Brabham Enjoys Strong Test in Preparation for Formula Renault BARC Winter Series Matthew Brabham gained his first experience today of the Brands Hatch Grand Prix circuit which will host this weekend’s opening two rounds of the Formula Renault BARC Winter Series in support of the British Touring Car Championship season finale. He was impressed. He was fast, too.
The 18-year-old from Boca Raton, Fla., posted the seventh fastest time in this morning’s first session, held in damp, cloudy conditions, then blitzed the entire 19-car field with a stunning lap in diabolically wet conditions later in the afternoon. His best time of 1:45.282 proved to be a full 1.061 faster than his nearest challenger.
Brabham had made a quick trip back to the United States following his European debut at the wheel of the Team USA Scholarship/Cliff Dempsey Racing Tatuus two weeks ago to take part in the Chris Griffis Memorial Mazda Road to Indy Test at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course – in which he impressed on his debut in a Star Mazda Championship car. The recently crowned Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda Champion returned to the UK earlier this week and was able to get some time on the West-Tec simulator to prepare himself both for this weekend and for the final Winter Series events which will take place at Rockingham on November 10. He also enjoyed a little more seat time – also in wet conditions – at Mallory Park on Wednesday prior to gaining his first experience of the famed former home of the British Grand Prix this morning.
“I'm very pleased to be back at the sharp end of the field,” he said. “The first session this morning went well but I was consistently quickest in the final session. The weather was diabolical. It was raining so much that I could barely see through the spray from the other cars so it was pretty sketchy and I ran off (the road) a few times.
“After the first practice session my eyes were really wide. I hadn't realized the elevation changes here were so great! The first session went well though and I got some good wet weather running, and we ended up P7. We had a really good look over everything and made some changes to the car. The second session was even more wet but the changes we made really helped and I was starting to feel a lot more comfortable with the car and the track. To end up in P1 at the end of the session was fantastic. It’s definitely given me some good confidence in the wet. I really enjoyed the track. It’s awesome! It’s now one of my favorite tracks and I'm really looking forward to the rest of the weekend."
Brabham will be back on track Saturday morning at 9:00 AM for the first of two 15-minute qualifying sessions which will determine the starting positions for the weekend’s two races. Qualifying for Round 2 will take place at 12:45 PM, followed by the first 12-lap race at 4:10 PM. Round 2 will start on Sunday at 1:10 PM.
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