Brandon McCaughan confirmed as GB4 Shoot Out winner

Published on Wednesday, November 15, 2023

Brandon McCaughan confirmed as GB4 Shoot Out winner

Irish racer Brandon McCaughan has been named as the winner of the 2023 GB4 Shoot Out for teenage National Formula Ford contenders, following last week’s assessment day at Snetterton. The 19-year-old, who finished fourth in this season’s BRSCC National Formula Ford Championship, wins a £20,000 contribution from MotorSport Vision (MSV) towards a seat in the 2024 GB4 Championship.

McCaughan was competing in the Shoot Out for the second successive year, having been amongst the top-three teenage talents in National Formula Ford once again. In his second season of racing in the UK, McCaughan showed vast improvements compared to 2022, and won races at Oulton Park and Kirkistown, in addition to being a podium regular.

Friday’s (10 November) Shoot Out pitched him against 17-year-old Canadian Nathan Yu. Both drivers gained extensive track time behind the wheel of Fortec Motorsport’s GB4 machinery, with each getting exclusive use of one of the team’s identically prepared Tatuus F4-T014 machines, and access to a data engineer and driver coach between sessions. The assessment culminated in new tyre runs, allowing McCaughan and Yu to put into practice the skills developed during the day, and to demonstrate their outright speed.

Despite battling chilly conditions throughout the day, both drivers were able to make considerable gains in lap time throughout the tests, and the best times set during the assessment would have placed them among the midfield runners at the GB4 event at the same circuit back in June.

The Shoot Out at Snetterton followed simulator sessions for each driver at Fortec’s Daventry base, with the team combining data from both virtual and real-world running to assess each driver’s ability and potential. McCaughan was ultimately selected as the winner once the data had been presented to championship organiser MotorSport Vision (MSV).

McCaughan now looks to follow in the footsteps of last year’s Shoot Out winner Colin Queen in graduating to GB4. The American competed with Fortec in the 2023 championship, impressively finishing fourth overall with 10 podium finishes.

 

Shoot Out winner Brandon McCaughan said: ”It feels brilliant to have won the Shoot Out, I’ve had my fingers crossed since we left Snetterton and it’s great to finally get the good news. I’m very grateful to everyone involved, and it frees me up now to start really trying to get plans in place to be on the grid for next year.

“I was able to go into the Shoot Out with a better idea of what to expect. Last year I went in with zero experience with slicks and wings, obviously going into it this year I’d still only had one bit of experience driving these types of cars but I still felt that helped me a lot. I knew what to expect, and I knew what areas needed adapting from the Formula Ford-style of driving.

“I’ve always had one set goal, which is to progress up the single-seater ladder, whether that be in America and going the IndyCar route or staying in Europe and continuing through to GB3 maybe in the following years. Winning the Shoot Out has definitely helped me get that foot up. It should hopefully make it all happen now.”

 

MSV Chief Executive Jonathan Palmer said: “In this year’s GB4 Shoot Out we were dealing with two promising young drivers at different points in their development. Brandon showed significant improvements compared to his already strong performance from last year - he’s clearly gone away from that event and worked hard to improve in every area, which is very impressive. Brandon is a deserving winner of the £20,000 prize, and I believe he is capable of being a front-running driver in GB4 next year.

“While we congratulate Brandon, we also acknowledge the efforts of Nathan, who flew over from Canada specifically for the Shoot Out. Considering his lack of experience, he delivered an excellent performance for his first test with a slicks and wings machine. I have no doubt that, with further seat time, he can make an impressive graduation to GB4, should he choose to do so.”

Fortec Motorsport’s Richard Dutton said: “Both drivers impressed us during the day, and would be strong contenders in GB4. Nathan showed excellent progression with his speed; we had to bear in mind that this was his first time in a slicks and wings car, and he only competed in a partial Formula Ford campaign, so he made big progress given his lack of experience.

“But Brandon came close to winning the Shoot Out last year, and this time around we felt he showed not just an improvement in speed, but also with his refinement and overall style too. He was much more consistent and smooth compared to last year, and had clearly taken our advice on board to develop his driving. He is looking to move up to GB4 next season, and he has shown he now has what it takes to challenge towards the front of the grid.”

 

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