DRIVER DIARY: REASONS TO BE CHEERFUL

Oulton Park may not have been too kind to us in terms of results, but the Fluid Motorsport Developments team and I headed to Snetterton for round three of the Formula Ford Championship of Great Britain in good spirits.

The Norfolk circuit is, of course, Fluid’s local track, and traditionally that of Van Diemen, which was born and bred just a stone’s throw from the circuit. It is also probably the venue closest to where I live, so it was as much of a ‘home’ race as any of us will have this season.

If we were hoping for a ‘home’ advantage, however, we were to be disappointed, even though the Van Diemen was pretty good through the faster corners. The bad luck that we had at Oulton returned in race one, where a stone went through the radiator after the driver I was chasing ran off the road and brought dirt back on with him!

Races two and three were better, but showed that I still have a lot to learn. I’ll admit that I was already thinking of the chequered flag when I made a mistake on the final lap of Sunday morning’s race and lost out on fourth place – and race three was even more frustrating. I was running in third when I made an error at the Esses and spun, dropping back to eighth place. What was worse, however, is that the safety car came out at the end of the lap, and remained on track until they decided to call an end to the race….

If that was disappointing, however, there were several positives to take from the weekend, not least the fact that we showed that we were genuinely getting closer to the pace of those at the front of the field. Indeed, only a couple of drivers now appear to be consistently faster than us, and I know that I still have time to gain as I get more experienced.

I enjoyed the new Snetterton 300 layout, which added the full infield section to the layout that has been so familiar over the years. A lot of drivers have criticised the new section, but I had to admit that I enjoyed it – and I didn’t think passing was as difficult as some have made out….

There is a five-week gap between Snetterton and round four of the season, at Brands Hatch, but we have still been busy preparing for races that are coming up in the next couple of months.

There is no testing on the Brands Hatch GP circuit ahead of the June meeting itself, so I managed to get a few hours on the iZone simulator at Silverstone. It’s not quite like driving the track, but it’s pretty close, and I’m sure that it will help give me a head-start when practice and qualifying come around.

I was back in the car for some testing, however, as Fluid prepared for the forthcoming Eurocup rounds at Spa and Zolder by going to Belgium. I have to say that Spa lives up to its reputation as a spectacular track, both to visit and to drive. I can’t wait to get back there in early July for the second round of the Eurocup, and the same goes for Zolder.

Although not in quite the same league as Spa when it comes to facilities or thrills, there is still something about the ‘other’ Belgian circuit. Whether it’s the setting, or the venue’s history, you notice a feeling while you’re there and, like Spa, I think it should be good for the Van Diemen when we return. The car was certainly on the pace at both venues in testing, so it bodes well for the back-to-back rounds next month.

There is nothing else planned testing-wise before we turn up at Brands Hatch in a couple of weeks, so it’s a good feeling to have been competitive in Belgium. Until then, it’s just a matter of training hard and working on other preparations….

Until next time,

Matt

 

Article created by Craig Llewellyn.