Chloe Grant scores best finishes in GB4 at Brands Hatch
At her return to GB4 Championship after the FIA Girls On Track - Rising Stars selections, Chloe Grant had her strongest weekend to date, with a fourth and a fifth place at Brands Hatch. There were some great points also for Jessica Edgar, with two P5 finishes.
One of the biggest takeaway points from the inaugural season of the MSV-promoted GB4 Championships is certainly the fact that the new series has provided the opportunity to race affordably F4 machinery to some really talented female drivers. Since the opening weekend, where over one third of the field was female, Megan Gilkes, Jessica Edgar, Logan Hannah and Chloe Grant all showed great progress at the wheel of the Tatuus F4-T014, with at least one female podium in five out of the seven rounds contested so far. While Megan Gilkes (Hillspeed) was arguably the more experienced of the four - having raced in W Series, famously taking the reverse grid race win at Assen in 2019 - and Logan Hannah had some prior experience of the Tatuus F4 from partial campaigns in F4 UAE, Jessica Edgar and Chloe Grant were at their single seater debut: after a few weekends of adaptation, though, both made remarkable progress. Chloe Grant's second half of the season has been particularly significant; despite a few technical issues, the young Scottish racer has been consistently in the top ten from the second Snetterton event and really had her first breakthrough round at Brands Hatch, where she grabbed two top-five finishes. After a good karting career, Grant won the Junior Saloon Car Championship Scholarship, which gave her the chance to move up to race cars. One year later, she would switch to single seaters with the launch of GB4. Her fast progression didn't go unnoticed, as she was selected for this year's edition of the FIA Women In Motorsport's "Girls On Track - Rising Stars" programme. Grant was one of the four selected finalists after the assessment tests at Circuit Paul Ricard and will proceed to the Maranello test with the aim of gaining a spot on the Ferrari Driver Academy. "The Mygale [driven at the Paul Ricard tests] is very different to the Tatuus that I drive in GB4 Championship, but it was really good to learn how to drive it", she told us after the selections. "The steering was heavier so I feel that when I go back home and I jump back in the Tatuus, it would help me to drive it quicker and be more confident with it." And indeed, at her return to the British series, Grant delivered her strongest performance to date, on one of the tracks where she had always felt particularly comfortable at. The pre-event test, though, proved to be a bit troubled for the Graham Brunton Racing driver, who had engine issues throughout. The mechanical gremlins were fixed at the end of testing and Grant was finally able to start her race weekend focusing on performance. Nikolas Taylor would claim pole position, ahead of Jarrod Waberski and Tom Mills. Logan Hannah - who had missed testing on Friday and spent some extra time at the simulator - was a strong sixth, preceding Jessica Edgar, Chloe Grant and Megan Gilkes - as the latter struggled for speed all weekend in the #64 Hillspeed entry, just like teammate Max Marzorati. Taylor initially held the lead but then went off at Paddock Hill Bend on lap 4, damaging his front suspension against the barriers. After the Safety Car, Tom Mills won a close battle for the lead against Waberski, who crossed the finish line one tenth of a second behind the Kevin Mills Racing's driver, at his first win in the championship. Jessica Edgar had an outstanding race and finished fifth, ahead of the recovering Gilkes. Grant was seventh, gaining one position to teammate Logan Hannah who was handed a 10 second penalty for a starting infringement. "Starting P6, I was looking to make use of the pace I had shown in the day so far", stated Hannah. "Due to a starting infringement, I had been given a 10-second penalty before the race had even begun. Unaware of the penalty I looked to push forward in what ended up being extremely tricky conditions as it started to rain! Ultimately finishing in P7 on track and P8 in the final results."
But it would be the second race where Grant really shone. From pole position, Nikolas Taylor returned to victory in a lights to flag race 2, holding off Jarrod Waberski and Jack Sherwood. Chloe Grant had superb pace and made up positions with great passes, climbing up to fourth place - her best result of the season to date - from eighth on the grid. Jessica Edgar was again very consistent and picked up another fifth place, ahead of Hillspeed duo Max Marzorati and Megan Gilkes. Just like her teammate, Logan Hannah was charging through the field and, while in fifth, she dropped a tyre on the grass and unfortunately slid off into the barrier. With fourth in the second race, Chloe Grant had another chance in Race 3, as she claimed her first pole position for the reverse grid race. Three female drivers were leading the pack: Grant, Edgar and Hannah. Chloe held position at the start, holding off Jessica Edgar into Turn 1. Jack Sherwood was recovering quickly and forced his way up in the lead later in the first lap at Hawthorns corner, before opening a gap. With great defensive driving Chloe Grant held off Mills and Taylor for several laps, before settling in fourth. She battled for most of the race with Waberski and took the chequered flag in P5 - another very strong result for the Scottish driver. Jessica Edgar eventually dropped to seventh, while Logan Hannah - who started from third place - almost stalled on the grid and therefore couldn't do better than eighth. Megan Gilkes had more technical issues and took the way of the pit lane, finishing one lap down. "What a weekend!" - commented Grant. "I said at the beginning of the week that Brands Hatch has always been good to me and it has prevailed again." "Race 2 was a great one, making my way through with some good passes I secured my best finish yet in P4 from P8. Being the fourth fastest on track, the results really reflect the grid pace. So much fun!" "In Race 3, I was off pole on reverse grid and fought hard to keep it there, but ultimately the quicker cars got through and we finished P5. Which, again, is still up there with our best result." Grant praised her coach Gordie Mutch for the work done, as well as Laser Tools Racing, her family and all her sponsors. "This weekend was extra special as my sister Katie came to support trackside for the first time this year, and friends from the JSCC paddock were able to come along too!" - she added. With now a month until the final race meeting of the GB4 Championship season at Donington Park, drivers will have the chance to learn from their past weekends and apply the learnings to add more points to their tallies.