Today I had my first ever experience in a Formula 3 racing car. The test took place at Queensland Raceway, in Ipswich with Gilmour Racing in their Dallara F307 car.
The major differences between a Formula Ford and a Formula 3, are that the Formula 3 has wings, and a lot more downforce. It also has about 60 extra horsepower and weighs roughly the same. This means it has about 40kph extra top-end speed, but much, much more cornering speed. This extra cornering speed meant that I was cornering through turns one and two at around 195kph and 175kph respectively – on new tyres it would be even quicker. This meant I was experiencing huge G-forces, only just below 3! Basically, this means that I am experiencing lateral forces which are nearly 3 times stronger than the regular gravity force. This puts huge amounts of work on my neck, which means it will definitely be an area of focus for my fitness training.
When I first went out onto the track, I was mainly getting used to the extra cornering speed and braking power. Initially, I was setting lap times of around 1:11 to 1:10. After two or three laps, while I was adapting to the new car, I managed to get my lap times down into the 1:08 and 1:09s. Until the last lap where I managed a 1:07.8.
The next session, I went out and did pretty much the same thing, just working on braking later and getting used to the downforce. Gradually over the session, my times dropped and I managed a 1:07.1 toward the end of the session, with quite a number close to this in a row. Given it was around 40 degrees during the day (which affects engine power), the team were very pleased.
For the next two sessions, I began to practice some starts, which is different to the Formula Ford as there is no clutch modulation, only throttle. The clutch is still used to start but is dropped as soon as the lights go out. I managed to practice about quite a few of these at the beginning of each session, and then just ran the sessions like normal. Chris Gilmour was there to provide me with some great advice.
Overall, it has been a really enjoyable day and it has been an amazing experience, and I am really looking forward to what lies ahead. I can’t thank team boss Errol Gilmour enough, along with Gary engineering for me and talking to me over the radio, Matt on data and Chris for spending time with me on my starts.
Thank you to my fantastic sponsors Truck Dealers Australia, ES2, Edith Cowan University, TWD, Grand Toyota Wangara, Impressions the Home Builder, Rvend, Kingsway Community Bank Branch, Fullworks Firesafety, Online Logistics Solutions, Signarama Joondalup, McDonnell Group, F45 Hillarys, Trizone Fitness and the Mercure Brisbane for the great accommodation.