Home Formula 4GB4 GB4 announces F1 Academy prize as Palmowski tops Donington test

GB4 announces F1 Academy prize as Palmowski tops Donington test

by Steve Whitfield

Photo: Mat Acton

Alisha Palmowski was fastest in Wednesday’s pre-season GB4 test at Donington Park on the day the series announced an F1 Academy prize fund.

The Elite Motorsport driver topped three out of four sessions and was the only driver to set her best lap in the final session, ending the day 0.228 seconds clear of KMR Sport’s Harry Burgoyne Jr.

Burgoyne and Palmowski were closely matched throughout session one, the pair regularly exchanging fastest laps, and it was Burgoyne’s 1m33.857s effort set with 15 minutes remaining that was good enough to finish at the top. Ginetta Junior graduate Palmowski brought the session to a premature end by sliding into the gravel at Old Hairpin and was edged to second by Fox Motorsport’s Megan Bruce.

Arden’s Motorsport’s Leon Wilson swapped places at the top of the leaderboard in session two with Palmowski, who led the way at the halfway stage with a 1m29.425s. Burgoyne then lapped within 0.078s of the pace, while Wilson slipped to fifth behind Fortec Motorsports’ Jack Taylor and Bruce.

Fortec’s Dan Hickey brought out the red flags with 10 minutes remaining by spinning into the gravel at Macleans, with nobody able to improve once the session resumed.

Palmowski led again in session three, beating her morning benchmark by 0.008s in the opening 15 minutes. Burgoyne then registered two quicker laps, his best a 1m29.080s, but Palmowski reclaimed the advantage as the chequered flag fell by 0.005s while Taylor was within 0.092s of the pace in third.

Session four began with the third red flag of the day. Burgoyne led following the resumption before Palmowski moved ahead once more with time fractionally slower than her earlier best, but late on produced a 1m29.073s before improving further to a 1m28.852 on her final lap.

The other seven drivers that took part set their best laps in session three, with Taylor ending the day behind Burgoyne in third and ahead of Fox’s Brandon Templeton and Wilson, all four within 0.7s of the pace.

GB4’s promoter Motorsport Vision announced a new initiative during the test, with the highest-placed female driver in this year’s championship to receive a €30,000 prize fund towards a seat in F1 Academy in 2025.

Palmowski and Caterham Academy graduate Bruce have so far signed up to GB4 this year, while Fiesta Junior racer Flame Arikkala tested for new team Preptech UK on Wednesday as she weighs up whether to join the series, and Formula Scout understands at least two more female drivers are trying to secure seats for the upcoming season.

“It’s a great opportunity and a great motivator for all females to do the best job we can to get that prize,” Palmowski told Formula Scout. “Females in motorsport is constantly rising, it’s a hot topic. We are seeing more females getting involved in this sport, and to have Jonathan Palmer, MSV and GB4 supporting that is fantastic.”

“It’s an amazing opportunity, it just encourages more females hopefully to join the likes of GB4,” added Bruce.

Day one results

Pos Driver Team Time Gap Laps
1 Alisha Palmowski Elite Motorsport 1m28.852s 90
2 Harry Burgoyne Jr KMR Sport 1m29.080s +0.228s 78
3 Jack Taylor Fortec Motorsports 1m29.167s +0.315s 88
4 Brandon Templeton Fox Motorsport 1m29.321s +0.469s 92
5 Leon Wilson Arden Motorsport 1m29.489s +0.637s 83
6 Megan Bruce Fox Motorsport 1m30.345s +1.493s 93
7 Dan Hickey Fortec Motorsports 1m30.488s +1.636s 86
8 Flame Airikkala Preptech UK 1m32.196s +3.344s 91