DRIVER DIARY: NEW DIRECTION

I realised recently just how long it has been since I filed a diary entry – I won’t embarrass myself further by revealing exactly how long, but let’s just say there’s a fair bit to catch up on….

Those of you who follow me on Twitter (@Mattparryracing) or regularly visit the website will obviously know where I ended up racing in 2012, but we started the year with a few options as it looked as though we would be moving away from Formula Ford, which was changing its technical specification. Both Formula Renault BARC and InterSteps were on the list as those behind the AirAsia Caterham Driver Development Programme thought it would be beneficial to move into a class running slicks and wings, and we eventually went for InterSteps, largely because of its links with the Racing Steps Foundation and because we had tested the car and could run with Fortec Motorsport.

The InterSteps car is easier to drive than the FFord, simply because of the downforce it gets from its wings, but I also have a year’s experience in single-seaters, so the transition was easier because of that too. It was more a case of getting used to the different techniques required to drive the Mygale, which has a sequential gearshift as opposed to the FFord Van Diemen’s H-pattern. Going out to Sepang to test a similar car out there helped accelerate the adjustment, and now we’re just making small adjustments to the car each time we go out.

After the first round, where we still came away with two second places, we seem to have been the best combination in the field over the last few races, and are now leading the championship. Of course, things aren’t perfect, as we have yet to win all three races over a weekend, but that’s something we’re working on….

One of the quirks of the InterSteps series is that it builds its calendar as best it can around school and college terms, which obviously makes it more attractive to the young drivers (and their parents!) that it is trying to attract. Because this is ‘exam season’, there is currently a long break between races which, because I have already completed my college course, I am using to fit in a bit of work, testing and training in order to ensure that I am sharp when I return to the track in July.

We are also looking to do some testing with an eye on next year, and that is one of the benefits of running with a team like Fortec. Not only are they an extremely professional team, but they also have cars in other championships further up the ladder – from FRenault right up to the Renault World Series. While I would obviously love to try them all, I think our sights are set on either FRenault or F3 for now….

As I said, college is done and dusted – I can’t believe that the two years there have gone by so quickly. However, I am glad to report that I leave with a Distinction in the National Diploma I was studying. That opens up the opportunity to go to university in future, but the plan now is to take a year out to concentrate on racing, although I will be working as well as having fun!

Right now, it’s back to training. I’m back on the bike and doing a lot of cycling as well as my usual workout, and the benefits of everything I’m doing were clear to see on the MSA weekend in the Lake District. However, I’m determined to get even fitter – perhaps fit enough for F3…..

Until next time,

Matt

 

Article created by Craig Llewellyn.