After great start to my NASCAR race in Martinsville in Virginia, USA , where I managed to finish 13th and with the top rookie of the race meeting award, things did not go the way we had hoped for during round 1 of the Superleague Formula race in Silverstone last Sunday. I was racing under the colours of the Dutch Football Club PSV Eindhoven, in a team managed by former Formula 1 driver Jan Lammers.
The deal was put together at the last minute, and the car was therefore delivered to the team equally last minute, thus not giving us enough time to build the car in time for the two test sessions on Thursday. We therefore went into the race weekend having never turned a wheel with the car. On Friday we had only three half-hour sessions of track time, totalling only 90 minutes, in which time we had to sort out all the problems associated with a brand new car, as well as finding the setup for qualifying on Saturday as well as the races on Sunday. Unfortunately, the weather was literally a dampener on our plans, as it rained for most of the day, allowing me only 6 laps on the track all day long.
Qualifying on Saturday was very difficult, considering we had only done a handful of laps on Friday, but I managed to qualify 11th, with only 1 second between me and the fastest guys on track, all of whom have driven in this championship last season, so they know the car very well.
The first race on Sunday started off quite well for me. The car had a bit too much understeer on the entry to corners, but I was able to live with it. However, on entry to my pit-box for my first pit-stop, my car ran over a pneumatic hose which had been accidentally left out on the pit-road by another team. The car dragged the gas cylinders with it, damaging the car, almost injuring my mechanics, but worst of all, it cost us over 10 seconds in lost time, and a top ten finish. The result of 12th in the race was not a true representation of our speed. The second race was even worse. I had a radio failure which meant that my voice communication with my team was nil. Thus, I could not inform them of the constantly growing brake problems I was facing. Two laps from the end of the race, the brakes failed totally, and I had to park the car by the side of the track.
My Next NASCAR race is scheduled on the 2nd of May in Kansas City, USA, and the next Superleague Formula race will be on 16th May, at the Assen circuit in Holland, followed by Round 3 the next weekend on 23rd May at the Magny-Cours circuit in France. The team & I will be spending at least 1 or 2 days doing some intensive testing in Europe before the next race, so that we are as competitive as we can be. Both the championships are televised live on NEO Sports.