Encouraging single seater debut for Lexie Belk at Donington Park
Lexie Belk made a successful step up into the GB4 Championship at Donington Park: making her single seater debut, Belk overcame challenging conditions to gain valuable experience, improving her lap times throughout the weekend and securing a best result of 11th in the season finale.
Lexie Belk made a successful step up into the GB4 Championship at Donington Park. Making her single seater debut, Belk overcame challenging conditions to gain valuable experience ahead of a planned 2024 campaign in the entry-level single seater series.
Lexie improved her lap times throughout the weekend, securing a best result of 11th while setting her quickest lap of the meeting in the season finale.
After a successful period of testing, Lexie arrived at Donington Park ready to make her debut in the GB4 Championship. Attempts to gain valuable track time prior to the weekend were thwarted when persistent heavy rain forced the cancellation of Friday’s test sessions. As a result, Belk would head into Saturday’s qualifying session with limited preparation.
Conditions remained challenging for qualifying with all drivers fitting wet tyres on a damp and greasy track. The session was also disrupted by multiple red flag periods which added to the challenge for Lexie as she acclimatised to conditions. Improving her lap times consistently, the young racer set the 15th quickest time on her final lap of the session.
"With Quali being my first outing in the wet conditions, I was very happy with my progress as every lap showed improvement, despite me having issues with the throttle sticking!" - Belk commented.
The first race of the weekend look set to be an opportunity for Lexie to measure herself against more experienced single seater drivers. With a dry line on circuit, slick tyres were the choice and managing the damp parts off line would be crucial. Unfortunately a technical issue on the warm up lap saw Belk play no part in the opening race and would instead look forward to Sunday’s two races.
After the disappointment of race one, Lexie was looking to get some valuable mileage under her belt in race two and made an excellent start, gaining two positions to complete lap one in 13th. A safety car then gave her a chance to remain in touch with the pack of drivers and despite a small spin on the restart, she kept her composure and set her fastest laps of the weekend.
Moving ahead of Daniel Hickey on lap seven, Belk was up to 12th and following an incident for another competitor, the race was brought to an early conclusion by a red flag which saw Lexie classified in 11th.
"Swiftly moving into race two, it’s safe to say this was a great race with major confidence showing through having great battles", Lexie said.
Taking away a sizeable number of positives from her first complete race in the GB4 Championship, Lexie was hungry for more in the final race of the weekend. Again starting from 15th, Belk made a second excellent start of the day which elevated her to 13th.
On lap three, a spin into the gravel at Redgate corner saw her lose a lap, however fantastic work from the marshals ensured she remained in the race. Following a late safety car period, Lexie made significant improvements across all three sectors and this resulted in the young racer taking the checkered flag in 14th.
"A couple of mistakes cost us to place any higher and we finished the race a lap behind but still continued to push", Belk summed up.
"Coming into the weekend we had minimal expectations, however I feel the learning curve was a great starting point for my GB4 campaign."
"A huge thank you goes out to everyone at GB4 Championship for all their help and making us feel so welcome as a privateer!"
Despite her relative inexperience in single seater machinery, Lexie adapted well and proved she could run competitively in the GB4 Championship. By improving throughout the meeting, this underlined her potential and indicated that more would to be come as she gains familiarity with the vastly different style of racing.
Belk will now be aiming to develop a program of testing in order to return to the championship in 2024 for a full-season effort in formula cars.