Australian racer Bart Horsten charged to a sensational second place finish during the final trio of BRDC British F3 races at Silverstone last weekend (7/8 November), rounding out his rookie season with a personal best finish of the year.
The Perth youngster went into the season finale looking to end on a high note, and an inspired tyre gamble and another strong show of overtaking in race two gave him the opportunity to add a third podium finish of his rookie campaign in the highly-competitive championship.
Testing showed Horsten's commitment and pace around the full-length Silverstone Grand Prix layout, however he found himself fighting an oversteering car through the high-speed sections in qualifying on Saturday morning. He battled the handling issues to out-qualify his team-mates and secure 14th on the grid for the first and third races of the weekend.
The opening race of the meeting later that Saturday was a different story as Horsten showed his racing abilities right from the moment the lights went out. Looking to make up ground, he swept by numerous rivals - including making a daring three-wide overtaking on two cars into Brooklands - and soon climbed up into the top 10 with a rapid restart from a late safety car interruption.
A retirement ahead of him and a fine defensive performance for the remainder of the race ensured he came home six places better off in eighth by the flag, meaning he would start from 10th on the grid for the reverse grid contest the following morning.
Backed by sponsors The Web Guys, Kapow Your Super Business Coach, CKD Shop, Camino Coaching and EP Warmfloor, the Young Racing Driver Academy star was greeted by fog and greasy track conditions, meaning a tyre decision was key. Slicks were chosen by the Lanan Racing man, and he charged into the top four in a matter of minutes, chasing after the top three and moving into the podium positions shortly after.
With one lap remaining, Horsten sat third in a six-car dice for the win, and timed a spectacular dummy at Brooklands to perfection to dive inside Nazim Azman under braking and secure his best result of the season with second spot, his third visit to the podium in 2020.
Unfortunately race three was a different story, as the Australian was involved in a first-lap incident that damaged his car's front-left suspension on the open lap of the final contest, forcing him to retire.
He did however score enough points to maintain a place in the top 10 in the final championship standings, capping off his rookie season in 10th overall.
Bart Horsten: "The car was quite difficult to drive this weekend and we've been trying to get it to work for the last couple of meetings, so I was on the limit in qualifying with a bit of oversteer in the faster corners!
"In race two we finally got the pace we wanted and I felt we were fast enough to even win that one if we had started higher. We saw some other teams changing to slicks and we decided to go that way too, which was definitely the right call, and it felt great. I tried a few times to get past Azman and then got a good run to be able to try the move which paid off.
"I think we now know where we are, so it's just a case of getting back on it over the winter and pushing in every department that we can. I'll be working hard on fitness, and getting back on the simulators to work on my racing. I'll be back to e-sports while I can and try to gain more experience and catch up to the faster gamers to test myself more.
"For next year, we'll see what comes really. We've got the experience under our belts now at least, so we'll see what we can get for next season to go again. I feel I was capable of more, but we still managed to grab podiums and run towards the front."
Image from Jakob Ebrey Photography.