Aiden Neate went fastest for Fortec Motorsports in a British Formula 4 test day at Thruxton on Wednesday.
Neate has spent the last two years in British F4, winning twice in 2022 with Argenti Motorsport. This January he stepped up to Formula Regional with Prema in the Middle East championship, and came 12th in the standings with one podium. He was then signed up to the Alpine Academy, but has not announced what his main racing programme for this year will be.
Fortec was at Thruxton without Mika Abrahams, one of the drivers it has signed for the upcoming British F4 season, and Neate was effectively taking his place in the team’s second car for the test.
He started the test with a 0.134-second margin in a damp session one, with Hitech GP’s William Macintyre his closest opposition. Macintyre’s team-mates James Piszyck and Gabriel Stilp were also within three tenths of the pace, and in total 12 drivers were able to get within a second of the experienced Neate’s benchmark laptime.
Stilp was another of the unsigned additions to the entry list, as well as former Sauber junior Sonny Smith (Argenti Motorsport), karter Rowan Campbell-Pulling and ROKiT Racing Star winner Monica Boulton Ramos (both JHR Developments).
Neate lowered the pace to 1m10.893s in session two, putting him 0.384s clear of Macintyre. Piszyck and Deagaen Fairclough, another ROKiT Racing Star winner, were over 0.52s back in third and fourth, with only the top 10 covered by a second this time on a drier track.
Rain arrived for session three, and seven drivers opted to stay in the garage for the duration. Of the 15 that headed out to complete a lap, only 11 actually set flying laps and Neate was the only one of those not to do one at a representative pace.
Dion Gowda led a Rodin Carlin 1-2-3 with a 1m13.489s lap, with team-mates Louis Sharp and Josh Irfan 0.226s and 0.232s back respectively, while Smith 0.297s behind in fourth and the last of the drivers to lap sub-1m14s.
The track was even wetter, and therefore slower, for session four and Piszyck pipped Macintyre to top spot by 0.107s. This time drivers did utilise the track time, with Sharp and Gowda setting 23 laps each.
Sunlight helped dry out the track during session five, which Sharp topped by 0.298s over Gowda. There was a spread of 0.981s on pace covering the top 12 drivers, and Sharp was one of seven who beat their personal bests from session two to sit second fastest overall for the day.
|1||Aiden Neate||Fortec Motorsports||1m10.893s||19|
|3||William Macintyre||Hitech GP||1m11.277s||+0.384s||17|
|4||James Piszcyk||Hitech GP||1m11.421s||+0.528s||16|
|5||Deagen Fairclough||JHR Developments||1m11.423s||+0.530s||14|
|6||Daniel Guinchard||Chris Dittmann Racing||1m11.484s||+0.591s||20|
|8||Sonny Smith||Argenti Motorsport||1m11.596s||+0.703s||16|
|9||James Higgins||Fortec Motorsports||1m11.650s||+0.757s||20|
|10||Gabriel Stilp||Hitech GP||1m11.654s||+0.761s||19|
|11||Kanato Le||Hitech GP||1m11.655s||+0.762s||16|
|13||Patrick Heuzenroeder||Argenti Motorsport||1m12.027s||+1.134s||16|
|14||Jack Sherwood||Chris Dittmann Racing||1m12.027s||+1.134s||7|
|15||Gustav Jonsson||Chris Dittmann Racing||1m12.074s||+1.181s||17|
|16||Aqil Alibhai||Virtuosi Racing||1m12.111s||+1.218s||19|
|17||Rowan Campbell-Pilling||JHR Developments||1m12.227s||+1.334s||19|
|18||Jaden Pariat||Argenti Motorsport||1m12.258s||+1.365s||3|
|19||Isaac Baraschi||Argenti Motorsport||1m12.539s||+1.646s||17|
|20||Kai Daryanani||Virtuosi Racing||1m12.876s||+1.983s||13|
|21||Dowe Dedecker||Virtuosi Racing||1m13.737s||+2.844s||14|
|22||Monica Boulton Ramos||JHR Developments||1m14.204s||+3.311s||11|