Like father, like son – Sebastian Priaulx to race with Ford EcoBoost power in 2018 F4 British Championship

25 OCTOBER, 2017 – Sebastian Priaulx, son of triple World Touring Car Champion and Ford GT driver Andy Priaulx MBE, has agreed terms with Arden in a deal to contest the 2018 F4 British Championship certified by FIA – powered by Ford EcoBoost.

The announcement comes just weeks after the curtain fell on a stellar campaign for the 16-year-old. It saw him crowned Ginetta Junior vice-champion with 13 podiums, including seven victories. Four wins out of five races in the space of two meetings a particular highlight, along with an unrivalled tally of eight pole positions.

“It’s a great feeling to have my 2018 plans confirmed,” said a thrilled Priaulx. “We’ve got a very exciting year ahead of us racing with Arden in the F4 British Championship.

“It’s a prestigious series with manufacturer backing from Ford and with my Dad driving for the Ford GT team it’s really cool.

“To make the step up to single-seaters and race in British F4 is a real milestone in my career. It’s always been my aim to live the single-seater dream. Winning in British F4 opens doors and it is the starting point for Formula 1.”

Garry Horner, Arden CEO and team principal, added: “We are delighted to have Seb joining our team at Arden. We have admired his dedication and ability throughout the previous season and are looking forward to a successful year in Formula 4.”

Priaulx began karting aged eight and rapidly became a multiple champion in Cadet, Mini Max and Junior Max classes.

Aged 15 he added a Ginetta Junior Winter Series title to his name. This followed a Ginetta Junior Championship campaign in 2016 which saw him take a victory and two pole positions in his rookie season.

Priaulx will be hoping to emulate FIA British Formula 4 Champions Lando Norris and Jamie Caroline, who both triumphed in Ginetta Juniors before making the step up to the UK’s leading single-seater series.

“2017 was a bit of a strange season with everything that happened with Ginetta and having to switch teams part way through the campaign,” explained Priaulx. “It was all out of my control and I just focused on performing at my best.

“I walked away as vice-champion, my head held high and proud of what I achieved. Now I’m aiming to win the British F4 title.

“Racing in single-seaters is going to be a new challenge for me. There’s a lot to learn. I’m excited for what lies ahead as I work towards my goal of race victories and hopefully a title tilt.

“Having raced in Ginettas, which run alongside British F4 on the TOCA package, I know the tracks on the calendar well and that experience can help me.”

Sebastian’s father Andy has long extolled the importance of drivers gaining single-seater experience and developing an understanding of racing with slicks and wings; targeting British F4 as the series in which his son should make a single-seater debut. The move to British F4 the fruition of several years’ hard work.

“Every driver needs single-seater experience,” said Priaulx. “It’s so important.

“Looking at how British F4 has evolved over the last couple of seasons it’s clearly the place for young drivers to be. The cars look great, the competition is fierce and the TOCA package is really strong.

“A big part of becoming a professional racing driver is working with major brands and Ford is one of those. Ford’s commitment to motor racing gives Seb the chance to achieve great things in his career.

“I also drive for Ford so hopefully together we can win our respective races and championships. We want to take this opportunity to write a very special ‘Priaulx’ chapter in Ford’s history.”

For Sebastian, the target is clear: To secure the most coveted championship in British single-seater racing and the 12 FIA Super Licence points which go with it to propel him towards Formula 1.

At Arden he is well placed to achieve this. The Banbury based outfit head into 2018 after three consecutive years of fighting at the front in British F4. 2017 saw them duke it out for both the drivers’ and teams’ titles in the season finale and amass more podiums and pole positions than any other squad.

“Arden’s facilities are very impressive and all the staff are incredibly professional,” enthused Priaulx.

“When I visited the workshop I could get up close and personal with their Formula 2 cars. As a young driver it’s really inspiring to be able to see the next steps on the FIA single-seater pyramid right in front of you.

“Arden is a team that can take you from British F4 all the way up to Formula 2. They can give you the tools to succeed.”

In addition to drawing on the experience and expertise of the Arden team, Priaulx can rely on the support of sponsor 1st Central Insurance. A key player in the car insurance market, 1st Central have become an integral part of Priaulx’s fledgling career, a fact which is not lost on the Guernseyman.

“1st Central Insurance made it possible for me to race in 2017 and have played a crucial part in getting me on the British F4 grid. I’m over the moon to have them as a sponsor.

“To have the support of such a well-respected company gives me a lot of confidence. I want to keep performing, make them proud and have fun along the way.”

Priaulx and Arden’s F4 British Championship certified by FIA – powered by Ford EcoBoost campaign will kick off at Brands Hatch on 7/8 April, 2018.

Rookie Champion Alex Quinn joins forces with TRS Arden in British F4 return

29 MARCH, 2017 – British F4 Rookie Champion Alex Quinn has signed with TRS Arden in a deal which will see him return to the F4 British Championship certified by FIA – powered by Ford and contest the first four meetings of the season. The campaign will kick off at Brands Hatch this weekend on 1-2 April.

TRS Arden announced their 2017 line-up for the UK’s most competitive single-seater series last month, with it featuring Ayrton Simmons, Oscar Piastri, Yves Baltas and Olli Caldwell. However, with Caldwell having to wait until 11 June to turn 15 years of age and become eligible to compete, TRS Arden found themselves with a vacant seat for the first part of the season.

What better way to fill it than with a British F4 Rookie Champion? At just 15-years-old Alex Quinn was a leading light in 2016. He dominated the Rookie class, recording a remarkable 16 wins and a total of 26 podiums, including three overall race victories. The first of which in only his fourth car race on the back of a fantastic pole position at Donington Park.

The talented teenager from Camelford, Cornwall came within touching distance of doing the double and being crowned FIA British Formula 4 Champion, having still been in title contention at the season finale weekend.

“I’m so happy to race for TRS Arden and I want to say a huge thank you to them for this fantastic opportunity,” said Quinn.

“The aim is to make the best start I can at Brands Hatch to show people what I can do straight away in qualifying and the opening races.

“I’ve been quick at all the tracks we’ve tested at. We are in a very good place. The potential in the team is huge, especially with great drivers like Ayrton, Oscar, Yves and Olli. We’re all working together so well. I think it will be an excellent year.

“I want to race in British F4 for the whole season, so I need to perform in the first four meetings to attract sponsors and prove that I can fight at the front for the championship.”

Quinn has immediately gelled with Garry Horner’s Banbury-based outfit, showing front-running pace in a number of test sessions. The 16-year-old was quickest on only his first full day of official pre-season testing at Brands Hatch, by a margin of over three tenths of a second. A feat made all the more impressive given that much of the field already had plenty of 2017 mileage under their belts from preceding tests.

“TRS Arden is such a good team and it’s extremely well run,” commented Quinn. “They knew I had the speed before I jumped in the car at testing. We’ve been on the same page from the outset and I’ve been working really well with my engineer Clément Dumont whose work is exceptional.

“It was a brilliant feeling to be quickest at Brands Hatch and then quickest in the morning session at Snetterton; especially given the limited time I’ve had with the team and car in 2017 compared to a lot of other drivers.”

“It was great to see that someone like Alex can get behind the wheel of one of our cars and go so well from the outset,” added TRS Arden team manager Ben Bloomfield. “It’s a huge a testament to the hard work and dedication of everyone.

“The team have worked really hard all winter. The drivers have been putting in the effort in training and we have shown that we can be consistently on top.

“I know we have the best team and a strong driver line-up for the 2017 season.”

TRS Arden confirms driver line-up for four-car F4 British Championship title challenge

8 FEBRUARY, 2017 – Having come tantalisingly close to the FIA British Formula 4 crown for the past two years, Garry Horner’s TRS Arden team have announced another strong squad of international drivers for 2017.

Ayrton Simmons, Oscar Piastri and Yves Baltas will all compete with TRS Arden in the F4 British Championship certified by FIA – powered by Ford and the youngest of the four, Olli Caldwell, who doesn’t turn 15 until June, will race in the Ford F4 Challenge Cup. All of the team’s drivers are products of the acclaimed Young Racing Driving Academy.

Simmons, who is himself still only 15-years-old, returns to the fold after a strong maiden campaign in which he ended 2016 as British F4’s Rookie class vice-champion having recorded six class wins, despite having missed the first two rounds due to his age. In the season finale at Brands Hatch Simmons held off Championship runner-up Sennan Fielding for second place and almost sneaked past champion and eventual race winner Max Fewtrell. Although still only 15-years-old, Simmons unquestionably has both youth and experience on his side as he embarks on his first full season in single-seater racing.

Ayrton Simmons: “I’m extremely excited to sign for Arden for a second year running in British Formula 4, and I’m very grateful for their confidence in my performance. Having been part of their Young Racing Driver Academy for a few years now, I know I’m in the right team to attempt the championship title and I am working very hard pre-season to achieve it”

Australian karting ace Oscar Piastri lit up the timing screens on countless occasions during the first official pre-season test at Oulton Park last week.

The 15-year-old already has F4 experience having competed in the sister UAE series and has no shortage of accolades to his name. Piastri finished sixth out of a field of over 90 drivers in the 2016 CIK-FIA World OK-Junior Championship, third in the 2015 KF3 Australian Kart Championship, second in the 2014 Australian National Sprint Kart Championship and third in the X30 Junior IAME International Final that same year.

Oscar Piastri: “I am really happy to join TRS Arden for the F4 British Championship. Testing has gone really well and I’m excited to see what we can achieve in one of the most competitive single-seater series in the world. I’ve raced in countries around the globe, but having the chance to race at the UK’s premier circuits, including the home of the British Grand Prix at Silverstone, and having it broadcast live on television to millions of people is something very special.”

Like Piastri, American hotshot Yves Baltas has shown pace and maturity during testing. As part of the YRDA programme, Baltas tested with TRS Arden throughout 2016, and underwent plenty of simulator training, which has given him the perfect preparation for the challenge ahead. The New York City teenager started karting aged four and went on to claim numerous podiums across the United States in the Rotax Mini Max and Junior Max classes. Baltas turns 15-years-old later this month and he’s ready to prove he has what it takes to succeed in the Ford EcoBoost-powered series.

Yves Baltas: “Arden is a great team, the engineers are fantastic. They are helping me to learn everything and how to set the car up to ensure it’s as fast as it can possibly be. As testing has progressed I have felt increasingly comfortable in the car. It’s so much fun to drive, especially through the high speed corners. I think it should be a good year for us. I’m really proud to be an American driver with an American engine thanks to the 1.6 litre Ford EcoBoost engine that is used in British F4.”

Olli Caldwell completes TRS Arden’s four-car assault and is aiming to win the inaugural Ford F4 Challenge Cup in his rookie season in British F4. Challenge Cup drivers will race in seven meetings during the season for a share of a £10,000 prize fund courtesy of Ford Motor Company and free entry to the overall championship in 2018 worth £15,000.

Following an international karting career, which brought great success both in the UK and Europe, Caldwell competed in the second half of Ginetta Junior Championship last year. The young racer from Stockbridge, Hampshire will be the youngest ever driver to join the F4 grid on 11 June at Croft, as he turns 15 on the very same day as his first British F4 race!

Olli Caldwell: “I’m really excited to be joining Arden for this season’s F4 British Championship.  It’s something I have worked hard for over the last few years, having been through the Young Racing Driver Academy since I was 11 years old – I have received the best support throughout my career so far, I’m ready to take on the F4 Challenge Cup to claim the title.”
­­­
Ben Bloomfield, TRS Arden Team Manager: “I’m delighted to welcome the drivers on board for the 2017 season. It is great working with the YRDA once again, and to have a full four-car line up. The championship focuses on the young talent, and within the team we have four of the most talented young drivers on the scene. We have been working closely with the drivers over the winter period – last week at Oulton Park for the first official test we proved we have incredible pace this year. I’m looking forward to the first race at Brands Hatch.”

Red Bull Racing’s Pierre Gasly shines light on why F4 British Championship is key step on the road to F1

  • F4 British Championship takes centre stage alongside Formula 1 on the FIA stand at this year’s Goodwood Festival of Speed.
  • British F4’s youngest Rookie Class winner Arden’s Ayrton Simmons gets the chance to star alongside one of GP2’s most exciting prospects and Red Bull Racing reserve driver Pierre Gasly.
  • Gasly and Simmons provide fascinating insight into why F4 is the ideal starting point for any driver looking to work their way up to F1.

4 JULY, 2016 – The F4 British Championship’s stunning Ford EcoBoost-powered racer took centre stage on the FIA stand alongside Scuderia Toro Rosso’s 2015 F1 car at this year’s Goodwood Festival of Speed, illustrating the different stages of the FIA single-seater pyramid.

The FIA’s steps to Formula 1 are being trodden by Red Bull Racing’s reserve driver Pierre Gasly. Pierre began his car racing career in F4 and joined the F4 British Championship’s youngest ever Rookie Class winner Ayrton Simmons to discuss why the series is an ideal starting point for any driver.

“It brings back lots of good memories seeing the Formula 4 car here. It wasn’t that long ago when I was racing in F4. I was 15 and really excited to step up to Formula cars from karting,” explained Gasly who claimed four victories and three podiums in the category.

“Starting in F4 for me was the best option because it’s the easiest way to learn the basics with single-seaters. When you are a rookie aged 15 or 16 and starting your single-seater career it’s a good place to begin. It’s a powerful car with 160bhp and at that age it’s really impressive.

Gasly then shone a light onto why F4 plays such an important role in a driver’s development: “The races are different to karting. The way you need to overtake. The way you need to manage your race. Everything is different and I think it’s the best way to start.”

“With these cars you can really feel the downforce and it’s good to understand the performance that it gives you because as you step up to higher series the downforce increases.

“All the feelings you get from the car when you start in F4 increase with the speed [as you go up the FIA single-seater pyramid]. In F1 cars you go faster and have more g-force and downforce; but the way you drive the car is similar to F4.”

Aside from both having raced in F4, Gasly and Simmons have driven for Garry and Christian Horner’s hugely successful Arden team; one of a number of leading motorsport outfits which compete in the F4 British Championship.

Said Gasly: “I gained a huge amount of experience working with Arden in 2014 [in senior single-seater racing]. With all their knowledge they gave me what I needed.

“It was the first time I worked with an English team and they are really dedicated to what they do. Motorsport in England is something huge. You can feel it in the team. I know as a driver I have grown a lot working with them.”

Simmons echoed Gasly’s sentiments: “It’s great to see that Pierre did F4 and I know he has worked with Arden. It shows how good Arden are at developing drivers and making them fast. They have got the best engineers and they set the car up brilliantly.”

Gasly also provided an insight into being part of the Red Bull Junior Team; a programme which multiple F4 British Championship race winner Luis Leeds is also a member of: “They expect you to be the best on and off track so you need to be at the top of your game. They try make you better as a driver with lots of mental and physical training.

“It’s the kind of chance you only get once in your life. It’s a great programme and we have seen in the past that if they think you deserve to be in F1 they give you the chance.”

Speaking of chances, a beaming Simmons reflected on his day at Goodwood: “Having the F1 car next to me and meeting Pierre is really exciting. It’s been great to get some insight into F1. As a top team reserve driver, Pierre gave me a good overview of what it takes to move up the ranks.”

“I want to focus on the F4 British Championship and climb up the FIA single-seater pyramid like he has. The series develops you into a quick driver with initiatives like the MSA Driver Coaching programme. You work with your engineers and the MSA coaches to improve your performance.

“Everyone around the world keeps an eye on the F4 British Championship because it has so many talented drivers. The cars are so close, particularly with the Ford EcoBoost engines. There have been so many race winners this season and that shows how competitive the series is.”

To which Gasly, exuding a level of confidence and maturity that far belies his age of just 20 (a mere five years older than Simmons), provided his wise words of wisdom to drivers looking to succeed in British F4: “When you start in F4 it seems quite far from F1, but it’s actually really close. In reality you don’t have much time and in this short time you have to put in the hard work to try to get the best out of everything. Every second on track you need to learn as much as you can and use every experience to be better as a driver.”

Red Bull Junior Luis Leeds heads the TRS Arden charge to British F4 victory

  • Red Bull Junior Luis Leeds soaks up pressure from Zane Goddard to take masterful win for TRS Arden.
  • Chaotic first lap as front row starters Caroline and DeFrancesco crash out.

CROFT 19 JUNE, 2016 – Luis Leeds was calm and composed out front to take a brilliant win for TRS Arden in the F4 British Championship certified by FIA – powered by Ford. His second of the season and a huge shot in the arm for the Red Bull Junior driver’s title hopes. He took the chequered flag from this weekend’s form man Zane Goddard. Max Fewtrell crossed the line third, putting in yet another assured performance for Carlin to retake the lead in the standings.

There were fireworks on the opening lap. In a rare occurrence this season, customary fast starter Jamie Caroline struggled off the line from pole, whilst Devlin DeFrancesco flew from second.

Caroline kept DeFrancesco on his outside into turn one, but the Canadian bravely hung on to emerge out of Clervaux in the lead. It all ended in tears though as Caroline dived down the inside of DeFrancesco at Sunny – the two drivers colliding.

There was more contact further down the order as Alex Quinn and Frank Bird came together. It brought an unfortunate end to both of their races.

The safety car was swiftly deployed following the opening lap incidents and it was Luis Leeds who found himself at the front of the pack.

After several laps behind the safety car the Ford EcoBoost stars were unleased and as the race progressed Leeds came under pressure for compatriot Goddard, who pumped in a series of fastest laps on the hunt for his second win. Leeds was having none of it though. He responded brilliantly as Goddard upped the ante, able to match his pace and control the remainder of the race.

Said a jubilant Leeds: “It was a really interesting race with what happened at the start. I had to avoid the contact and tried to maintain my gap to Zane. I tried to pull out a gap in the first two laps and knew from there I could control the pace and save the tyres a bit for the last race.

“I thought I had a really big gap to Zane, but I didn’t. Zane is really quick around this track and you cannot underestimate that. He’s a fast driver.

“Full credit to Arden though. We had a tough time at Oulton Park so to turn it around is really positive. I’m finally back up there in the championship standings and now the plan is to keep this up.”

Added Double R’s Goddard: “I’m happy to be on the podium again with second. I got a really good launch to get past Fewtrell. It was unfortunate what happened to Devlin and Jamie. Luis was quick, but I tried to close the gap. I think we did the best we could with the car. I’m looking forward to the final race of the weekend where I hope to get the win from pole.”

Max Fewtrell was another driver who was all smiles after the race despite losing out to Goddard at the start. His second podium of the weekend enabling him to regain the lead in the championship. Fewtrell once again exhibiting the kind of metronomic consistency that will no doubt pay dividends in the title race.

Commented Fewtrell: “With it being a reverse grid race I knew there would be some chaos and I just made sure I was able to capitalise on that. The pace was really good in the middle of the race and towards the end I just relaxed a bit to bring home third.

“I’ll be looking to keep increasing my lead in the championship from here on out to ease the pressure. To be in the lead now is really good.”

It was a strong race for TRS Arden who have shown strong pace throughout the weekend. Rafael Martins followed up team-mate Leeds’s victory with an excellent fourth place and at times was inches away from working his magic to find a way past Fewtrell.

Young Racing Driver Academy members Jack Martin and Ayrton Simmons capped off TRS Arden’s top performance, locking out the top two places on the Rookie class podium; whilst Nicolai Kjaergaard provided consolation for Fortec Motorsports with third in the Rookie class.

“It’s good to get another Rookie class win this weekend”, said Martin. “I made a mistake which let Fielding through and that cost me sixth, but it was still a good race and I got decent championship points in seventh so I’m pretty happy.

“This circuit is very technical and that’s where I seem to be stronger than a lot of other drivers. I can get consistent lap times around a circuit like this and that allows me to battle at the front.”

Said TRS Arden team manager Ben Bloomfield: “We’ll take that result. That’s more points in the bag and another win under Luis’ belt. He’s back in the fight so watch this space.

“Jack is still very inexperienced and you can sometimes see that when he races against more experienced drivers, but he’s learning all the time and he’s got pace. It won’t be long until he’s really making his own mark. I’m pleased with his performance and I’m pleased with Ayrton too.”

TRS Arden team principal Garry Horner echoed Bloomfield’s sentiments: “I’m delighted to see Luis get another win. We’ve got good pace and the guys in the team have done a great job.”

Key title contenders Sennan Fielding and Petru Florescu proved their mettle by battling back through the field from 14th and 15th on the grid. Fielding sneaking past Martin for sixth down the main straight with three laps remaining.

Meanwhile Florescu’s drive through the field proved that the Romanian was not going to let the championship lead slip from his grasp easily. He will no doubt look to hit back in the final race of the day at 1746.

F4 British Championship certified by FIA – powered by Ford

Provisional results Round 14 Croft 19 June 2016
13 laps / 27.625 miles
1 Luis LEEDS / AUS / Arden 20m 28.615s / 80.94mph
2 Zane GODDARD / AUS / Double R +0.547s
3 Max FEWTRELL / GBR / Carlin +2.072s
4 Rafael MARTINS / BRA / Arden +2.955s
5 James PULL / GBR / Carlin +5.262s
6 Sennan FIELDING / GBR / JHR +6.789s
7 Jack MARTIN / GBR / Arden 1:21.131 +7.266s
8 Petru FLORESCU / ROU / Carlin +9.128s
9 Ayrton SIMMONS / GBR / Arden +10.827s
10 Nicolai KJAERGAARD / DEN / Fortec + 13.402s etc.

Fastest lap Zane Goddard 1m 21.935s / 93.36mph

Rookie class 1 Martin, 2 Simmons, 3 Kjaergaard

Provisional championship standings
1 Fewtrell 169, 2 Florescu 162, 3 Leeds 151, 4 Pull 145, 5 Fielding 124, 6 DeFrancesco 121, 7 Caroline 105, 8 Martins 104, 9 Quinn 100, 10 Goddard 84 etc.

Full times