Home Formula 3GB3 John Bennett tops GB3 post-season test day at Donington Park

John Bennett tops GB3 post-season test day at Donington Park

by Ida Wood

Photo: Jakob Ebrey Photography

GB3 and GB4 held a post-season test day on Donington Park’s Grand Prix layout this Sunday, with John Bennett setting the pace for JHR Developments.

Bennett raced for Rodin Carlin in GB3 this season, and came 10th in the standings with a podium and two poles. He was one of eight drivers in action at the test, with only three of GB3’s teams present.

The morning session began with Bennett setting a 1m37.661s lap, with Arden VRD’s Noah Ping bringing the pace down into the 1m35s and then 1m34s before team-mate Nikita Johnson took over at the top.

Johnson was first to lap in the 1m33s, and spent 10 minutes trading first place with Bennett as they each improved their pace. Johnson set a 1m32.745s that stood as the fastest lap for 22 minutes before Hillspeed’s Flynn Jackes bettered it by 0.073s. Jackes contested a single GB3 round for Hillspeed at Donington in 2021.

Shawn Rashid was next to the top times for Arden VRD, and with four improvements he brought the pace own to 1m30.437s. JHR’s Josh Irfan became the first to go sub-1m30s, then Bennett in three successive laps set a 1m29.458s, a 1m29.161s and then a 1m27.769s.

That kept him on top for 16 minutes until Jackes set a 1m27.186s, then Johnson lowered the pace four laps in a row to establish a new benchmark of 1m26.305s.

In the time left of the session several drivers were able to beat that, with Jackes the first to do so. Ping then broke into the 1m25s, but was beaten to first place to the tune of 0.197s by Jackes.

Fourth fastest was Chinese Formula 4 race-winner Kaishun Liu, who only set 14 laps for Hillspeed and was 2.205s off the pace. Bennett was fifth, and Irfan was 4.336s slower than Jackes in sixth.

Two GB4 drivers joined the action, with Arden’s Leon Wilson going fastest with a 1m36.672s lap.

There were only two names who topped the times for GB3 in the three-hour afternoon session, and laptimes were immediately quicker. Bennett’s first benchmark was a 1m26.8s, which was swiftly beaten by Irfan’s 1m25.403s. But Bennett responded with a 1m24.227s, and improved eight more times over the course of the session to keep himself in first place.

His best effort, a 1m22.874s, put him over half a second clear of fellow JHR driver and former Mercedes-AMG Formula 1 junior Daniel Guinchard in second place. Everyone set their personal bests in the afternoon, and it was a far closer session too with 0.822s covering the top five. Jackes propped up the timesheet, 1.736s off the pace.

Test results

Pos Driver Team Time Gap Laps
1 John Bennett JHR Developments 1m22.874s 82
2 Daniel Guinchard JHR Developments 1m23.382s +0.508s 79
3 Josh Irfan JHR Developments 1m23.456s +0.582s 83
4 Nikita Johnson Arden VRD 1m23.482s +0.608s 83
5 Noah Ping Arden VRD 1m23.696s +0.822s 79
6 Shawn Rashid Arden VRD 1m23.919s +1.045s 76
7 Kaishun Liu Hillspeed 1m24.061s +1.187s 56
8 Flynn Jackes Hillspeed 1m24.610s +1.736s 69
1 Leon Wilson Arden 1m31.223s 79
2 Jasmine Shaw KMR Sport 1m40.048s +8.825s 84