The Ford British F4 championship is more than a support act to the British Touring Car Championship. It’s a feeder platform for the top talent in single-seater racing as they make their way towards Formula One. This year, Motul joined the series as the official lubricant partner to provide 300V for all racing engines during the season. One of the teams benefiting from this is JHR developments. We spoke to team boss Steven Hunter to find out more.
British F4’s JHR: “We’ve won in every single series we’ve been in”
Steven, you run one of the biggest teams in British F4. Can you tell us more about JHR?
Originally, we started as a Formula Renault team back in 1995. From then on, we have taken part in different series on the TOCA package over the years. And we’ve won in every single series we’ve been in. We jumped at the chance to compete in F4 and the single-seaters. F4 is a feeder from karting and junior formulas and the first step into single-seater racing building up towards Formula One.
How many cars and drivers have you got on the roster this year?
We’re running four cars this year, with four drivers: Abbi Pulling, Joseph Loake, McKenzy Creswell and Matthew Rees. So far, we’ve been on pole for every race this season, and we’re currently second and third in the driver’s championship, and first and second in the rookies. The level of development with our drivers is really high. We have a state-of-the-art bespoke simulator, so the instruction that is going into these drivers is essentially the same as them getting three years of experience during their first year of motorsport.
How does it feel as a team boss seeing this young talent progress?
It’s great to see them move on and move up. British F4 has produced some fantastic drivers over the years who have gone on to Formula One, such as Lando Norris. It shows that it is the direction to go in to move up the motorsports ladder.
One of the things notable about F4 is the racing is very close as all teams use the same engines and mechanicals. So, it’s exciting for drivers and spectators.
Yes, the racing is close. The parity between engines and chassis is phenomenal. We know that the kit we’re using is just as good as anyone else’s.
How did the team come about?
We first started the team to support my brother in Formula Renault. He went on to race in Porsche Supercup but sadly he died in a road traffic accident in 2001. And that’s when we changed the name of the team to JHR, which stands for his initials, Jamie Hunter Racing. The intention hasn’t really changed from what it was when we set the team originally. We never set it up as a business as such. It’s basically to advance drivers, win trophies and get the best out of every member of staff and every driver that comes into the team.
Motul is the technical partner of British F4, and also a partner of JHR’s. What are some of the benefits you see from this?
Yes. Motul is governing the oils in the engines for all teams. Again, it just increases the parity across the whole series. It’s an imperative part of balancing performance and gain. And at the end of the day, the main aim is to produce gain. By using a fixed oil, those little advantages oil gives you means we now all have the same advantage. In addition, we’re sponsored by Motul and that has given us exposure to the other Motul products Motul.
Is JHR competing in other championships or racing series this year?
At the moment, this year we're just doing the British F4 Championship. Normally we would also compete in Formula 3 at the same time, and that will come back online next year, but with the present situation as regards COVID etc, we've just decided it was wise to concentrate in one area for this year.