A new entry level single-seater series - the GB4 Championship - will join the Intelligent Money British GT Championship's regular support roster next season.
MotorSport Vision (MSV) has created the category to offer drivers graduating from karting or club racing a significantly lower cost route onto the single-seater ladder.
GB4 will act as a direct feeder series to higher open-wheel categories, running in close alignment with MSV’s already successful GB3 Championship in association with the BRDC. GB4 is planned to run primarily on the same British GT race programme, offering teams an excellent platform from which to enter both series.
The new championship will meet the need for an affordable alternative for drivers beginning a single-seater career, with costs significantly reduced when compared to FIA F4 following the introduction of its new car. GB4 aims to offer drivers the chance to contest a full season of competitive single-seater racing in Britain for between £120,000 and £150,000.
Racing at a reduced cost opens the door for drivers to follow directly in the footsteps of George Russell, who won the BRDC F4 Championship in 2014 before going on to establish himself as one of the most exciting drivers in Formula 1.
GB4 will utilise the well-established Tatuus F4-T014 chassis, which has notably been used in Spanish, Italian and ADAC F4 series across Europe over the past seven years. The F4-T014 is not only a superb race car, but an enormously safe one too, ideal for drivers from as young as 15 years of age to make their first steps on the single-seater racing ladder – no serious injuries have been recorded in more than 400 races and 140,000 racing laps.
Use of the Tatuus F4 chassis also allows for some overlap with GB3, which uses a car built from the same base. Cars are expected to be available from around £30,000, complete with an engine, whilst existing GB3 teams can use 80% of the same spares whilst maintaining and preparing cars across two championships. Cost minimisation and controls will also be implemented by series organiser MSV.
In addition to a planned 21-race schedule, across seven events alongside GB3 and the British GT Championship, GB4 will also share combined tests with its sister championship. GB4 will share a similar race weekend format with three races at the majority of events.
The relationship between the two championships will be bolstered by a £50,000 prize fund for the championship winner towards a drive in GB3. Full details of the GB4 prize package will be announced in due course.
Engine parity will be optimised by existing GB3 partner Mountune, working in conjunction with Tatuus and Autotecnica Motori. The car will run exactly as it has done in F4 competition, with a 1.4-litre turbocharged engine, producing 160bhp and a sequential paddle shift gearbox.
GB4 will also retain relationships with many of GB3’s existing partners. These include F1 tyre supplier Pirelli, which will continue to supply rubber, whilst Sunoco will act as control fuel provider. The British Racing Drivers’ Club will also extend its highly-valued support from GB3 to GB4.
In addition to benefitting from racing at high-profile national race meetings, GB4 competitors will receive full-time media coverage via a dedicated press office. The latest championship news and updates will be displayed at www.gb-4.net, which is due to launch this week.
MSV Chief Executive Jonathan Palmer commented: “GB4 is a tremendously exciting new championship that will provide aspiring F1 drivers with modest budgets an opportunity to develop and prove their talent, and progress onwards in single-seater racing.
“GB4 is also coming at just the right time. The availability of the current well proven Tatuus-Abarth F4 car, coupled with MSV’s highly respected ability to run excellent junior single-seater series, means an affordable first step will exist for drivers to emulate George Russell’s outstanding progress to the top, after he first came to single-seater prominence by winning our inaugural BRDC F4 championship in 2014.”