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GB3’s John Bennett on his season so far

Conducted by Olly Radley, Edited by Tom Evans

All Image Credits: @TomEvansPhotos

Here at DIVEBOMB we strive to partner with some of the most promising talent in junior motorsport, having previously worked with Indy Lights winner Christian Rasmussen and GB4 champion Nikolas Taylor. For 2023 DiveBomb embarked on a new journey with John Bennett, one of GB3's most promising talents this year.

Now, 4 months later, John is half way through his second year in the championship, now with frontrunners Carlin. I decided to sit down with him and quickly discuss his season so far. I last spoke to him trackside at Oulton Park after the GB3 season opening three races there. It’s fair to say that was a tough weekend for John, with his luck ebbing and flowing as he progressed through the weekend.

In the following round at Silverstone, John took P2 in qualifying for both races, and later inherited double pole following the disqualification of both Douglas Motorsport cars. Despite immense pace and two wins on track, unfortunately penalties only left John with one podium that weekend, albeit some great points in the championship.

In the two rounds between then and now, GB3’s ventured to Spa-Francorchamps, as well as the familiar Snetterton Circuit, where John’s taken points from five of his six races.

With the second edition of Silverstone at the end of the month, we can all keep our fingers crossed that John can take the wins that were cruelly snatched from him the first time around.

OR: As a baseline for people who don’t follow GB3, you’re currently 8th in the championship: four rounds into an eight round season with Silverstone coming up in a couple of weeks. How would you rate your season so far out of ten?

JB: Well to be honest, not as good as I was hoping for. Maybe a five out of ten. It’s been very up and down - it started off tough at Oulton, then round two was at Silverstone, where I got double pole and two wins on track, but then I got a penalty in both races, which demoted me to P2 and P4. Silverstone was the highlight of the season with the Double Pole and then we had Spa and Snetterton, where we struggled a bit at both. I’m looking forward to Silverstone next because we were very strong last time as well as seeing if I can get back to the front in the second half of the season.

OR: As you said, Oulton was a weekend of ups and downs, and then Silverstone again another weekend plagued by bad luck. How much did those opening two rounds teach you?

JB: Definitely a lot. I’m loving working with Carlin - obviously last year I was with Elite Motorsport - but the car’s great and I’m learning a lot round by round about everything. The mindset for this year is different: obviously now I’m a second year driver, last year I was just learning round by round as it was my first year in single seaters. So there’s always loads to learn and I’m just trying to improve each round and see what we can do.

OR: The pace at Silverstone was clearly huge, you were really quick. You’re going back there in a few weeks for the second time, do you think you can replicate it and take the big points you were unlucky not to get last time?

JB: Well that’ll be the goal. Obviously double pole and two wins on track last time so if we can replicate that but without the penalties that would be the aim. Obviously in GB3 how the points work, you can really change your championship around with one or two great weekends - we saw that with Alex Dunne: before Spa he was 6th or 7th in the championship and now afterwards he’s leading the championship. So if you can get a few dominant weekends then you can get right back up there so that’ll be the goal for Silverstone.

OR: GB3’s obviously a UK championship, but it does you abroad. You’ve already been to Spa this season, and you’re going to Zandvoort later on in the year. Is it any different racing abroad compared to being on home soil?

JB: I mean all the processes are the same. It’s usually more of an event and the tracks are awesome. Spa’s such a privilege to race at and Zandvoort too. I’ve never been there so I’m really looking forward to it - the track looks amazing. There’s a lot less testing when you go abroad: we’ve never been to Zandvoort so we’ll probably just get the Friday test day before the race weekend so we definitely need to get on it a lot quicker, whereas a track like Snetterton or Oulton, most drivers have raced there in previous championships as well as plenty of testing over the Winter. So you definitely have to get on it very quickly and adapt when you go abroad but it’s such a privilege to race on those kinds of tracks.

OR: What would you say is the best track that you’ve raced at? Because you’ve raced at several now in your career.

JB: I love all of them. I love Brands Hatch GP for the lap itself, but then the racing isn't as good as say Silverstone or Spa; those two have to be up there. I’d say my favourite is probably Silverstone. I think over my career it’s probably been my most successful track, and then this year getting my first single seater win, even though it got taken away, but also my first single seater Pole Position there was really special. Also in all conditions: it was torrential rain all weekend.

OR: We’re halfway into the season, what do you think you can get out of these remaining four rounds? Do you fancy yourself for a bit of a title charge?

JB: It’s impossible to predict but it’ll mostly just be about just making sure I can get back to the front and get some good momentum going into next year really. You can never rule out anything in motorsport and as I said with how the points work in GB3, if you can get a couple of dominant weekends, you can really turn your year around. But it’ll mostly be about finding my way back to the front and maximising every weekend.

OR: Finally let’s look towards the future - you briefly mentioned it there - but what is next for John Bennett? Another year in GB3? Another Feeder Series category? Or is the world just your oyster and you’ll race whatever’s put infront of you?

JB: We’re not too sure at this point. It will largely depend on how the second half of the season goes and seeing what’s available for us next year. Obviously FIA F3 would be the dream but we haven’t ruled out doing something like GB3 again or there’s even Eurocup-3 now, or FRECA. There are a couple of opportunities but it’s largely down to what’s available to us over the Winter and how the second half of the year goes.

OR: And what is the ultimate end goal for you? Is it still F1 because that’s what most drivers say?

JB: Yeah it has to be really. I think that is everyone’s dream in motorsport so I’m just climbing that ladder seeing how far I can go.

Massive thanks to John for the interview. It’s safe to say everyone at DIVEBOMB will be rooting for him the remaining 4 rounds of the year. That’s it from me, though, so goodbye for now.


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