Daly and Newgarden Taste the High Life

After their spectacular showing at the Formula Ford Kent Festival, 2008 Team USA Scholarship winners Conor Daly and Josef Newgarden have been busy with a variety of activities over the past 10 days and are now ready to concentrate on preparations for the Walter Hayes Trophy event at Silverstone this weekend.

The two American teenagers spent a day sightseeing in London immediately after their successful foray to Brands Hatch, then traveled to Banbury for a tour of Prodrive which encompassed visits to Aston Martin Racing and the Subaru World Rally Team. The next day included a visit to the WilliamsF1 team, for which Conor’s father, Derek, drove in the 1980s.

“Our visits to Prodrive and Williams F1 were awesome," said the younger Daly. “Going to Prodrive for Josef and me was a real treat mainly because we both have Subaru road cars! Williams was really great as well because of the fact that my father raced for them and because it’s a Formula 1 team factory – and you don’t get to see those everyday!

“Being able to visit a team that my Dad drove for was very cool because I don’t really see much evidence any more of his racing career other than pictures and trophies at our house. But here I could see an actual car, his name, his helmet in a trophy case, and when I was introduced to everyone in the factory and reception building, they seemed to acknowledge me as a Very Important Person as the son of a former Williams F1 Team driver. I felt incredibly honored."

The original plan called for Daly and Newgarden to undertake an extra day of testing at Anglesey Raceway in North Wales before catching a ferry across the Irish Sea so the Cliff Dempsey Racing team could prep the cars at its home base just north of Dublin. Unfortunately, that idea was scuppered by a violent storm which prevented the team from even unloading the pair of Team USA Scholarship cars. The good news is that the weather improved sufficiently to allow the ferry crossing to go ahead, and the pair enjoyed several days of Irish hospitality which included attending the wedding of Conor’s cousin, Stephanie, and a few visits to some local karting venues to keep their competitive juices flowing!

This week also has included some shuffling of the schedule, which originally called for Daly and Newgarden to catch a return ferry to England and then drive to Silverstone in the team’s transporter in time for a couple of days’ testing. Instead, as a result of Newgarden’s Formula Ford Festival triumph, the two Americans were specifically invited to take a tour of the McLaren Technology Centre – home base for the team which this weekend in Brazil will be attempting to clinch the Formula 1 World Championship title with lead driver Lewis Hamilton.

“Having some time off after the Festival to relax and visit some race teams has been a real treat for Conor and me," said Newgarden. “The time we spent in Ireland with both the Daly and Dempsey families was really enjoyable for us both. Then today we had an opportunity to visit the McLaren Technology Centre which has to have been the highlight of our trip so far. It’s just an amazing place and Neil Trundle, who has been with the team since the early 1980s, gave us a great insight to the factory and made the whole experience truly one to remember!"

The focus now returns to Formula Ford and two more days of testing at Silverstone prior to this weekend’s races.

“I have been looking forward to Silverstone since the minute after the Festival at Brands, so I can’t wait to get onto the track," said Daly. “I am very hungry for a victory and I know it is within reach with the help of Cliff Dempsey’s team!"

“I’m excited about being able to race at Silverstone, because it has such a great history," added Newgarden. “I know we have a very competitive car going into the weekend and I’m looking forward to another strong result."

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