The inaugural season of MotorSport Vision’s new Formula 4 series, GB4, gets underway at Snetterton 300 this weekend and is a new milestone in Britain’s single-seater landscape. Jordan Edwards previews
Along with a £50,000 prize for the champion, Jonathan Palmer hopes to create another cost-effective route into winged single-seaters with his new GB4 championship. The series will act as a direct feeder series into the, now well established, GB3, which previously went under the BRDC British Formula 3 name.
A field of 12 drivers have been confirmed so far to be on the grid for this weekend’s season opener at Snetterton, with names from Formula Ford, Ginetta Junior and karting stepping up to slicks-and-wings cars for the first time.
The Tatuus F4-T014, predecessor to the T-421 chassis many Formula 4 series are introducing this year, is GB4’s car of choice and it will be powered by a 1.4-litre turbocharged Abarth engine. There’s already significant racing mileage on many of the chassis, as they have been bought from teams in the ADAC, Italian and Spanish F4 championships who are now using the halo-shod T-421.
Those who took delivery of their cars early were able to conduct winter testing programmes abroad, but others have been ruing a spare parts shortage and lack of technical support that has confounded their plans to get more pre-season running.
The inaugural season will consist of 24 races across eight rounds in England. After Snetterton, the series becomes a support to British GT and GB3, and visits Oulton Park, Silverstone (twice), Donington Park (twice), Snetterton again and Brands Hatch.
Each race weekend will include a 15-minute qualifying session and three races. The grid for the first two races is determined in qualifying, with fastest laps forming race one’s grid and second-best laps setting race two’s starting order. Race three’s grid “will be a full grid reversal with extra points awarded for positions gained”.
Points will be scored from 35 for a win to one point for 20th place in races one and two, and in race three a win will be worth 20 points and the scoring positions go down to 15th.
Here are the teams signed up to compete in GB4 so far, and the lowdown on who’s actually signed to race for them:
The highly successful Ginetta Junior team ran single-seaters for the first time in GB3 last year, and now expands into GB4.
Alex Walker, who fought for the BRSCC National FF1600 title last year, will return to slicks-and-wings racing and with the aim to take the first GB4 crown. The 18-year-old raced in British F4 in 2019 for four rounds, taking a best finish of eighth. He was set to stay there in 2020 but found F4 too expensive a category continue his single-seater career in so moved into FF1600, but after two contentious clashes cost him the 2021 title he’s now left that category too and made a surprise F4 return.
Jack Sherwood will be his team-mate, and is known to Elite having come 24th in his rookie Ginetta Junior season with the team last year. The 15-year-old has enjoyed seven days of testing prior to round one.
The Daventry-based team had a successful 2021 GB3 campaign with five wins, so is well placed for its move into GB4 with three cars.
Formula Nordic race-winner Elias Adestam fills car one after testing with the team in the off-season. The 15-year-old came third in his home country Sweden’s Formula Renault 1.6-based series in 2021, taking two wins.
His team-mates are Jessica Edgar and Nikolas Taylor. Edgar is the 16-year-old cousin of Red Bull junior Jonny Edgar and steps up from karting. She is the 10th in her family to establish a career in motorsport, with three generations before her.
British-Malaysian driver Taylor, 16, began his karting career in 2017 and joined the Arden-affiliated Young Racing Driver Academy in 2018, undergoing regular simulator training. He has been doing British F4 testing since 2020, but has gone for the cheaper option of GB4 to make his single-seater debut. He set the fastest time in winter testing at Donington Park in mixed weather conditions.
Graham Brunton Racing
Scotland’s top single-seater team will run an all-female, all-Scot two-car line up containing Logan Hannah and Chloe Grant.
The FF1600 mainstay will embark on its slicks-and-wings return with the branding of Laser Tools Racing, which has its own British Touring Car Championship team.
Hannah, currently studying sports psychology, graduates from GBR’s Scottish FFord line-up and already has experience of the GB4 car from two F4 appearances in the United Arab Emirates. She hopes that will give her an edge over the competition.
Grant meanwhile moves into slicks-and-wings racing for the first time after coming 15th in the Junior Saloon Car Championship in 2021, in which she won a scholarship to compete. The 15-year-old from Perth who started Karting in 2013.
Hillspeed currently plans to enter two cars into the full season after initially purchasing a larger fleet of T-014s. It has a long single-seater history, and has recently shown strong form with its GB3 programme.
It previously announced it would skip the season opener as it struggled to sign drivers and put cars back on sale, but two last-minute signings means it lines up at Snetterton with W Series race-winner Megan Gilkes and Max Marzorati.
Kevin Mills Racing
Looking to build on its growing FF1600 successes, KMR enters two cars into GB4.
Tom Mills will race for his father’s eponymous team, and graduates from its FF1600 line-up having finished fourth as a rookie in the National championship last year despite missing round one due to not being the minimum age of 16.
The promising youngster will have to adapt quickly moving to slicks-and-wings, having been racing in FF1600 just a few weeks ago, but leading KMR’s winter testing programme would undoubtedly have got him up to speed quickly.
South African F1600 runer-up Jarrod Waberski wll be his team-mate. He won the national karting championship in his home country in 2018, then stepped into F1600 in 2020. He has done several tests with KMR at Snetterton to prepare himself for his slicks-and-wings debut at the same circuit.
Rossoverde Racing makes a full-time return to single-seaters after competing in sportscar racing for several decades.
Team boss Hector Lester’s son Christian returns to racing as its sole driver, with the 23-year-old having raced sparingly in F4 in Australia and Britain since 2018. There’s plans for a second driver, but no names so far.
Arden, Atlantic Racing , Oldfield Motorsport and Richardson Racing
Canadian team Atlantic Racing had an ambitious plan to field a three-car line-up in GB4, as it returns to racing after being out of competition through the COVID-19 pandemic. But there have been no updates from the team since announcing its entry.
It’s primarily raced sportscars in Asia for the past decade, but does have previous experience in FF1600, FF2000, Formula Renault 2.0, Formula BMW and Indy Pro 2000.
National FF1600 frontrunners Oldfield Motorsport was just as enthusiastic with its entry announcement and it has actually been part of pre-season testing in the UK, and its first venture into Formula 4 was set to start off with at least one car but it hasn’t nailed down a signing in time for the season opener. It has long-term plans to also branch into GB3, and expects prospective drivers have a ‘wait and see’ approach to GB4 that will mean more interest for seats later in the year.
Arden left Formula 2 in 2019 and has since had more focus on British racing programmes with an expansion into GB3 alongside British F4 and Formula Regional European Championship, but it’s yet to reveal its line-up for this weekend. Its some-time British F4 rival Richardson Racing also expressed interest in racing in GB4 season but has same the issue.
JHR Developments‘ team principal Steve Hunter said earlier in the year that “it’s looking like a very popular series and I don’t think it’ll be difficult to get quite a few cars on the grid” for GB4, but does not look set to race at Snetterton.