Gloucestershire’s Zak O’Sullivan produced a scintillating performance to claim two race victories as he was crowned the youngest-ever winner of the GB3 Championship at Donington Park over the weekend.
Heading into the season finale at Donington with an enormous 112-point lead over his nearest rival with a maximum of 116 points available, O’Sullivan, 16, was virtually assured of being crowned champion, such has been his dominance this season.
However, the Autosport BRDC Young Driver of the Year finalist left nothing to chance, with imperious drives to claim victories in both race one and two, before finishing eighth in the reverse-grid race three to ultimately end the championship on 545 points, some 164 points ahead of second-placed Ayrton Simmons (Chris Dittman Racing).
In being crowned champion, O’Sullivan, from Withington, near Cirencester, beat the previous record set by Enaam Ahmed, who was 17 years old when he took the 2017 title and eight months older than O’Sullivan is now.
In a record-breaking season, O’Sullivan has taken five pole positions, seven wins, eight fastest laps and seven other podium finishes, securing the honours for most laps led, most pole positions, most wins, most podiums and most fastest laps.
At Donington Park, O’Sullivan showed the kind of outstanding form which has stood him in such good stead throughout the season.
Qualifying on pole for race one, the teenager secured a commanding lights-to-flag victory to cement himself as championship winner.
The Carlin driver simply needed to finish the race to wrap up the title but led every lap to clinch his first title in car racing, taking the chequered flag almost a second clear of Hitech GP’s Reece Ushijima.
The newly-crowned champion then eased his way to consecutive victories with another assured performance in race two, this time starting from third in a race which began behind the safety car due to soaking wet conditions.
Once the safety car retreated to the pits at the end of lap two, O’Sullivan was on the front foot, picking off both Bart Horsten and Ushijima ahead of him before quickly establishing a huge lead which was never challenged, as he took the flag by more than seven seconds – in the process securing the team championship for Carlin.
In the reverse-grid season finale, O’Sullivan again produced an outstanding drive, gaining 13 places to move from 21st and last on the grid to finish eighth and cap a historic weekend.
On his record-breaking championship win, O’Sullivan said: “It’s absolutely awesome. It has felt like quite a lot of waiting around over the past four or five weeks since the last round!
“It’s fantastic to get my first championship with Carlin and it all went swimmingly this weekend. In the early phase of the season we were able to build a bit of a lead and in the second phase I’ve been a bit unlucky with some DNFs, so it has been championship management mode since then.
“It’s been an excellent championship to compete in and has taught me a lot about the importance of consistency and maximising every race, even when you’re not in a position to win. I really feel as though I have learned a lot.”
After being crowned championship winner, O’Sullivan will now benefit from a two-day FIA Formula 3 test at Valencia and receive the Jim Clark Trophy, which is presented by the British Racing Drivers’ Club (BRDC) at its annual awards in December.
“Moving into FIA F3 is still the ambition, so to get the opportunity to test the car at Valencia is something I am relishing,” added O’Sullivan.
Trevor Carlin, Team Principal at Carlin, was fulsome in his praise of O’Sullivan, saying: “Zak has driven like a champion all season. He is incredibly composed and mature in and out of the car and, as a Team Principal, he’s the kind of driver you know you can rely on to get the job done.
“At just 16, without a doubt he has a great future ahead of him.”