Bart Horsten Lowers Lap Records In GB3 Season Finale At Donington Park
Bart Horsten broke the race lap record at Donington Park as he narrowly missed out on a fourth podium finish of the year in the season finale, sealing a top six position in the final GB3 Championship drivers' standings.
The 19-year-old, backed by The Web Guys and Time and More UK with Briston Watches, returned to the Leicestershire circuit for the second time this season looking to grab his maiden victory in the championship.
Horsten signaled his intent in testing leading up to the weekend. Over a combined eight test sessions under sunny skies, his pace was superb, topping three of the four outings on Thursday with a time that dipped under the official lap record.
The Hitech GP driver entered qualifying in high spirits and a quick early effort put the Australian up into the top spot in a one-two for the team. Trading the top spot with Zak O'Sullivan and team-mate Reece Ushijima for much of qualifying, Horsten appeared on course to take a double pole position, but a late effort from the former demoted Horsten to second on the grid by just 0.033s.
Starting from the front row of the grid for the opening race, Horsten sadly suffered very light contact from a lunging car at the first corner. The tangle subsequently resulted in a puncture and two unscheduled trips to the pit lane that ruined his race, Horsten pumping in a fastest lap good enough to break the lap record as a small consolation.
The weather took a turn the following day for race two, both of Sunday's races televised live on Sky Sports F1.
A sodden race two started behind the safety car, Horsten settling into third after a tricky first lap for all drivers in the weekend's worst conditions. Horsten kept up the pressure on his team-mate Ushijima for second spot, but struggled for grip in the final laps as he would be forced to settle for fourth place after a battle with Christian Mansell.
The EP Warmfloor, Carl Ford Accountancy and Kapow! Your Personal Brand and Business Coach-backed driver had one final opportunity in drying conditions, hoping to charge from the rear of the field from a starting spot of 20th on the grid.
A frenetic opening handful of laps resulted in Horsten and his usual rivals chopping and changing spots throughout the rear half of the field, the former British F4 race winner showing his overtaking prowess in the second half of the race by climbing places towards the top 10.
Avoiding a lurid Mansell at Old Hairpin, bold overtaking moves on several drivers around the outside of Redgate and the inside of Craner Curves moved Horsten to the 11th at the chequered flag.
The results meant Horsten finished the 2021 season sixth in the final Drivers' Championship standings, with two pole positions to his name alongside three fastest laps and a trio of podium finishes.
Bart Horsten:“It's been a mixed weekend as we showed what we could do without really getting the result we knew we were capable of. I think the lap record showed that and our qualifying pace too.
"The potential was maybe two wins in the first two races, and we could have done that from pole if the red flags hadn't intervened. Contact at turn one caused a puncture in race one which was not ideal, and then in race two we went in a bit too hard I think on the tyres, which meant Christian could basically drive past me.
"Race three was very interesting. I'm happy I finished without damage and a good position from where we started. I took my chances, and collected good points.
"We've definitely shown our pace this season, even if the win eluded us. We've got a lot to be proud of, so thank you to all of my sponsors and the Hitech GP team for their support this year."
Image from Jakob Ebrey Photography.