SWB Motorsport back on the British F4 grid in 2017

16 DECEMBER, 2016 – Following a sabbatical in 2016, Daventry based F4 British Championship certified by FIA – powered by Ford team SWB Motorsport will line up on the grid of the UK’s leading single-seater series in 2017.

The squad’s first season in the series yielded 14 podiums; two overall and 12 in the rookie cup with Rubens Barrichello prodigy Rafael Martins. The Brazilian showed that the team were capable of running at the front and was frequently at the sharp end of proceedings, finishing on a high with an overall podium at the Brands Hatch season finale.

On the back of a year away to concentrate on a new business venture which is now flourishing, Simon Baldry’s SWB Motorsport is back with a vengeance and ready to race in the UK’s most competitive single-seater series once again.

Said Baldry of his squad’s return: “2016 has been a busy year for us albeit in a slightly different field, but now that business is up and running successfully we are ready to turn our attentions to racing. We have the same top quality personnel; a very tightly knit and skilled set of lads and lasses and driver coaches who possess a wealth of experience.

“We have two cars and are looking forward to hearing from drivers with a genuine will to win from the outset. We are an experienced team that knows how to nurture new, young drivers who require the level of support and attention a two car team can easily give them.”

SWB Motorsport are based a stone’s throw away from Silverstone, the home of British motor racing and Formula 1. The outfit has its own fully equipped in-house fitness centre and simulator, both of which are free for its drivers to use.

Added Baldry: “We have a fitness coach and a sim engineer to make sure the drivers are at their peak all the time. By keeping as much in-house as possible, not only does it keep costs down for drivers, but it means we can teach them the things we know and the way in which we want them to work.

“The coaches our drivers work with are the same coaches that will be present at British F4 race weekends. This enables a far more effective and beneficial relationship to develop in comparison to if a driver coach was only available for the three days during a race weekend.”

Sponsors are also set to get an exhilarating taste of life in the fast lane whilst maximising return on investment according to Baldry: “We have a fleet of five EcoBoost-powered Formula Fords, as well as a two-seater model which sponsors and their guests can drive and make use of at our test track in Oxfordshire.

“Our cars can be branded in company colours and we have a host of additional options to enhance sponsor days and meet strategic activation objectives.  For us sponsorship is about so much more than just a sticker on a car.

“In addition to live television coverage on ITV4 to an audience of over 20 million during the ever-popular TOCA race weekends where British F4 stars alongside the BTCC, SWB Motorsport will have dedicated social media channels to connect with fans across digital platforms.”

Baldry is also keen to emphasise that his outfit is not looking to finish second to anyone in 2017 given the squad’s prodigious track record: “We had a great year in 2015 in MSA Formula,  following our success in Formula Ford and Formula Renault. Therefore we are looking for the best drivers to put us at the front again.

“We have copious amounts of data at our disposal. We’ve kept our hand in over the 2016 British F4 season to ensure we didn’t fall behind other teams and to prevent us from going into 2017 blind. We’re ready to hit the ground running.”

To find out more about SWB Motorsport’s comeback plans and for any information regarding racing with the team in 2017, please contact Simon Baldry by telephone on +44 (0) 1327 264 551 or via email which can be found in the British F4 teams section.

The team is set to begin a comprehensive testing programme from 1 February 2017 and is looking forward to beginning its exciting new chapter in motor racing with the hottest young prospects behind the wheel.

Martins’ masterclass in defensive driving sees him take maiden British F4 victory

  • Rafael Martins triumphs in 10 car battle for the lead, following immense pressure from James Pull.
  • TRS Arden break Carlin’s run of domination.
  • Heartbreak for Double R’s Zane Goddard who crashes out from the lead.

OULTON PARK 5 JUNE, 2016 – Rafael Martins took his first single-seater win in style at Oulton Park, surviving a race-long attack from Carlin’s James Pull and a host of challengers all vying close behind for the top positions. It was yet another F4 British Championship certified by FIA – powered by Ford race full of suspense and drama, particularly as race victory for Martins looked far from certain early on.

Poleman Zane Goddard executed a perfect getaway. In clean air he was able to pull away from Rafael Martins and James Pull. The Aussie looked comfortable out front and all set for a well-deserved maiden British F4 victory, clearly having the measure of his pursuers.

However, on lap four it all fell apart. The Double R racer clipped the tyre bundle on the inside of Knickerbook which sent him spearing off through the gravel trap and into the barrier. It was a heart-breaking outcome for the Australian youngster who cut a disconsolate figure at the side of the track; reminiscent of a distraught Mika Hakkinen after spinning out from the lead in the 1999 Italian Grand Prix.

Nevertheless, take nothing away from TRS Arden’s Rafael Martins who put in a top drawer performance. Soaking up pressure from James Pull throughout, as the Carlin driver jinked from left to right lap after lap in a bid to force a mistake. On several occasions both drivers ran side by side down the main straight, but Martins was steadfast in his defence, clearly putting a previous season’s experience in the Ford EcoBoost-powered series to good use to secure victory.

Said a jubilant Martins: “This is my first race win in cars. I have no words to describe my feelings right now. Huge thanks to the team and my sponsors, FISK and Fish. Last year we had a good race here and I knew that this weekend was our weekend.

“We had a lot of problems at the beginning of this year, but this weekend feels like the start of our season. We can move forward in the championship and fight for the title.

“I was quicker than James in the first part of the circuit, but he was quicker than me in the second part so that’s why we were so evenly matched.

“We came here with a difficult setup, so to bounce back like this shows how Arden can find solutions and turn things around.”

Added second place man Pull: “The start was ok. Goddard got away really well and it was a shame what happened to him. I felt I had more pace than Rafa, but it’s pretty much impossible to overtake here. I tried really hard to get past him, but he defended well. This second place is still great for my championship.

“Of course I want to win, but more people remember the F4 British Champion and that’s what I’m aiming to be. Thanks to ADD Motorsports and Pioneered Athlete Performance who have been working with me to get me ready for this weekend which we knew would be so physically demanding.”

Behind the squabbling Martins and Pull, a train of eight cars were in hot pursuit, setting up an incredible 10-way fight for the podium places. It was on the final lap when the Ford EcoBoost formation flying came to an end. Florescu saw his chance to steal third from Max Fewtrell with a late lunge and deftly timed braking manoeuvre. Both drivers ran wide though in a bid to emerge in front, with Alex Quinn scything up the inside to steal the podium spot and his eighth Rookie Class win of the season.

Commented Quinn: “Once again we showed we had the pace to be at the front. I got a better start this time and I didn’t lose any places. It’s so hard to pass on this track. It’s a lot harder than it looks.

“I’ve got even more confidence for the next race with this podium. I braked as late as I could to pull off that last lap move. I think if I had left it any later it might have been a different story, but I judged it perfectly and it was an exciting end to the race.”

Despite recording fastest lap of the race, Sennan Fielding was unable to put his pace to good use. Like so many drivers, he found the Oulton Park circuit notoriously difficult to overtake on.

Finishing in ninth the JHR Developments driver remained positive: “It was just one big train of cars, but it was good to get fastest lap. We knew the weekend was going to be hard from qualifying and we’ve been trying a few different things with the car that haven’t been working. I’m scratching my head a little bit, but I’m looking forward and hopeful that we can get them resolved.”

Fielding finished just behind Luis Leeds who had a much better showing than his 13th place finish yesterday. The Red Bull Junior brilliantly moving up five positions during the race to score valuable points, as he followed home yesterday’s race winner Devlin DeFrancesco and Billy Monger.

Jack Martin rounded out the top 10, capping off a strong race for the TRS Arden team. The Young Racing Driver Academy member was pleased with another Rookie class podium: “It’s good to get these points. It was a tough race, but the pace was good. Arden have done a brilliant job setting up the car so big thanks to them. We’ve got the pace now, so we’ll try to push on in race three.”

Jamie Caroline was an early casualty, trundling back to the pits in his wounded Pirtek Racing Jamun racer with a clutch issue on lap one and will look to strike back in the final race of the weekend which gets underway at 1740.

F4 British Championship certified by FIA – powered by Ford

Provisional results Round 11 Oulton Park 5 June 2016
14 laps / 31.164 miles
1 Rafael MARTINS / BRA / Arden 20m 04.690s / 93.12mph
2 James PULL / GBR / Carlin +0.130s
3 Alex QUINN / GBR / Fortec +0.765s
4 Petru FLORESCU / ROU / Carlin +1.431s
5 Max FEWTRELL / GBR / Carlin +1.889s
6 Billy MONGER / GBR / JHR +2.426s
7 Devlin DEFRANCESCO / CDN / Carlin +2.617s
8 Luis LEEDS / AUS / Arden +3.044s
9 Sennan FIELDING / GBR / JHR +3.166s
10 Jack MARTIN / GBR / Arden +3.529s

Fastest lap Sennan Fielding 1m 24.664s / 94.65mph Est Rec

Rookie class 1 Quinn, 2 Martin, 3 Simmons, 4 Kjaergaard
Full results 

 

Pull leads the way in Ford MSA Formula pre-race test at Donington Park

  • James Pull heads incredibly evenly matched Ford EcoBoost-powered field.
  • Alex Quinn and Luis Leeds at the front of the chasing pack.

DONINGTON PARK 14 APRIL, 2016 – Carlin’s James Pull topped the times in Ford British F4’s pre-race test at Donington Park today, just as he did at the Brands Hatch opener a fortnight ago. He headed a super-close field where the top 15 drivers were covered by just a second.

Fresh from a hat-trick of podiums at the season opener, Pull was fifth fastest in the morning and let loose in the afternoon, posting the quickest time of 1:08.195 halfway through the session.

It was a time that left Pull over three tenths clear of the field, but Fortec Motorsports’ Alex Quinn and TRS Arden’s Luis Leeds hit back in the final minutes to see them finish second and third fastest respectively, with Quinn just over a tenth off of Pull.

Said Pull: “I really enjoy driving this circuit and it’s my favourite on the calendar. We hooked up a great lap. There’s still more in the bag, but it felt really good and I’m very happy.

“It’s all about getting in the groove at Donington. Finding a rhythm, staying smooth and not overdriving. The goal is to get the win this weekend. Qualifying will be tense. I just need to stay calm and focus.”

Quinn added: “I think we are quick enough to be fastest. In the second session I was really improving towards the end and the chequered flag came just too soon. I learnt loads at Brands and now it’s time to put it into action.”

Said TRS Arden team manager Ben Bloomfield of Leeds’ performance: “It was disappointing that Luis got held up in traffic at the end of his run, but from the sector times we know that we’ve got the pace in the car. He’s already feeling quite confident which is very impressive given that he’s never driven around this circuit before.”

An entertaining morning session saw the track move from wet to dry and it was Quinn who grabbed the attention by topping the times, but only just. JHR’s Sennan Fielding was less than three thousandths of a second away from the Racing Steps Foundation backed driver.

All drivers improved upon their morning’s best efforts thanks to far better track conditions, but Fielding was the exception to the rule due to technical problems.

TRS Arden’s Rafael Martins found himself third quickest in the morning and ended the day fifth fastest overall. “We were quick this morning”, said Martins. “I think a P2 or P3 grid slot is possible. We’ll obviously aim for pole, but James Pull was very fast today. We’ll look at the data to try to find something extra for qualifying and I’m sure our race pace will be even stronger.”

Harry Hayek was another who seemed to revel in the morning’s variable conditions ending up seventh and just dropping outside of the top ten by the time the chequered flag fell on the test, with his Jamun team-mate Jamie Caroline finishing several places ahead of him.

Said Hayek: “It’s been an up and down day. The first session was wet and then it was drying. We were right up there. In the second session we struggled a bit, but we’ll look at the data and aim to break into the top ten in qualifying.”

Championship leader Petru Florescu had a relatively quiet day in tenth, but after his emphatic performance just two weeks ago, it’s hard to believe that there’s not plenty more pace up the Romanian’s sleeve.

It was a premature end to the day for Patrik Matthiesen who brought out the red flags with 20 minutes remaining after beaching his car in the gravel at Coppice. Nevertheless, the Dane was quick early on suggesting he’s capable of bringing home his first points of the season.

With the field so evenly matched, everyone is eagerly awaiting qualifying at 1100 on Saturday and for the lights go out in the first of the weekend’s three races at 1500.

Leading testing times Donington Park 14 April, 2016 (am/pm)
1 James PULL / GBR / Carlin 1:09.297 / 1:08.195
2 Alex QUINN / GBR / Fortec 1:08.966 / 1:08.337
3 Luis LEEDS / AUS / Arden 1:09.205 / 1:08.407
4 Max FEWTRELL / GBR / Carlin 1:09.515 / 1:08.571
5 Rafael MARTINS / BRA / Arden 1:09.085 / 1:08.674
6 Devlin DEFRANCESCO / CDN / Carlin 1:09.813 / 1:08.773
7 Zane GODDARD / AUS / Double R 1:09.448 / 1:08.792
8 Jack MARTIN / GBR / Arden 1:10.537 / 1:08.827
9 Jamie CAROLINE / GBR / Jamun 1:09.982 / 1:08.891
10 Petru FLORESCU / ROU / Carlin 1:09.625 / 1:08.926 etc.

Full times

James Pull leads the way for Carlin in Ford MSA Formula test at Rockingham

  • Carlin’s quartet dominate day one of testing at Rockingham.
  • Max Fewtrell and Alex Quinn maintain strong testing form from Donington Park.

22 March, 2016 – The penultimate day of collective pre-season testing at Rockingham circuit was dominated by Carlin’s super-talented array of drivers, with the experienced James Pull taking top spot on the timesheet.

Pull, who raced for both JTR and Fortec Motorsports in the series last season, has taken little time to settle into his new surroundings at Carlin. He put in an assured performance at the Rockingham, where he already has a wealth of experience behind the wheel of Ford EcoBoost-powered machinery.

The 16 year-old was quickest of Carlin’s driver quartet in the morning session, but it was in the afternoon where he really came into his own, posting a time of 1:18.249 that would not be beaten.

The fastest man from last week’s test at Donington Park was once again a key player in proceedings. Max Fewtrell ended the day in second, less than half a tenth off of the time set by his teammate.

Fortec Motorsports’ Alex Quinn and TRS Arden’s Rafael Martins were the only drivers to break the Carlin stranglehold at the top; the former finishing third and the latter fifth.

When the chequered flag finally fell Martins found himself sandwiched between Carlin’s Devlin DeFrancesco, as well as the recently re-signed Petru Florescu.

Florescu provided additional excitement in the morning when carrying a little too much speed that sent him through the gravel and into a barrier at Pif-Paf, ultimately damaging the front of his car.

The day’s biggest improver was Richardson Racing’s Ben Sturge, improving upon his morning time by over a second in the afternoon. This proved to be enough to see him break into the top ten by close of play.

Testing resumes at Rockingham tomorrow with the 2016 Ford British F4 season launch also taking place. Today’s drivers will be joined by the likes of TRS Arden’s Luis Leeds and JHR Developments’ Sennan Fielding who will no doubt be eager to knock the Carlin drivers off their perch.

Testing times Rockingham 22 March, 2016 (am/pm)
1 James PULL / GBR Carlin / Ford British F4-EcoBoost / 1:18.699 / 1:18.249
2 Max FEWTRELL / GBR Carlin / Ford British F4-EcoBoost / 1:19.191 / 1:18.283
3 Alex QUINN / GBR Fortec / Ford British F4-EcoBoost/ 1:18.436 / 1:18.736
4 Devlin DeFRANCESCO CAN / Carlin / Ford British F4-EcoBoost / 1:19.123 / 1:18.518
5 Rafael MARTINS / BRA Arden / Ford British F4-EcoBoost / 1:18.992 / 1:18.706
6 Petru FLORESCU / ROM Carlin / Ford British F4-EcoBoost / 1:19.209 / 1:18.731
7 Ross MARTIN / GBR Fortec / Ford British F4-EcoBoost / 1:19.306 / 1:18.838
8 Zane GODDARD / AUS Double R / Ford British F4-EcoBoost / 1:19.196 / 1:19.201
9 Nicolai KJAERGAARD / DEN Fortec / Ford British F4-EcoBoost / 1:20.432 / 1:19.323
10 Ben STURGE / GBR Richardson Racing / Ford British F4-EcoBoost / 1:22.902 / 1:21.656 etc.

TRS Arden team confirms its four drivers for coming season of Ford-powered MSA Formula Championship

  • Experienced F4 racers Rafael Martins and Luis Leeds join the team
  • Seats also for karting graduates Jack Martin and Ayrton Simmons
  • Team boss Horner says another competitive season is in prospect

11 DECEMBER, 2015 – Brazilian talent Rafael Martins is set to continue his MSA Formula career next season with the TRS Arden team, joining championship newcomers Luis Leeds, Jack Martin and Ayrton Simmons in a four-car assault on the Ford EcoBoost-powered series.

Australian Leeds, 15, is a fresh signing to the Red Bull Junior programme and arrives in the UK with experience of the Mygale-Ford EcoBoost chassis thanks to successful outings in the Australian F4 Championship. Britons Martin, 15, and Simmons, currently 14, have extensive karting CVs.

Rafael Martins, who turns 17 in February, made a big impression in MSA Formula last season – his first season of car racing – scoring two overall podium finishes on his way to championship ninth with SWB Motorsport. Said Rafa: “I am very happy to join this great team that finished second in the MSA Formula Championship. I believe I had a great rookie year with a smaller team, and I’m sure with TRS Arden I will have every opportunity to compete for wins and the championship from the start to the finish of the season. I just want to thank everyone who believes in me and supports me to be able to be part of this great team.”

Ben Bloomfield, TRS Arden’s F4 team manager, said the team was delighted to have all its drivers signed for the coming season: “We have two drivers coming to Arden with experience from Formula 4 and two rookies who have had very competitive seasons in karting. They both tested very well with the team and impressed with their level of skill, determination and professionalism in their approach to the cars. We are looking forward to another strong and competitive season in 2016.”

TRS Arden claimed nine MSA Formula race wins in 2015 courtesy drivers Ricky Collard (the championship runner-up), Sandy Mitchell and Rookie champion Enaam Ahmed. Garry Horner, the CEO and team principal, said: “We are absolutely delighted with our signings for the upcoming season in MSA Formula. With these four talented young drivers, we are sure we have the right line-up to have a very competitive and successful season.”

Luis Leeds claimed two wins and nine podium finishes in his first season of single-seater racing at home in Australia, and enjoyed a career highlight last month when he won the opening race of the new Mexico F4 Series at the Mexican Grand Prix. “I am ecstatic to be given the opportunity by Red Bull to be a part of the TRS Arden F4 team and to race in MSA Formula,” he said. “Thank you so much to the Red Bull Junior Team and Dr Marko for setting this up and helping me to pursue my dream of racing in Formula 1. Racing in this year’s Australian F4 and Formula Ford Championships has introduced me into the world of open-wheel racing. I believe that I will head into 2016 with a great team providing me with the car and support that I need.”

Jack Martin joins the team following a season in EuroMax international karting and the British SuperOne Championship, where he enjoyed several top-10 finishes. The British driver joined the Young Racing Driver Academy, partnered by Arden, in 2013 and has performed progressively in testing with Arden’s MSA Formula team. “I am very excited to join TRS Arden for my first season in single seater racing,” said Jack. “I have moved on from karting this year and spent the last few months focusing on testing in cars. I have spent some time working with the Arden team already, having been with their young driver programme since 2013, so it was the natural choice to select Arden to race with next year.”

Ayrton Simmons, who will not reach MSA Formula’s required minimum age of 15 until the end of April, has participated in the SuperOne and Rotax Euro Challenge Championships this year. He finished fifth of 48 competitors in his first outing at the MSA Kart Masters GP at the UK’s largest kart track, PFI. Said Simmons: “I am very happy for this opportunity to do what I love. I know it will be a complicated season because I will miss two rounds but I will do my best and I’m very grateful to have the team’s trust. Thank you to all the YRDA staff for the good work getting me ready for the change to single seaters, and to my family and sponsors because I couldn’t do this without their support.”

The opening rounds of MSA Formula – Certified by FIA, Powered by Ford EcoBoost are set for Brands Hatch in early April. The series is Britain’s official version of the FIA’s Formula 4 concept and was introduced this season as a supporting series on the live-televised British Touring Car Championship package.