• Luigi Sebastiano De Blasi

GB3 | Review: Clean Sweep at Silverstone for Simmons, O'Sullivan OK

Updated: Aug 17

In the first weekend of GB3 without the British GT the show was not missing. The rain tried to play its part too on Saturday and actually succeeded in its intentions. What follows is a resume of this weekend's on-track-action.

Ayrton Simmons after Race 2 | © 1999-2021 Jakob Ebrey Photography

Qualifying started with some slight rain falling on track, while the track still being good for slick tyres. As soon as the first laptimes appeared on the board, the rain intensified. In the space of a few minutes the conditions changed drastically and it was only a matter of luck for some drivers: many of them pitted for wet tyres after the first minutes and Hitech's Sebastián Álvarez (MEX) initially took advantage of that as he topped the timesheets.

At about five minutes later though, the track looked a lot drier, albeit the radars were forecasting other showers. All those drivers who had previously pitted for wet tyres, came back in the pits for some sets of dries. Fortec's Oliver Bearman (UK) surprisingly made it two pole positions in a row after Snetterton 300! Dittmann's Ayrton Simmons (UK) got pole for Race 2, having set the second-fastest lap of the session, as previewed by the rules. Sadly after Qualifying, Elite's José Garfias (MEX) had to withdraw from the entire event with health issues, we hope to see him back in action next time. Douglas' Reema Juffali (SAU) was also absent, but no reason was officially released on this.

Qualifying result:

1. Oliver Bearman, Fortec Motorsports, 2m07.074s

2. Ayrton Simmons, Chris Dittmann Racing, +0.159s

3. Frederick Lubin, Arden Motorsport, +0.666s

4. Jonathan Browne, Hillspeed, +0.940s

5. Christian Mansell, Carlin, +1.064s

6. Bart Horsten, Hitech GP, +1.088s

7. Tom Lebbon, Elite Motorsport, +1.326s

8. Zak O’Sullivan, Carlin, +1.327s

9. Roberto Faria, Fortec Motorsports, +1.473s

10. Branden Lee Oxley, Chris Dittmann Racing, +1.630s

11. Mikkel Grundtvig, Fortec Motorsports, +1.818s

12. Sebastián Álvarez, Hitech GP, +2.427s

13. Bryce Aron, Carlin, +2.683s

14. Roman Bilinski, Arden Motorsport, +2.958s

15. José Garfias, Elite Motorsport, +3.439s

16. Reece Ushijima, Hitech GP, +4.196s

17. Javier Sagrera, Elite Motorsport, +4.378s

18. Tommy Smith, Douglas Motorsport, +5.718s

Race 1's start | © 1999-2021 Jakob Ebrey Photography

Race 1: Ready-go and Ollie Bearman has already lost a wheel! He looked very slow right after the lights, as he got passed in a few metres by Simmons and lost a lot of gap to him. On the following lap, one of his tyres flew away from his car: he had to stop and the safety car came out. Presumably that tyre had not been fitted properly before the race. At the end of lap 2, Elite's Tom Lebbon (UK) came in the pits for repairs. The damage was presumably caused by a collision with Hitech's Reece Ushijima (JP), for which Lebbon was given a 10-seconds-time-penalty and three licence penalty points after the race.

At the restart, Fortec's Roberto Faria (BRA) - who had started P9 - looked unbeatable: he overtook two cars in two laps, got to P2 and was setting fastest lap after fastest lap to reduce the gap from the leader. The two cars overtaken were Carlin's Christian Mansell (AUS) first, and then Hillspeed's Jonathan Browne (IRE), amazingly in the top spots on his debut race.

Reece Ushijima and Carlin's Zak O'Sullivan (UK) came together once again! But his time it was thanks to Ushijima's team-mate Sebastián Álvarez (MEX). No footage was released on what happened, but this was the aftermath: Ushijima could continue - even if at the end of the pack of the other cars - while the other two had to come in for repairs. O'Sullivan and Álvarez suffered a rear puncture and a broken front wing respectively. After the race Álvarez was found guilty and was hence handed a five place grid penalty and three licence penalty points. The Mexican will serve the grid penalty at Race 3, as on Race 2 he does not start high up enough for the full penalty to be served. Tough luck.

Ayrton Simmons won! Faria had to settle down for P2 just one second behind, although being the quickest driver on track. The newcomer Jonathan Browne gets a podium on his debut - which is an amazing result for his team Hillspeed too, back to GB3 after a long time!

Race 1 result:

1. Ayrton Simmons, Chris Dittmann Racing, 9 laps

2. Roberto Faria, Fortec Motorsports, +1.105s

3. Jonathan Browne, Hillspeed, +5.034s

4. Christian Mansell, Carlin, +6.000s

5. Frederick Lubin, Arden Motorsport, +6.379s

6. Branden Lee Oxley, Chris Dittmann Racing, +7.770s

7. Bart Horsten, Hitech GP, +8.154s

8. Roman Bilinski, Arden Motorsport, +8.888s

9. Javier Sagrera, Elite Motorsport, +10.688s

10. Bryce Aron, Carlin, +11.805s

11. Mikkel Grundtvig, Fortec Motorsports, +17.304s

12. Tommy Smith, Douglas Motorsport, +18.169s

13. Reece Ushijima, Hitech GP, +18.435s

14. Tom Lebbon, Elite Motorsport, +19.579s*

15. Zak O’Sullivan, Carlin, +1m00.517s

16. Sebastián Álvarez, Hitech GP, +1m17.158s

DNF. Oliver Bearman, Fortec Motorsports, 1 lap completed

*10-seconds-penalty for causing a collision

Race 2 grid:

1. Ayrton Simmons, Chris Dittmann Racing, 2m07.432s

2. Oliver Bearman, Fortec Motorsports, +1.088s

3. Roberto Faria, Fortec Motorsports, +1.158s

4. Zak O’Sullivan, Carlin, +1.311s

5. Branden Lee Oxley, Chris Dittmann Racing, +1.570s

6. Bart Horsten, Hitech GP, +1.728s

7. Frederick Lubin, Arden Motorsport, +1.835s

8. Jonathan Browne, Hillspeed, +2.230s

9. Tom Lebbon, Elite Motorsport, +2.243s

10. Bryce Aron, Carlin, +2.327s

11. Mikkel Grundtvig, Fortec Motorsports, +2.730s

12. Christian Mansell, Carlin, +2.852s

13. Roman Bilinski, Arden Motorsport, +2.864s

14. Jose Garfias, Elite Motorsport, +3.606s

15. Reece Ushijima, Hitech GP, +3.906s

16. Sebastián Álvarez, Hitech GP, +4.141s

17. Javier Sagrera, Elite Motorsport, +4.452s

18. Tommy Smith, Douglas Motorsport, +6.418s

Right after its start, Race 2 saw a group of four cars fly away from the rest of the field: Simmons, Bearman, Faria & O'Sullivan respectively. And this was how the first four ended at the chequered, with Simmons making it two out of two. The show was further back in the mix and it was pretty much in the last lap of the race: after that the two of them went side by side at Copse, Hitech's Bart Horsten (AUS) got P5 on Dittmann's Branden Oxley (UK). Furthermore, Álvarez caused a collision with Lebbon on the last lap, with 10 seconds being added to Álvarez's result, meaning he lost two places.

Race 2 result:

1. Ayrton Simmons, Chris Dittmann Racing, 10 laps

2. Oliver Bearman, Fortec Motorsports, +0.676s

3. Roberto Faria, Fortec Motorsports, +1.508s

4. Zak O’Sullivan, Carlin, +2.198s

5. Bart Horsten, Hitech GP, +12.249s

6. Branden Lee Oxley, Chris Dittmann Racing, +13.447s

7. Javier Sagrera, Elite Motorsport, +13.999s

8. Reece Ushijima, Hitech GP, +15.984s

9. Christian Mansell, Carlin, +16.496s

10. Frederick Lubin, Arden Motorsport, +16.632s

11. Bryce Aron, Carlin, +17.987s

12. Jonathan Browne, Hillspeed, +18.274s

13. Mikkel Grundtvig, Fortec Motorsports, +21.808s

14. Tom Lebbon, Elite Motorsport, +23.424s

15. Tommy Smith, Douglas Motorsport, +24.178s

16. Sebastián Álvarez, Hitech GP, +32.280s

DNF. Roman Bilinski, Arden Motorsport, 8 laps completed

From left to right: Ayrton Simmons & John Cavill, founder of the Jack Cavill's (his father) Pole Position Cup | © 1999-2021 Jakob Ebrey Photography

This is how Simmons felt after his two wins: "We saw signs of pace on Thursday and Friday and we just put it all together in qualifying and the races. We were about six tenths behind the Fortec guys on Friday, so we really worked hard overnight to try and turn it around and we did, so I can’t thank the CDR boys enough.

(In Race 1) The plan was to try and get Ollie (Bearman) off the line and try and pull out a gap after and we did just that. I’m very happy with the way things went, after that, the balance was amazing, so a big thank you to the team and I’m very happy with my driving as well.

My start wasn’t brilliant but it was still good enough to go alongside him into turn one, and after that, next time I checked my mirrors I was so far ahead, so I was a bit devastated when the safety car came out! But it is what it is, and it was called for the right reasons.

There’s still a long way to go in the season and we’ve bounced back well since Brands and our dip in form. I think we’ve got our mojo back, which is good!

It [Race 2] was constant pressure. At first I thought they (Bearman & Faria) may have a bit more pace towards the end or I might be a bit quicker in the beginning but once I got into a rhythm and got my head down, I was just focusing purely on what I had to do. I pulled enough of a gap to half break the tow and it was enough.”

Race 3 grid:

1. Roman Bilinski, Arden Motorsport

2. Bryce Aron, Carlin

3. Mikkel Grundtvig, Fortec Motorsports

4. Branden Lee Oxley, Chris Dittmann Racing

5. Roberto Faria, Fortec Motorsports

6. Zak O’Sullivan, Carlin

7. Tom Lebbon, Elite Motorsport

8. Sebastian Alvarez, Hitech GP

9. Bart Horsten, Hitech GP

10. Christian Mansell, Carlin

11. Jonathan Browne, Hillspeed

12. Frederick Lubin, Arden Motorsport

13. Ayrton Simmons, Chris Dittmann Racing

14. Oliver Bearman, Fortec Motorsports

15. Reece Ushijima, Hitech GP

16. Javier Sagrera, Elite Motorsport

17. Tommy Smith, Douglas Motorsport

The Pole Arden's Roman Bilinski (POL) started Race 3… on pole: although being in theory the reversed result from Race 1's grid, he was the last driver in qualifying within the 103% time limit behind Bearman's pole. After the start Oxley had recovered one place and was hence P3, six for Ushijima in 9th, two for Bearman in 12th and four lost for Simmons P17. On the following lap, O'Sullivan - started sixth - got his team-mate Bryce Aron (US) for P4.

sebmotors.info's TikTok Recap

The first three crashing out: On lap 5, the four leading cars - Bilinski, Faria, Oxley & O'Sullivan - were really close to one another. O'Sullivan in particular was pressurising. What happened then is that Oxley crashed with Faria, sending the Brazilian into Bilinski's way. On the one hand, both Faria and Bilinski retired, with the Brazilian stopping on track and the Polish coming in the pits with a damaged car. On the other hand, the two revenants of the group could go forward: the involved Oxley was P2 while O'Sullivan said "thank you very much indeed" and was so handed the race lead from being P4. After the race - albeit finishing P2 and going on the podium - Oxley was disqualified.

Race 3 result:

1. Zak O’Sullivan, Carlin, 10 laps

2. Bart Horsten, Hitech GP, +8.651s

3. Sebastián Álvarez, Hitech GP, +9.255s

4. Oliver Bearman, Fortec Motorsports, +9.929s (started 14th)

5. Tom Lebbon, Elite Motorsport, +11.296s

6. Reece Ushijima, Hitech GP, +11.570s

7. Bryce Aron, Carlin, +12.469s

8. Christian Mansell, Carlin, +12.972s

9. Frederick Lubin, Arden Motorsport, +16.323s

10. Mikkel Grundtvig, Fortec Motorsports, +16.726s

11. Ayrton Simmons, Chris Dittmann Racing, +16.863s

12. Javier Sagrera, Elite Motorsport, +17.224s

13. Jonathan Browne, Hillspeed, +17.384s

14. Tommy Smith, Douglas Motorsport, +17.841s

DNF. Roman Bilinski, Arden Motorsport, 5 laps completed

DNF. Roberto Faria, Fortec Motorsports, 4 laps completed

DSQ. Branden Lee Oxley, Chris Dittmann Racing

O'Sullivan thanked, won and found himself 108 points in front of anyone else, as you can see in the standings below. Bearman ended P4 and was the driver who gained the most places: 10 in total. There were two last lap moves, as Mansell passed Fortec's Mikkel Grundtvig (DK) for P9 and Simmons did the same on Elite's Javier Sagrera (ESP) for P12. In the standings, P3 Bobby Faria is not too far from Mansell: 8 points. Simmons made a big step and is now P4 while it is P5 for Ushijima after a poor weekend. After a solid and consistent weekend, Horsten made his way onto P6. In the Constructors', Fortec made the move on Arden for P3!

GB3 Drivers' Standings:

1 Zak O'Sullivan 🇬🇧 Carlin 399

2 Christian Mansell 🇦🇺 Carlin 291

3 Roberto Faria 🇧🇷 Fortec 283

4 Ayrton Simmons 🇬🇧 Dittmann 276

5 Reece Ushijima 🇯🇵 Hitech 271

6 Bart Horsten 🇦🇺 Hitech 243

7 Sebastián Álvarez 🇲🇽 Hitech 226

8 Roman Bilinski 🇵🇱 Arden 221

9 Tom Lebbon 🇬🇧 Elite 215

10 Javier Sagrera 🇪🇦 Elite 206

11 Frederick Lubin 🇬🇧 Arden 179

12 Bryce Aron 🇺🇲 Carlin 178

13 Oliver Bearman 🇬🇧 Fortec 163

14 Mikkel Grundtvig 🇩🇰 Fortec 148

15 Alex Connor 🇬🇧 Arden 138

16 José Garfias 🇲🇽 Elite 117

17 Max Marzorati 🇬🇧 Dittmann 78

18 Dexter Patterson 🇬🇧 Douglas 70

19 Reema Juffali 🇸🇦 Douglas 69

20 Branden Lee Oxley 🇬🇧 Dittmann 64

21 Jonathan Browne 🇮🇪 Hillspeed 36

22 Hunter Yeany 🇺🇲 Fortec 36

23 Tommy Smith 🇦🇺 Douglas 36

24 Alex Fores 🇬🇧 Dittmann 0

sebmotors.info's U17 award:

1 Zak O'Sullivan 🇬🇧 Carlin 399

GB3 Constructors’ Standings:

1 Carlin 🇬🇧 716

2 Hitech GP 🇬🇧 626

3 Fortec Motorsport 🇬🇧 569

4 Arden Motorsport 🇬🇧 538

5 Elite Motorsport 🇬🇧 471

6 Chris Dittmann Racing 🇬🇧 418

7 Douglas Motorsport 🇬🇧 175

8 Hillspeed 🇬🇧 36

Zak O'Sullivan after Race 3

Next round will be the penultimate of the year at Oulton Park on September 11th! As long as my calculations are right, Zak O'Sullivan will have his first match point there for closing the dhampionship debate. All eyes on the prize!

Do not forget to follow sebmotors.info for the rest of the British F3 season also on Twitter, TikTok, Instagram & other social platforms here: https://linktr.ee/sebmotors.info !

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