by Simon Paice | Jun 27, 2022 | F3 News
Douglas Motorsport continued their run of good form in the 2022 GB3 Championship as Marcos Flack added the team’s fourth podium finish of the year at Snetterton 300 circuit last weekend (25/26 June).
Coming off the back of a winning weekend at Donington Park, Douglas Motorsport once again brought a trio of cars to the fourth meeting of the season at the 2.9-mile 300 circuit in Norfolk.
American Max Esterson had scored more points than any of his rivals over the past two meetings, alongside achieving the team’s first win of the season at Donington from pole position. Both he and Australian Flack spent time inside the top five during two days of testing, leading up to the weekend’s racing.
When the all-important 20-minute qualifying session arrived on Saturday morning, it proved to be incredibly tight across the field with the top 15 cars separated by just a second. Esterson was the lead Douglas car in 11th spot, with Smith and Flack out of luck in 17th and 19th but in a good position to capitalise on Sunday.
Esterson got his elbows out in the first of the weekend’s three races later that afternoon, battling his way up into the top 10. The American joined the fierce battle for fifth place, but overtaking proved difficult as he could not advance from 10th place in a close contest. Flack made progress during the race, climbing up into 15th by the chequered flag, while Smith would be one of the race’s unfortunate retirements.
The warm weather stuck around on Sunday, with Esterson starting highest of the Douglas trio in ninth on the grid. In another close race, overtaking was again not at a premium throughout the field, the team finishing inside the top 10 thanks to Esterson while Flack and Smith both gained places from difficult starting positions to finish 15th and 18th.
Former British F4 racer Flack headed the team’s chase of a podium in the third and final race, starting from fourth on the grid while fellow Australian Smith started two spots further back in sixth. It would be the perfect catalyst for both to shine, as the two blue machines gained a place each with rapid getaways from the line, Flack moving up into third.
That soon became second after a safety car restart when second-placed Zak Taylor ran wide, leaving Flack to chase after the race leader Mikkel Grundtvig for the remainder of the race. The youngster ramped up the pressure and looked to the outside at the hairpin in an attempt to grab his first win in GB3, finishing right on the tail of the winner as he took a breakthrough podium.
Smith was an equally impressive fourth on the road and less than a second from the race winner after a strong performance, Esterson recovering to seventh place as the trio all grabbed crucial points for the team.
A strong finish in Norfolk puts Douglas Motorsport fifth in the Teams’ Championship, while Esterson sits fourth in the Drivers’ Championship as the series heads to Belgium on 23/24 July for the next three races held at the iconic Spa-Francorchamps circuit.
“We’ve finished strongly this weekend after a tricky qualifying session, which certainly felt a bit unrepresentative of our true pace. All three drivers were very close to the ultimate pace and this weekend in particular it has been extremely close throughout the whole field. Marcos took his chance in the final race and could well have won it with another lap or two, while Tommy’s pace almost gave us another podium finish. Max scored good points to keep us in the title fight; we’ve tested at Spa already, so we hope we’ll head there in good shape.”
“An up and down weekend for me personally. I thought I drove okay, while we did well as a team and race three was a good performance from us. We were untouchable at Donington and have some good circuits coming up, and we’re the only team that’s tested at Spa so we should go well there.”
“I was pretty happy with that for a way to finish the weekend. I thought race two even went well; I made a couple of spots up from the start but it’s hard to pass here when it’s this close. Race three showed our pace. It was so close where we were all just a few tenths apart, so it was close to being something a lot better for me, but now I’m looking forward to Spa.”
“I didn’t manage to get it right in qualifying, but then we definitely got it right by race three and managed to pull it back for a podium finish at the end. It was very close all the way through and particularly in the last few laps, with me trying to pressure the leader into a mistake. I’m looking forward to Spa now.”
by Simon Paice | May 30, 2022 | F3 News
Douglas Motorsport enjoyed a superb weekend in the third GB3 Championship meeting of 2022 at Donington Park, with Max Esterson helping the squad clinch its first race victory of the campaign and breaking the circuit’s lap record along the way.
After another promising performance in the second meeting of the season at the start of the month, the team headed to Leicestershire eyeing more silverware with Max Esterson, Tommy Smith and the returning Marcos Flack.
That optimism was heightened after two days of testing leading up to the weekend, as American ace Esterson put his Douglas Motorsport car fastest heading into Saturday, with times lowering the official track record for the newest GB3 Championship Tatuus MSV-022 chassis.
With momentum on their side, the team looked ahead to qualifying on Saturday morning with sights set on repeating that performance. The short and sharp timed session was competitive throughout, and a blistering end to proceedings from Esterson put his car fourth on the grid for race one, with the bragging rights of pole position for the second race of the weekend based on second-fastest times.
When the lights went out for race one later that afternoon, Esterson held a watching brief on the opening lap as an incident broke out ahead of him at McLeans corner, moving him into the top three. A mature drive was enough to confirm his position, earning a second podium of the season for Douglas Motorsport along with the fastest lap of the race for good measure. Flack and Smith recovered well to 11th and 13th place respectively – the latter gaining five spots from qualifying.
The team had their chance to add an even better outcome in the weekend’s second race the following morning. Esterson made great use of his pole position as a fine start and defensive effort into the opening corner ensured he could hang onto the lead. Setting fastest lap once again along the way, Esterson drove a faultless race at the head of the field to bring home his first GB3 win, and the first of the season for the team.
The final race of the weekend featured a reversed grid based on qualifying results. Australian racer Smith was advantaged by this, starting from fourth on the grid after finishing 21st in race two, while his compatriot Flack started ninth after picking up 14th in the second contest.
Smith bravely fought his way up into third place in the early stages of the race ahead of Mikkel Grundtvig, and his pace confirmed that he was a podium contender. Despite taking the flag a comfortable third on the road, a time penalty for a false start cruelly dropped him back to fifth place, denying him a second podium of the season. Esterson meanwhile charged forward throughout the contest to end the race a credible 11th by the flag, while Flack unfortunately finished 17th after a trip to the pits.
Esterson ends the weekend third in the championship, with Douglas Motorsport sitting fifth in the Teams’ standings as the series next heads to Snetterton on 25/26 June.
“A really brilliant weekend for us. Max has been rapid all week and it’s fantastic to see us get the reward on Sunday with a pole position, race win, fastest laps and a new lap record in testing with the new car. It shows that we’re doing everything right as a team that we can do, and that’s a testament to all the guys here.”
“A first podium and first win feels great for us as a team. I’m really happy with that weekend and now up to third in the points!”
“It had been a tough weekend but practice went well. Qualifying I didn’t quite put together, and it was very close all down the field. I gave it my best in mid-pack, but from the front in the third race I felt like we had good pace and I ran third throughout which was more like it.”
“The reverse grid race was a bit of a disappointment, but if you reflect on the weekend I feel that I managed to still pick up some crucial points for the team, which is positive. I have some things to work on with myself, but the team have been strong.”
by Simon Paice | May 25, 2022 | F3 News
Douglas Motorsport’s GB3 Championship racer Tommy Smith is aiming to be on the fast track to success this season after having a locomotive train named the ‘Tommy Express’ in his honour by headline partner SCT Logistics.
The Australian interstate transport company have been loyal backers of Smith since his car racing career began back in 2018, with their latest show of support for the Melbourne racer coming just weeks after his memorable first GB3 Championship podium at Oulton Park.
SCT Logistics’ Locomotive CSR016 will now be known as the ‘Tommy Express’ as it travels across the country, adorned by a cartoon image of Smith in his Douglas Motorsport car.
Tommy Smith: “The SCT history is a great Australian story, being the 1st Private Rail Operator in Australia and operating the largest freight trains in Australia across the longest single rail line in the World – 3,500 Kilometres from the East Coast to the West Coast of Australia. SCT set the benchmark in innovation and I’m both proud and thankful for their support and this tribute”
Initially an East/West rail operator, SCT Logistics has grown to be able to service all transport requirements to every destination in Australia, with offices in all major capital cities and regional locations. Their own train services incorporates no less than 35 mainline locomotives and over 600 pieces of specialised rail rolling stock.
Pat Kerin, SCT’s Sales Director: “We are so happy to be continuing this relationship with Tommy, he is a fine young man with a great future in Motorsport. Locomotive number 16 “Tommy Express” will now be a special addition to our fleet of more than 40 locomotives which service our business across Australia.
“We wish Tommy all the best with his motor racing endeavours and we look forward to supporting him into the future.”
by Simon Paice | May 9, 2022 | F3 News
Douglas Motorsport came oh so close to a brace of podium results from a promising second GB3 Championship meeting of the 2022 season at Silverstone, with rookie Max Esterson grabbing a pair of impressive fourth place finishes.
After a sensational maiden podium finish for Australian Tommy Smith provided the highlight for the team in the season opener at Oulton Park, it was the turn of GB3 rookie Esterson to take the spotlight as the blue Tatuus MSV-022 machines tackled three races at Silverstone.
At their home circuit, the Northamptonshire team had set record pace with a test driver on the Thursday in the run-up to the weekend of racing at the 3.66-mile Grand Prix circuit, with regular drivers Esterson and Smith also gaining vital data over both days of running ahead of Saturday’s all important qualifying session.
A tight session saw both drivers enjoying time within the top 10 before Esterson turned the screw by putting the Douglas car sixth on the grid for race one later that afternoon, his second fastest time enough to put him fourth for the second race on Sunday. Smith fought hard and was not far back on speed, taking 18th overall.
Esterson was on the offensive as soon as the lights went out to start the opening 10-lap race of the weekend. Making up two spots in a frenetic first lap, the Formula Ford graduate fended off initial attacks by James Hedley before pulling clear on his way to a strong fourth place finish. Smith would only be looking forward too, and he moved four spots higher to grab 14th place by the chequered flag.
Esterson and Smith started fourth and 16th on the grid respectively for race two and again Esterson chased hard for his maiden podium. He would come up just short, but in a comfortable fourth place once more, Smith remaining 16th.
Like at Oulton Park, Smith had a chance to grab another strong result for the Douglas team in the reverse grid contest which concluded the weekend. Smith started from third place on the grid, while Esterson had work to do to recover from 15th.
Running well in fourth early on and on the offensive, Smith unfortunately lost ground during a frenetic scrap in the middle of the race. He would be shuffled down the pack on the dirty side of track to an unrepresentative 12th by the chequered flag, two spots behind Esterson who made up ground.
Douglas Motorsport are next in action in three weeks’ time as the GB3 Championship makes its first of two visits this year to Donington Park over the weekend of 28/29 May.
“The team did a great job all weekend, and we would have deserved a podium finish from it. Max came very close to getting that but he impressed all weekend and got to show his pace after a tough start at Oulton Park. Tommy again ended the weekend with a good result and made progress in the races after qualifying, so we can leave here and head to Donington Park with our heads held high.”
“I think it all starts in qualifying in GB3. We could have had a bit more that would have put us in the top three, but it’s good progress for sure with two fourth place finishes. Hopefully we can keep this up, and the car is clearly there for us. We can leave here happy as a team ahead of Donington Park.”
“Race three was a manic one and proved a little bit tricky at the end. We started right up there and then I tried to make a pass early on to get myself into some clear air. We got shuffled off-line after I tried to take back third, but it all starts from qualifying which I really hope I can fix. I’ve done plenty of laps at Donington Park so I think we can really maximise the tyre there.”
by Simon Paice | Apr 19, 2022 | F3 News
Douglas Motorsport grabbed a superb podium finish courtesy of Tommy Smith to round out the opening round of the 2022 GB3 Championship season in style at Oulton Park over the Easter weekend (16-18 April).
The team entered the new season armed with a fresh line-up featuring Formula Ford graduate Max Esterson, 2021 British F4 star Marcos Flack and GB3 returnee Smith, with the trio all hoping to hit the ground running with a strong start to the season.
Bringing along three of the latest Tatuus MSV-022 GB3 cars for their latest assault on the series, rookie drivers Esterson and Flack showed their potential with consistent pace well inside the top 10 on Friday.
Qualifying on Saturday morning would be a hectic affair as the 21-car field jostled for position on track to find the optimum hot lap, with Esterson leading the Douglas charge in the 20-minute timed session to decide the grid for races one and two of the weekend. The American teenager narrowly missed out on the top 10, one spot ahead of Flack while Smith sealed 18th.
A frenetic opening lap in race one later that afternoon would be to the advantage of Australian rookie Flack, who moved into the top 10 as he evaded numerous first lap incidents around him, ultimately finishing a credible ninth place on debut. Smith improved a spot from his starting position, while Esterson was a victim of the lap one squabbling which dropped him to an unrepresentative 19th.
Action would then resume on Monday, and the day would bring much brighter things for the Douglas Motorsport team. Esterson led the team’s charge initially, finishing 11th after a tight race two and narrowly missing out on 10th by 0.2s. Flack and Smith came home 14th and 17th respectively.
A reversed grid from Saturday’s qualifying results decided the order for the third and last race of the weekend, and it paid off handsomely for the resurgent Smith, who lined up on the front row of the grid for the final 14-lap contest.
The Australian would take full advantage with a fine start to maintain his position, keeping David Morales at bay throughout with a controlled performance to grab second place and his first ever GB3 podium finish.
Esterson again showed great pace as he joined an enticing 10-car tussle for sixth place, climbing the order to eighth where he remained to the chequered flag. Flack was shuffled wide at the hairpin on lap one and fell to 20th at the end of an otherwise solid weekend.
Douglas Motorsport are next in action at Silverstone GP circuit for another trio of races when the GB3 Championship visits next month on 7-8 May.
“Finishing the weekend with a podium finish is a fantastic result for us as a team, and we could not be happier for Tommy Smith to have achieved this and his first ever GB3 podium after a controlled performance.
“Qualifying was not quite representative of our pace before that, and Max in particular has a lot more to come this season having been in and around in terms of pace, as did Marcos who impressed on his first ever GB3 weekend.
“All three drivers showed great race craft also at a track that is notoriously difficult to overtake at, so we’re looking forward to a strong showing at Silverstone next month.”
“Qualifying was tough and it put us a little bit on the back foot as you can’t overtake people much around here. We showed good pace in testing and in pre-season, so I know there’s a lot more to come for us this season.”
“It’s great to finish on a positive. The pace was better in the final race when you’re out of the traffic and can drive at your speed. Qualifying could have gone better as we had a few issues and struggled because of that, but a great result to end the weekend. I’m really glad to get the podium and good points, because Oulton’s a tricky old track.”
“An up and down weekend for me. I learned through the weekend, but I feel that I need to learn more. It’s definitely a bit of a character-building weekend but we’ll be sorted and come out fighting a lot harder next time out.”
by Simon Paice | Feb 23, 2022 | F3 News
Douglas Motorsport are delighted to announce that Australian rising star Marcos Flack will complete their driver line up for the 2022 GB3 Championship partnered by the BRDC.
The 15 year old will join compatriot Tommy Smith and American driver Max Esterson in a three car entry for the Northamptonshire based team, who are set to contest their tenth consecutive season in the UK’s leading single-seater championship.
Flack moved into single-seater racing last year with a great karting pedigree, having enjoyed success at both domestic and international level. An impressive maiden campaign in British Formula 4 saw him secure three overall podium finishes and a Rookie Cup class win.
Alongside that, the Brisbane based racer contested one-off rounds in the Italian and German Formula 4 championships and a busy 2022 season will see him continue to build his single seater skills and experience by combining his GB3 efforts with an Italian F4 entry.
Having enjoyed some GB3 tests with Douglas Motorsport at the latter end of the 2021, including showing impressive pace in the official pre-event test for the Donington Park season finale, Flack is ready to hit the ground running in pre-season testing.
“We’re really pleased to get the opportunity to go racing with Marcos this season. He integrated well with the team last year during his test outings and showed impressive speed from the off in the GB3 car. That combined with his great performances in Formula 4 means we’re confident he will be one to watch this season.”
“I’m really excited to be joining the GB3 Championship with Douglas Motorsport. To have the opportunity to work alongside Wayne, Gemma and the Douglas Motorsport team in such a well run category will be fantastic. I can’t wait to drive the amazing car and hit the track.”
The GB3 Championship is the pinnacle of the UK single-seater ladder, competing at the biggest race circuits across the country and further afield. The series is watched around the world courtesy of free live online streaming of its races.
Images from Jakob Ebrey Photography.