An international line-up heads to the majestic Brands Hatch Grand Prix circuit this weekend (27/28 July) for rounds 13, 14 and 15 of the BRDC Formula 4 Championship, but it’s the British contingent that leads the way as the series heads into the second half of its inaugural season.
With Andy Murray at Wimbledon, Chris Froome in the Tour de France, British Lions’ glory down under, England knocking the Australians all over the cricket field, now the theme of great British sporting success continues with BRDC Formula 4.
There have been eight winners from the 12 races held so far, with all of those coming from British drivers. Motionsport’s Ross Gunn was the latest to add his name to the lengthening list, after the 16 year old, one of the youngest drivers on this year’s grid, soared to victory in race three last time out at Oulton Park.
He joins Matt Bell, Jake Dalton, Jack Barlow, Charlie Robertson, James Fletcher, Struan Moore and Jake Hughes who have all claimed wins so far this year.
Barlow claimed his second win of the season at Oulton Park in race one, while Matt Bell became the first man to claim three race victories in F4 after storming to glory in race two.
But don’t rule out F4’s overseas stars, with South Africa’s Raoul Hyman, American Falco Wauer, Brazilians Gustavo Lima and Pietro Fittipaldi, and Mexican Diego Menchaca continuing to push the front runners, with Poland’s Gosia Rdest, Malaysian Rahul Mayer and China’s Zou Sirui making strong progress.
The championship though couldn’t be closer. Just six points cover leader Dalton and second placed Hughes, equivalent to a 15th place finish. Hillspeed’s Seb Morris is just eight points further back as the standings once again concertinaed up in Cheshire.
That has been a common feature of this season, with no fewer than five changes of the lead at the top of the championship as the early initiative fell to Bell, then Morris, Dalton, Robertson and back to Dalton.
“After a difficult last few rounds I’m looking to bounce back to form” Dalton says ominously. “Brands Hatch was great for me last time and hopefully I can repeat that again. The championship is so tight and I’m surprised to be leading after all the dramas that have happened to me over the last rounds.”
Second placed Hughes also plans to come out fighting at Brands. “Our car is really fast in the races, we just need to find a better way of utilising the tyres more in qualifying because once we’re in clean air we are very, very quick. So starting from the front will make it a lot easier for me!
“I can’t wait to race on the Brands Hatch GP circuit. From a fan’s point of view it looks like such a pleasure to drive and I can’t imagine that opinion will change once I drive it! It’s a proper drivers’ circuit.”
Meanwhile, several drivers count Brands Hatch as their local round including Jack Barlow, Daniel Headlam and Charlie Robertson.
“It’s going to be great being back at Brands, we’ll have a lot of local support coming along and if we can have anything like the weekend we had when we were on the Indy Circuit I’ll be delighted”, said Robertson, from Whyteleafe in Surrey. “Everyone at HHC is hungry to be back on the top step of the podium and that’s what I’m aiming for next weekend. More than that though, we need to score as heavily as we can to move back up the championship.”
SWR’s Barlow, from Pett in East Sussex, added: “My pace was so strong at Oulton Park, despite never having driven it. I’m hoping I’ll be able to pick up the pace just as quickly as Brands and we can definitely aim for wins and podiums.”
Lanan Racing’s Headlam commented: “I made leaps forward in terms of pace at Oulton Park. I want to continue that at Brands Hatch, and our main focus is to improve our qualifying as our speed in races has been pretty good so far.”
The F4 drivers put on a scintillating show on the Brands Hatch Indy circuit when the championship last visited Kent in May, and with the cars able to stretch their legs further on the ultra quick Grand Prix circuit, the racing this weekend should be fast, furious and completely unpredictable!