As I take a break over the new year period, it is a great time to reflect and share a few of my favourite highlights for an amazing 2016.
2nd in WA Formula Ford State Championship
I was aiming to win this, however given that this was my first championship racing cars and the quality of the field in Western Australia, I am very proud of the final result. With a red flag penalty and broken gear stick early in the season, it was a case of climbing back up the ladder during the year, and in the end I almost got there!
6 Pole Positions in a Row
Other than the first round of the year in which I had a clutch which was slipping (due to some sand I got in there after slightly dropping a wheel off the track on exit), this was every round of the season. Very pleased with being able to execute a quick lap with this consistency.
Collie Lap Record
After setting the fastest qualifying lap to take pole position, I had to start rear of field as I passed a car who was driving slowly for a red flag I had not seen yet. In race one I managed to get all the way up to 5th from position 13, and in the process broke the lap record by 8 tenths.
Performing After a Challenging Preparation
For the August round of the year, I was scheduled to have a fresh engine. Brett worked incredibly hard to prepare this however when it was completed, a manufacturing fault caused it to fail when first fired up on the dyno. This and further complications which followed meant that only a day before the round I had no practice since the previous round, and no engine to use!
Again, through the unrelenting work of Brett, about 4:30pm the night before the race my car was back together with a substitute engine, and I was on track.
In around 15 laps I had posted my quickest ever times, and the following morning was on Pole. I was pleased with being able to execute and cope with so many factors beyond my control.
Formula 3 Test
Without doubt a highlight was my first session in a Formula 3 car. I was very pleased to get up to pace as quickly as I did, and to manage the different experience of a car with significant aero downforce along with much higher G Forces than I had previously ever experienced.
3 Out of 3 Wins in the Hunt for a Championship
As mentioned above, due to misfortune (and a couple of mistakes) early in the year, I was playing catch up in the WA Formula Ford Championship. Going into the final round of the year I was in 2nd place, and 68 points behind the leader with 75 points on offer for 3 wins. As such, I was relying on an element of fortune, however the task for me was clear in that I needed 3 wins from the 3 races to give myself a chance.
As it happened, the leader of the championship encountered temperamental electrical problems which forced him to finish near the rear of field each race. This created for me the opportunity to experience the pressure of needing to win with the real possibility of the championship on the line. I managed to take pole position and all 3 wins, with the last in particular being extremely hard-fought.
In the end, the perfect result just left me a few points short of taking the title, however the experience is something which was invaluable and I will take forward with me into my future career.
Announcing my Drive for 2017 in Formula 3
Progressing my racing career is not only about my results, but the pulling together of all the components of our strategy. Achieving the opportunity to race not only Formula 3, but to do so under the guidance of the extremely professional Gilmour Racing is something I am very excited about.
I am currently working very hard on my preparation for the season, and I am determined to make the most of the chance and the faith shown in me by Errol and the team.
I am very grateful to all that supported me through 2016 and continue to do so throughout my career. My sponsorship team of ES2, Truck Dealers Australia, Edith Cowan University, TWD, Kingsway Community Bank Branch, Grand Toyota Wangara, Impressions the Home Builder, Signarama Joondalup, Rvend, Fullworks Firesafety, Online Logistics Solutions, McDonnell Group, F45 Hillarys and Trizone Fitness are incredibly supportive and are crucial for me to keep progressing. I once again want to thank them all for their ongoing support.
Thanks for sharing all of these highlights with me during the year and looking forward to many more in 2017!