Fortec Motorsport were mainstays in the top-ten on a rain-affected first trip of the 2023 season to the full Grand Prix circuit at Silverstone last weekend [6-7 May].
The Daventry-based team made the relatively short trip to the 3.6-mile Northamptonshire venue looking to build on a first podium of the campaign, earned at the Oulton Park season opener over Easter weekend a month prior.
After promising pace across two dry days of running in pre-event testing, the field were met with heavy rain on Saturday for qualifying.
That hampered the pace of the team’s trio in a session also hampered by red flags, with Jarrod Waberski the leading car in eighth, his team-mates Max Esterson and Edward Pearson following in P12 and P17 respectively, in spite of having to abort quicker efforts.
All three cars did well to finish and score points in a torrentially wet first race, Waberski leading home Esterson and Pearson in P10, P13 and P18. To give a flavour for severity of the conditions, the remainder of the afternoon’s action at Silverstone was cancelled shortly after.
In drier conditions on Sunday, the team were able to put in a showing closer to their true pace. Waberski, having slipped back slightly at the start, was able to rally after a mid-race safety car and rounded out the top five runners, with Esterson similarly gaining ground to move up to P8.
Pearson was forced to pit with wing damage whilst battling his way through the midfield, but re-joined the fray and took the chequered flag in P21, just outside the points.
Waberski had been running strongly inside the top ten once more in a chaotic reverse grid finale, but an electronics issue late on forced the South African to retire, with Esterson similarly in the wars after pitting for a new wing and re-joining a lap down.
That left Pearson as the sole breadwinner for the team in P12, with all three now keen to move forward and look to the next event, which takes place at the world-famous Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps on 3-4 June.
View from the Cockpit
Jarrod Waberski (#20) said:
“Overall, it was an up and down weekend. We raced in all different weather conditions, which I haven’t experienced, so it was a big learning curve.
“We were quite unlucky to catch traffic in qualifying, and super unlucky with the electronics issue in Race 3, which forced me to retire when the pace was looking strong.
“But as always, a massive thanks to everyone at Fortec for all their hard work throughout the weekend, especially in the tough conditions, and we’ll go again at Spa.”
Edward Pearson (#41) said:
“There is no getting away from the fact that it’s been a tough weekend at Silverstone.
“On the back of the podium finish at Oulton Park, I was hoping to try and fight for some strong results this weekend but for various reasons, things just didn’t go my way.”
“Motorsport is full of highs and lows and it’s just a shame that Silverstone was one of the lows. However, there are still things that we have been able to learn this weekend that will benefit us in the rounds to come, so we’ve just got to put this one behind us, reset, and then look to come out fighting when we head to Spa.”
Max Esterson (#42) said:
“Qualifying wasn’t what we wanted, there was a lot of traffic in the session which cost us some time out there.
“Race 1 was tough, with extremely low visibility in the wet conditions, which held us back. We made good progress in Race 2, and had the pace to start picking people off. It was good, hard racing and finishing four spots higher than we started definitely showed our true colours.
“It was gutting to end the weekend in the way we did, having to pit with damage in Race 3, but it all stems from that bad luck in qualifying, sadly. We’ve got the speed, now we just need the breaks at Spa!”
Oliver Dutton, Team Principal said:
“It was a difficult weekend for the GB3 team, but I’m really happy with how everybody came together to get the best out of a tough situation.
“For the second event in a row, we came unstuck in qualifying, but the weather, being in the wrong pit bay and traffic are all difficult things to predict in advance.
“It really does set the tone for the weekend ahead and, although the guys did really well to battle back as best they could in race trim, it’s such a competitive championship and there really is no ‘easy’ way to get up front once you’re further back.
“It might not be reflected in the results, necessarily, but we’re making good progress and now looking forward to Spa.”