A Podium On Debut: Who Is Surprise GB3 Rookie Jonathan Browne?

Fans of the GB3 Championship (formerly BRDC British F3) might have seen a new name on the entry list last time out at Silverstone, Jonathan Browne. Browne is new to the GB3 Championship but managed to claim a podium spot after taking his Hillspeed car to third place in the opening race of the weekend.

By Richard Smyth

From County Meath in the Republic of Ireland, Browne is currently 21 years old and like many drivers started his career karting.

“I started karting when I was seven and started racing when I was eight, and at that stage, it’s just a hobby but it very quickly turns into something very competitive around about 11 or 12 years old. You start to go up against people and you want to beat them every time.”

He made a name for himself in karting and he rose through the ranks of Formula Ford, dominating the 2019 Formula Ford Festival. Browne said he would love to relive this event because of “the nerves before the race and the feeling through it and the pure emotion and joy.”

Competitive

Browne made the step up from Formula Ford to the GB3 Championship look quite straightforward but he suggested otherwise.

“It’s very competitive. In one of the practice sessions, the top 14 were within a second of each other. I’m enjoying having to eek that last little tenth out of you to put yourself up three or four spots. From that aspect, I’m enjoying it but it’s definitely a lot harder from what I’ve been doing.”

Credit: Jakob Ebrey Photography

Podium

The feeling of standing on the podium in his debut race of the series hasn’t quite kicked in yet for the 21-year-old.

“I don’t really feel like it happened. Eventually it will click, and I’ll look back and be happy but there is still plenty to work on and I want more podiums and a bit more pace in the next rounds.” 

Testing

Looking to learn more about the team and the car, Browne was taking part in post-race testing at Silverstone. He said the tyre warm-up element of racing these was the part he was struggling the most with.  

“It was good, I learned some things, mainly on tyre warm-up as I struggled with that a little bit during the (Silverstone) race weekend, so I really hit that hard today and I think I made some good strides.

Cost

The feeder series world is becoming more and more expensive, and the Irish driver has his own thoughts about that.

“It’s pretty obvious to anyone who knows racing or has tried to do racing that it’s not cheap and it only gets more expensive the higher you go. It would be nice if it was cheaper, but teams have to get paid, so maybe if it was a little bit cheaper and a little more affordable for everyone, it would be more beneficial for racing itself. I think there are definitely a few that have been quick in karts or quick in a car but can’t make that next step.”

Future

Browne confirmed that he would be taking part in the final two rounds of the GB3 Championship season at Oulton Park and Donington Park. He will be continuing with the Hillspeed team as he aims to claim more podiums in the final six races of the season. 

He also stated that he has no plans for next season as of yet. 

“I haven’t really thought too much about next year as I’ve only really started this season, for everyone else they have already done six rounds (of the GB3 Championship). I’m fully focused on what I am doing now and at the end of the season I’ll decide if this is my path to go or is there another one that suits me better.”

Credit: Jakob Ebrey Photography

Goals

Browne also shared his ambitions to prove himself against the very best in the sport.

“As a career aim, I just want to get to the top level and prove myself against the very best in the sport. I’d love nothing more than to just compete against and beat some of the very best out there.”

What if

If given an unlimited budget and ownership of a racing team and if he had to choose the racing series he would compete in along with the drivers he would like to sign, what would he choose?

“I would probably enter a team for F3 and F2, that would be cool but mostly racing in F3 and going across England and Europe. For drivers to sign I have no idea. If I was allowed F1 drivers I would sign Daniel Ricciardo as he is one of my favourites and maybe have Lando Norris and George Russell as well. I would have to put myself in the team as well.”

The GB3 Championship continues at Oulton Park on the 11-12th September and Jonathan Browne will be there with Zak O’Sullivan leading the championship by more than 100 points.

Header credit: Jakob Ebrey Photography

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