Joseph Loake said it was “special” to win on his GB3 debut in Saturday’s season-opener at Oulton Park, but admits it won’t be easy to maintain that form.
The JHR Developments driver stormed to a double pole in qualifying and converted the first of those into a lights-to-flag victory ahead of team-mate Matthew Rees.
“It was a really comfortable win in the end,” Loake told Formula Scout. “I managed to pull out the gap from the start, lights-to-flag, obviously exactly how we wanted it to go and I’m really happy.
“This is my home track. I’ve got all my friends and family here so to be able to put such a good result in with all of them supporting me is a really proud moment.”
The 17-year old’s triumph follows some late form in his sophomore British Formula 4 campaign last year having struggled initially, taking four wins in the second half of the season. And he said adapting on the step up to a GB3 car has been much smoother.
“We came off the back of quite a good second half of F4. I’m just really happy to covert pole into the win, it’s just the best way we can start.
“I only picked up my first pole in single-seaters at the final round in F4 last year. To come straight back and do it again in a completely new car against a lot of people that were here last year is quite special.
“The whole of F4 [in 2022] was a learning year and when I wasn’t getting the results I expected of myself I wasn’t thinking about why we were off [the pace], I just said ‘I did this wrong and let’s improve that.’
“It took a while to get confidence in the car but I knew what I needed to do to be quick. I just managed to switch it on straight away in this car.”
JHR’s strong performance at Oulton – which also included a front-row lockout in qualifying – has come despite some very close pre-season testing throughout the field. And Loake thinks the competition will still be very tight over the season.
“It shows we’ve got it right as a team,” he said. “It might not be this plain sailing throughout the year. We’ve definitely started off strongly.
“We are fighting against some very good teams so the fact that we can not only challenge them but beat them is quite a statement from myself and the team as well. Having a one-two in the first race is definitely a good start but it’s going to be hard to maintain that throughout the year.”
Loake will start from pole again in race two at Oulton on Monday before starting at the back of the field for the fully-reversed grid race, which will be a slightly longer 25-minute format.