races and the Triple Crown. He also third in United FFord, taking two wins. “I feel very confident heading into the first round at Oulton,” he says. “I’ve learned the car inside and out. The ultimate goal is winning the championship.”

Ruhaan Alva secured his place with the team in GB3 this week. The 16-year old was Indian X30 Junior karting champion in 2019 and ’20 and contested the Rotax Max Challenge Grand Finals on a Rotax Junior kart in 2021. He was a race winner after stepping up to cars in Formula LGB 1300, and appeared at the third round of United Arab Emirates Formula 4 last year at the Dubai Autodrome. He also represented India at last October’s FIA Motorsport Games in the F4 Cup.

Aditya Kulkarni completed Fortec’s line-up on Thursday after testing with the team in recent weeks,21` and will make his car racing debut at Oulton Park. The 15-year old has spent the last few years in karts, winning the ‘O’ Plate title in the TKM British Open Championship in 2021 as well as winning that year’s TKM Festival. He was also runner-up in the TKM Festival Championship, won the Shenington Super Prix and came in the top 10 in the MSA British Championship in both 2021 and ’22.

Elite Motorsport

Elite has only confirmed its return on the eve of the new season with single-seater debutants Harri Reynolds and Josh Irfan both only entered for the opening round. The team won several races in the series in 2022.

Reynolds was fourth in Ginetta Junior with Assetto Motorsport last year with three wins and nine further podiums to his name and the 16-year old is trying to raise funds to remain in GB4 beyond Oulton Park. Irfan is using his debut to prepare for a full-season in British F4 with Rodin Carlin. The 15-year old won multiple titles in karting.

Graham Brunton Racing

The Knockhill-based outfit also returns to the series after stepping up from Formula Ford into slicks-and-wings last year and taking one victory.

Photo: Jakob Ebrey Photography

It starts with a single-car entry for karting graduate Harry Burgoyne. The 15-year old Scot was third in the CIK-FIA World Championship in the OK Junior class in 2020 and in the following year was 26th in the WSK Champions Cup and sixth in the IAME Warriors Final. He was also fourth in the IAME I-Games in 2020 and ‘21.

Oldfield Motorsport

Oldfield was another team to step up from FF1600 into GB4 in 2022, winning during a one-off appearance at the third round at Silverstone.

It is currently only due to contest the opening two rounds this year with 19-year old American Jason Conzo, whose previous car racing experience includes Ford Spec Racer 3 and Formula Enterprise 2 machinery in series run by the Sports Car Club of America.

Fox Motorsport

The highly-successful sportscar outfit has undertaken a busy winter testing programme for expansion into single-seater racing, and will be expected to be among the front-runners in its maiden GB4 season.

Liam McNeilly, son of team owner Paul, has been a frontrunner with the squad in Ginetta Junior, finishing runner-up in 2021 and third last season. The 16-year-old has been quick in testing and is one of the title favourites. “Our testing programme has been strong,” he says. “We’ve shown some good pace. I don’t see why we can’t battle straight at the front at Oulton.”

Alongside him is reigning BRSCC Fiesta Junior champion Sid Smith, who spent three seasons in the entry-level tin-top series with seven wins to his name. The 16-year-old has also shown strong testing pace so far.

Evans GP

Evans GP is also a new addition to the GB4 grid with a two-car line-up after previously racing in the Formula Regional Asian Championship. The Australian-Malaysian team was founded by Josh Evans, who formerly ran BlackArts Racing, and won two races in its first season in FRAC in 2021 and added a further triumph last year.

Photo: Jakob Ebrey Photography

Australian Cooper Webster will make his European racing debut with the team, having finished runner-up in the FRegional-based Tasman Series last year. He was also seventh in the national series in 2021 and third in 2022.

Thomas Lee will race alongside him, the Taiwanese-American driver’s previous racing experience coming in select GT racing events in the United States and the Middle East, and he owns a company that has been a sponsor of Evans GP.

Dylan Hotchin Racing

Dylan Hotchin will run as a privateer entry at the wheel of a strikingly-liveried machine. He made his racing debut in Fiesta Junior in 2020 and was 18th after stepping up to the senior Fiesta in 2021, finishing fifth in the ST-150 class, and was 23rd in a part-time campaign last year in ST240 machinery