On Monday we reported on the high levels of interest in the GB4 Championship from female drivers, and heard from three potential contenders. This time, we’re speaking with three more aspiring single-seater drivers, who have also been behind the wheel of GB4 machinery in recent weeks and months.
F1000 contender and BOSS Ireland class champion Kayleigh Cole is another driver to have enjoyed a test with Fox Motorsport, this time at Donington Park in December, and is taking a serious look at joining the championship.
“It’s a championship that I’ve had my eyes on for a while” she comments. “My ambition is to make a career in motorsport and in the single-seater route. GB4 is the next step going forward with many experienced drivers, and it’s a very high profile championship.”
With experience of single-seaters already, she was able to enjoy her first run in the Tatuus F4-T014 machine with the 2023 front-runners.
“The test went really well, I can’t fault the team at all, they were very supportive on my first test day. They are very experienced and knowledgeable, and would give me the best chance in the GB4 Championship.
“I’ve competed in the F1000 Jedi single seater championship for the last two to three years. Both cars are very different. It took me a bit to get used to the transition of car - the Jedi is fast and very light whereas the GB4 is heavier and the power delivery is a lot different. We also use a different tyre compound to the F1000. The braking and handling of the GB4 car is completely different to what I’m used to driving, but I got a good feel for it with the help of Fox Motorsport’s engineers and driver coach Ben Clucas.”
She’s expecting some more seat time with the team in the coming weeks ahead of a likely campaign in the series.
“We have already got a list of test dates that I will be participating in to get more confident in the car. I’m really looking forward to getting back behind the wheel of the GB4 car, my knowledge from the first test day will help me improve for the next test days going forward.
“With the help of my new management team SLB Performance, I’m expecting to be competing in the 2024 GB4 Championship. As with every other racing driver on the grid, financial backing is the only hurdle getting in the way as the passion to compete in GB4 is there.”
As for future plans, she hopes success in GB4 will also lead her further up the ladder.
“You can never plan too far ahead as it’s down to what support and financial backing you receive. In this present time I can see a season or two in GB4 and the next obvious step would be GB3. If we did have a good season or two in GB4 who knows what doors it could open for a female racing driver at this present moment, with a lot of opportunities arising for females in motorsport.”
The Norwegian driver sampled GB4 with newcomers Idola Motorsport at Anglesey in October, and having raced with the team in Praga machinery previously, is hoping to make the step into single-seaters with the squad.
“I really enjoyed my first test at Anglesey with Idola Motorsport and Steve Hutchinson. It’s a really great car which I really fell in love with, so I’m looking forward to more seat-time” she said. “Idola has become my racing family and I’d like to keep it that way.
“My goal is to race in GB4 this year, I expect lots of close racing, new people to meet and many new experiences.”
Having racing in 2018 at the age of 14, she’s become an accomplished karter, having represented Norway at the IAME World Finals and experienced sports car racing. Having also raced single-seaters in Formula Nordic, she is viewing a potential GB4 drive as a stepping stone to F1 Academy.
“F1 Academy is definitely my goal, and has been since it launched. GB4 is an excellent way to gain experience and speed to make an impact before joining F1 Academy.”
The karting graduate has tested a range of machinery over the last few months, as well as making her race debut in a Fun Cup car. While an immediate graduation to GB4 may not yet be on the horizon, she’s enjoyed numerous days in a Tatuus F4-T014 with champions KMR Sport.
“I wanted to test GB4 in order to experience the handling of a single-seater,” she said. “I wanted to try a variety of things so I had multiple skill sets. It took me some time to get to grips [with it], but after a few laps it was starting to come together and I did nothing but improve after that.”
Like many others, she’s also eying a berth in F1 Academy, potentially via a GB4 drive.
“I’d say F1 Academy would be my career goal as it’s become so included with F1 now, with some of the rounds featuring on some F1 weekends and the fact F1 teams are taking on female drivers within their academies. I believe GB4 would be a stepping stone to F1 Academy as it would provide the single-seater experience to start off with.
“My ultimate career aim is to create a job out of my racing career and make a living from it, because who wouldn’t want to have an income from doing something they love? I’d like to be a successful driver and work with an F1 team in my development through being a part of their academy.
“I’d also like to be a role model for young females within motorsport, as well as those wanting to get into it, especially those that come from grassroots like myself.”
As for other drivers potentially eyeing a seat in GB4, KMR Sport has also run Fiesta Junior contender Jasmine Shaw in testing, while there’s further reported interest at Graham Brunton Racing and Elite Motorsport. So, could the next female single-seater star be coming from the ranks of GB4 in 2024? Watch this space…