2023 season review: “We’ve taken a huge step forward as a team”

The 2023 season marked Chris Dittmann Racing’s sophomore year in the highly competitive F4 British Championship, fielding three cars with returnee Jack Sherwood, second-year driver Daniel Guinchard and rookie racer Gustav Jonsson.

Also returning to the GB3 Championship grid to round out another busy dual campaign, the Tewksbury team ran two young drivers, Zak Taylor and Arthur Rogeon, while Jack also took part in one round.

We caught up with team owner Chris Dittmann during winter testing to reflect on the highs and lows of the season and how the goal to return to the very front of the grid is closer than ever.

“In the F4 British Championship, we made a big step up from the previous year. We did a lot of testing over the winter and were generally in the top two or three quickest cars in most of the tests,” he says. “That was really encouraging, and alongside the strong infrastructure of the team, and a good driver line-up, it meant we started the season really strong.

“Jack had a taste of the championship with us in 2022 as he did the last few rounds with us. He learned a lot and carried that into winter testing and into the start of the 2023 season,” Chris said about young talent Jack, who returned after enjoying the final four rounds of the 2022 season.

“He had a strong season overall with some ups and downs but that’s racing. He finished the year a much stronger driver than he started and was really showing what he was capable of by the end, which is what we aim to do with all the young drivers we work with,” he said. “It was a real shame that Daniel couldn’t finish the season with us due to budget as he was also another very promising talent, and we enjoyed working with him.”

With driver development at the forefront of the team’s ethos since its inception in 2010, Chris Dittmann Racing’s approach to helping drivers take the first step into single-seater racing was evident this season as it took Swedish teenager Gustav Jonsson from first time car racer to Rookie Cup champion in a dominant campaign.

“Every driver has their unique strengths and weaknesses, but we know how to tap into that and get the best out of them, which is certainly what happened with Gustav,” Chris said. “We saw a lot of promise and natural speed in him, but with a lot of the other rookies having had far more time in the car, we didn’t really have any expectations. Gustav absolutely hit the ground running and was impressive all season long, and we were so pleased to have achieved the Rookie Cup title with him.”

It was a similar journey for Arthur Rogeon, who took the leap from karts straight into the GB3 Championship as part of a two-year programme. The young driver was keen to take advantage of the team’s facilities and expertise to learn the ins and outs of the championship, before engaging in a full attack in 2024. The French teen showed his potential, scoring three podium appearances across the season in a highly competitive field.

“For Arthur it was obviously a huge jump coming straight from karting. There haven’t been many drivers looking to make that step into a championship like GB3, and especially without a huge package of testing behind them, so there was so much to learn on his part,” Chris revealed. “The first round was almost a bit of a dream; he qualified ninth which was massively impressive considering who he was up against. That immediately showed his true speed and we continued to work on that with him over the course of the season.”

Zak Taylor embarked on his second full year in the GB3 Championship after a tricky 2023 season, struggling during the first couple of rounds due to lack of seat time and testing but quickly getting back up to speed by the midpoint of the season, working hard with the team to take steps forward.

“Zak did the last couple GB3 Championship rounds with us last year after he was struggling with another team. He put in an impressive performance at the end of the year when he joined us, which was a big surprise to him and to everybody, but it showed his true pace and capabilities. Once he had found his footing again, we were consistently in the top six or top eight. Considering the level of the championship, I think that was a very good achievement,” Chris reflected.

With four out of five young drivers clinching trophies across both championships throughout the season, it’s evident that the team is consistently moving in the right direction.

“Winter testing is already underway with some potential drivers ahead of next year, so things are looking really positive. Our goals are always the same, to work hard together for the best results we can and continue to develop young drivers to get the best out of them. We’ve taken a huge step forward as a team, so I think some race wins are around the corner, and if we can fight for the top three in the Teams’ Cup next season that would be a great achievement.”

Chris Dittmann Racing is now hard at work preparing for the 2024 season, with plans to return to both the F4 British Championship and GB3 Championship, where it promises to be yet another highly competitive and exhilarating year of racing.

About the author: Chloe