BRENTWOOD, England - Britain’s next generation of single-seater heroes will face their toughest challenge of the season so far when they tackle the super-fast Thruxton circuit this weekend (4/5 May).
With speeds topping 140mph on sections of the Hampshire race track, the 1.6-litre EcoBoost-powered cars will be working their hardest also.
After his runaway start to the 2103 Dunlop MSA Formula Ford Championship, Dan Cammish is the man the rest of the grid has to try to beat. The Leeds youngster stole the three Easter Brands Hatch rounds and repeated his pole position-to-chequered flag performances a fortnight ago in all three Donington Park races to give himself and the JTR team a healthy advantage in the title race.
But Dan missed last month’s Thruxton test, and that may offer a sliver of hope to those chasing him. Quickest in that test, and by a margin of a quarter of a second, was 17-year-old rookie Harrison Scott in his Falcon Motorsport Mygale. After a quiet and sensible maiden weekend of car racing at Brands Hatch, Harrison was truly in the swing of things at Donington Park, recording his first podium results and with them two Scholarship Cup class wins.
Another rookie who impressed at Donington was 18-year-old Sam Brabham, son of Le Mans winner David Brabham and grandson of three-time World Champion Sir Jack. Sam missed pre-event testing and had no experience of the circuit but nonetheless qualified mid-grid and went on to record a hat-trick of top-seven placings in the races.
The third pilot of the JTR squad is young American Camren Kaminsky. His EcoBoost-powered Mygale was the quickest through the speed trap in the Thruxton test at 142mph, and the Phoenix man will be hoping to repeat that speed and translate it into some good results following a disappointing Donington weekend.
Jamun’s Argentinian drivers are showing great pace; Juan Rosso collecting a brace of seconds at Donington on his championship debut - he missed Brands Hatch with an injured hand - while his countryman Nico Maranzana took a podium also to reinforce his championship second place. Their British running mate Luke Williams showed strong pace at Donington also.
Formula Ford may have been given wings and turbo power but some things do not change - it’s still a multi-chassis formula and the two Sinter cars, piloted by the Radical team’s James Abbott and by SWB’s Fred Martin-Dye, showed good Mygale-chasing pace last time and there’s the prospect of more to come.
Harrison Scott had only one team-mate at Donington, in the form of talented and very rapid young Finn Lassi Halminen, but it is hoped that at Thruxton the team will be back up to full strength with its third Mygale in the hands of a driver new to the championship.
Ex-Ginetta racer Andy Richardson was another man to miss the Thruxton test, but the Lincolnshire driver is nonetheless upbeat: “I know the circuit well from my days in Ginettas, so that won’t be a problem. We are getting to grips with the Mygale with every session, and I’m hopeful we should go well.”
Enigma Motorsport’s George Blundell is hoping for good things at Thruxton, despite his test there being hampered by incorrect gear ratios. George, who finished on the podium at Brands Hatch, said: “It wasn’t too bad but we didn’t have the right gears. It was my first time at Thruxton, too, and the first session was wet - it was a case of going around to learn where the track goes. The second session was dry and I started to find my feet a bit. Hopefully with the right gears and a good qualifying everything should come together.
“I struggled a bit at Donington; we had done no testing there on new tyres and when we put the new tyres on for qualifying we weren’t too sure exactly where we were. Come the third race we were a lot quicker, and right up there on pace with the front runners. Things would have been a lot different if we had had the budget to test on new tyres. But I am staying positive and I have the feeling that Thruxton will be good for us; I’m looking forward to it.”
Thruxton provisional timetable
Saturday 4 May - 0930 qualifying, 1450 Round 7, 1745 Round 8
Sunday 5 May - 1515 Round 9