As the conclusion of the GB3 season approaches, a trio of current competitors were in FIA Formula 3 testing action at Jerez this week, as they explore options for next year and beyond.
Championship challenger Joel Granfors, plus race winners Max Esterson and Roberto Faria all sampled the next step up at the Spanish circuit, with Granfors and Faria present for all three days of the test, while Esterson participated in the final two.
Granfors, testing with Carlin, proved the fastest of the three drivers, with his best time of 1m30.647s coming in the morning of the second day, and only just over a second off the overall best time of the entire test.
Esterson experienced Van Amersfoort machinery, less than a year after graduating from Formula Ford, and set his best time on Friday morning. His fastest lap of 1m30.769s was only a tenth of a second off Granfors.
Faria switched from Van Amersfoort to ART Grand Prix for the final two days, and his quickest effort of 1m31.228s came on Thursday morning. The Brazilian made the biggest gains across the test, improving his lap time by 1.8 seconds compared to his first day time.
They weren’t the only GB3/BRDC British F3 alumni in action, as four other graduates, all with FIA F3 experience, participated at Jerez.
2021 GB3 champion Zak O’Sullivan was a standout performer in FIA F3 this year, taking a pole position and a couple of podiums. He showed his speed for Prema by being the fastest graduate and only four tenths of a second away from Garbriel Bortoleto’s overall best time.
His championship-winning predecessor Kaylen Frederick was only 0.015s off his time driving for ART, while another 2021 graduate, Reece Ushijima reunited with Hitech and was also quick across the three days.
Christian Mansell, a GB3 race-winner in 2021, made his FIA F3 race debut midway through this season and was within a second of the outright pace, driving for Campos.
This year’s GB3 champion will receive an FIA F3 prize test with Carlin and Hitech, with Luke Browning currently leading the standings and in line for the prize, with Granfors the only driver able to snatch it away from him. The GB3 Championship will be decided at Donington Park on 15-16 October.