This weekend I competed in my first ever Formula 3 race meeting, at Wakefield Park Raceway in the 2017 Open Wheel Festival. Unlike all other races to come this this year, this was a non-championship event, which made it perfect for me to compete in a race without the pressures of scoring well.
Race day consisted of five sessions: 10 minutes practice, 15 minutes qualifying, and three races: 8, 10 and 15 laps.
Due to rain in the morning, practice was run on a wet track, which was also a great experience for me to get a feel for the car on a slippery surface.
Fortunately, the track dried prior to qualifying. Throughout qualifying, I held the fastest time of 55.08s; but on his final lap, my teammate and former national champion, Jon Collins, beat my lap by just 0.08s with a 55.00s lap. Meaning that my final qualifying position was second.
During the first race, I started off the front row, in 2nd position. Due to starts being something I have little experience with in this car, I was overtaken off the line. I tried to hold my position around the outside of the first corner, but was squeezed onto the exit kerb and had to yield. Due to the narrow nature of the circuit, I had to wait until the final corner before I could attempt to make a move under braking, and it working, meaning I took back second place. From here, I was a few seconds behind Jon, who was leading the race, and all I could do was to try set the best laps I could and chase him down within the remaining 7 laps. While I was lapping quicker, it was not quick enough to catch within the short distance left in the race, so I crossed the line in second place.
The second race I, again, started from second place. Off the start, I stalled, but quickly hit the start button and got going quickly. However, this left me in sixth place, and a long way behind. I managed to advance to fifth place at the second corner, and got quickly into fourth later in the lap. This left me with a bit of a gap to third, but I managed to close that down and overtake shortly into the next lap. Moving into second was a bit more difficult, after attempting a move twice and following for two laps, I managed to pull off a move down the inside of the first corner. This left me with 6 laps to go, and a large gap to the lead, meaning I crossed the line, again, in second place.
The third and final race was again started from 2nd place. My start in this race was much better than the two previous races, however, I still dropped to third, but managed to quickly take back the position at turn 3. For the next couple laps, I was gradually catching the lead, but then as we both settled in to a groove the two of us pulled away as we were for a dominant 1 – 2 finish once again.
Overall, it was an absolutely awesome weekend, and I am definitely happy with how I went! Congratulations to Jon for taking out the win. I would like to say a massive thank you to Errol, Gary, Callum, Scott, Michael and Jenny from Gilmour Racing for allowing me to race with them, and also thanks to Jon for all his words of advice over the weekend!
A huge thank you to my sponsors ES2, Truck Dealers Australia, The Wealth Designers, Edith Cowan University (ECU), Kingsway Community Bank Branch, Impressions The Home Builder, Grand Toyota Wangara, Fullworks Fire Safety, Ballajura Indoor Sports, Online Logistics Solutions, Rvend Vending Machines, Signarama Joondalup, Focused Recruitment, McDonnell Group, F45 Training Hillarys, Trizone Fitness and Mercure Canberra for the accomodation during the event. I would also like to thank the large number of people who supported me over the weekend – “Team Calan” – which means so much to me.
Next round is mid-April at Winton Motor Raceway, can’t wait!