Former British F4 champion Luke Browning once again proved his mastery and dominance in single seaters with two unchallenged victories in the opening rounds of the GB3 season at Oulton Park.

It was the start of a new era for the UK’s premier single seater series, drivers now equipped with the impressive halo-protected Tatuus MSV-022 car; its sleek lines, improved technology and capable aero package delivering lap times some two seconds quicker than its predecessor.

Browning was in a class of his own

Browning was clearly in his element at his home circuit: Having made his series debut in a one-off (winning) appearance here last year, only contact with Elite Motorsport’s Tom Lebbon in the reverse-grid finale prevented the Hitech GP man from repeating his incredible 3-race F4 triumph from 2020. Starting from pole position for rounds 1 and 2, he never looked under threat and was straight onto the racing line to secure his advantage. Behind, Roberto Faria used all of his experience to hold steady in second, but only ever saw the leader’s tail move further ahead. Matthew Rees, Joel Granfors, Mckenzy Cresswell and John Bennett were the best of the rest, Rees and Granfors making a race of it and trading podium places whilst Bennett surprised teammate Lebbon to lead the way for Elite, the latter being disqualified in race 3 for the collision with Browning.

Faria worked his way to a double-podium

Despite Faria’s brace of second places, it was generally a miserable start for the Carlin squad, Javier Sagrera making contact with Callum Voisin on the opening lap of the first encounter, pitching the three-wheeling Spaniard into retirement, Voisin into the pits, and consigning both to a pointless start. Championships are seldom won in the early rounds but they can certainly be lost, and for Carlin, rivalries and honours at stake, this could turn into a frustrating campaign.

Voisin's hopes for a successful campaign ended after a clash with his teammate

The final race of the weekend, the reverse-grid encounter, went to Denmark’s Mikkel Grundtvig, a driver who had been consistently three seconds off the pace through the weekend yet was able to build a five-second gap to the flag, proving, if nothing else, that Oulton Park, as far as modern slicks and wings formulae are concerned, is not a place well suited to overtaking.

Grundtvig won the reverse-grid encounter

In terms of the championship, there was much to learn, and much to admire. Browning is clearly well prepared, and Hitech have quickly found sweet spots with the new car. We have to consider that this is Browning’s local circuit, and that he has always excelled here, but this combination of driver, car and team looks sharp, primed, and favourites for success. Granfors was unlucky to be penalised in qualifying, Rees and Cresswell are naturally quick, Faria can race well at the front, and both Elite drivers (Bennett and Lebbon) have proven pace. Voisin remains an unknown quantity, but he works hard and should recover from the disappointment of race 1. And then there’s Max Esterson, the Formula Ford ace learning his way on slicks. Each of these looks likely to feature at the front on the right day, but if Browning can stay out of trouble (which he doesn’t always), and collect good points in the reverse-grid races, then this might just be the year that puts him back on track to a very bright future indeed.

Elite's Bennett showed pace and promise
A hit from Lebbon put Browning out of race 3