Chris Dittmann Racing enjoyed one of their best weekends of racing in recent years, in the latest GB3 Championship rounds at Silverstone last weekend (14/15 August).
The Tewkesbury-based team claimed two victories at the home of the British Grand Prix with Ayrton Simmons, plus a pole position, while Branden Lee Oxley backed those results up with two sixth place finishes before delivering a starring performance of his own in the final race of the weekend.
After encouraging pace in the two days of testing leading up to the event, the team was optimistic heading to Saturday morning’s qualifying session, and that was justified in another tricky damp session. Simmons almost took pole for race one, but did secure P1 for the race two grid, while Oxley defied his lack of experience with the 10th fastest time for race one and fifth on the grid for race two.
At the start of the first race on Saturday, Simmons got an immediate jump on pole-sitter Oliver Bearman and built a massive lead of 2.3 seconds after just the first lap. That was wiped out when the safety car was deployed after Bearman’s car stopped early on, but undeterred, Simmons immediately rebuilt that advantage on the restart lap, and was comfortable enough to cruise home to secure his third win of the season ahead of Brazilian driver Roberto Faria.
Oxley had an extremely encouraging race too, climbing to sixth from his 10th place starting position, and resisting the vastly more experienced Bart Horsten. The combined result meant CDR claimed the highest points score of any team in the race.
Entering Sunday, and the team were optimistic of another strong result, with Simmons on pole for race two and Oxley a remarkable fifth on just his second weekend of racing in the UK. Simmons made another perfect start and again led the entire race, completely unfazed by Bearman behind to claim his fourth win of the year, at that point, the most of any driver on the grid, his second successive victory of the weekend, and his third win of the season at Silverstone.
Oxley again backed up Simmons’ score as he held fifth place until the final seconds of the race, as Horsten eventually forced his way through on the final lap. But Oxley’s contribution was again vital, as CDR once more outscored the opposition.
Undefeated, the team headed into the final race chasing a clean sweep of victories, and they very nearly did it courtesy of Oxley.
The Anglo-Thai driver started fourth on the grid but made a great start to run third in the opening half of the race. As the lead pair of Roman Bilinski and Faria got closer together, so did Oxley. Tasting a potential victory, Branden went for a move at Stowe on lap five, but the trio collided and while the other two retired, Oxley continued but in second place behind championship leader Zak O’Sullivan. Oxley had to defend from Horsten yet again, but held firm to claim second place across the line and savoured a podium finish, until he was later unfortunately disqualified by race officials.
Simmons meanwhile completed his best weekend of the year with a solid drive to 11th place. He scored a massive 77 points across the weekend and moved up to fourth in the championship standings as a result.
Team Principal Chris Dittmann said: “This is the sort of weekend we always felt we could deliver in the GB3 Championship this season, and to do it at a track like Silverstone makes it all the more sweeter.
“Ayrton was simply faultless all weekend, I think you’ll struggle to see a better performance all season. He had the first two races totally under control and was utterly dominant. He’s now firmly in the fight for wins again on every weekend, and the entire team is massively excited for the final two rounds.
“Branden should hold his head up extremely high too. His performances at Silverstone have been remarkable for someone with so little comparative experience. To take home two excellent sixth place finishes, and to stand on the podium at the end of the weekend is something he should be proud of. Although it ultimately didn’t work out in race three, it showed his level of ambition to go for the win while he had the opportunity, and we can’t wait to see what he can do at Oulton Park in September.”
Simmons commented: “It was a brilliant weekend, it slightly mirrored what we had at Brands but with an extra win this time! I’m very happy with how far we’ve come from our little dip in form, but I still think we have some areas to work on.
“But our hard work has really paid off, we’ve only got two rounds left now, so we need to try and keep this momentum as much as we can, and I’ll keep pushing and working harder.”
Oxley commented: “My second weekend of racing in the GB3 Championship at Silverstone, its one of my favourite tracks so I was thrilled to be racing there. Overall I had very encouraging pace from Thursday onwards, especially in the wet conditions with the team topping the times.
“The racing was very exciting as I had some very close wheel to wheel racing in all the races. Race three I finished on the podium in second place, however it’s a shame how the penalty turned out. Now we know we have the pace to be fighting at the top so I’m really looking forward to Oulton Park, I’ve never been there however I’ve heard how exciting it is!”