A Steep Learning Curve

Written by Team USA. Posted in Driver Blogs, Feature, Joey Bickers

Published on October 29, 2013 with No Comments

Corby, England (October 29, 2013) – Well, the weekend at the Formula Ford Festival has come to an end. It was a learning experience from day one of testing all the way up to the final race on Sunday. We began testing last Wednesday on the Brands Hatch Indy circuit. Brands Hatch is a flowing track with some unconventional corners. With the help of data, we were able to compare laps between Jake and I, and see where we both could improve. With this, we were up to speed and setting competitive lap times by the end of the day. But the learning curve did not stop there; the rain had yet to come.

I had only driven in the rain for a short while in the two tests we did at Donington and Silverstone, so I still had a lot to learn. Fortunately, I was able to follow Team Canada’s Scott Hargrove, who won this year’s Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda, and see the line he was taking on the wet track. I learned from his line and my lap times improved to where I had the fastest lap of the wet session.

Next thing I know it’s Saturday, and time to race in the wet. My first Heat race I started fifth on the grid, on a damp circuit, and I surprised myself by driving to a second-place finish. I was very happy with my result, as it was my first race in the wet as well my first ever standing start. My finish put me on the front row of the grid for the start of the Semi Final race on Sunday.

The track was dry for the Semi Final. I managed to get a good start and move from second into the lead before the first turn, ahead of my teammate Jake, but I struggled with the car in the opening laps and lost some positions. I fell back to eighth, struggling to hold a front running pace. I managed to make up a couple positions and move up to sixth, which put me 11th on the grid for the start of the Grand Final. This was not the result I would have wanted,] but I had to carry on and do my best.

For the Final the track again was dry. I managed again to make a good start and found myself battling for sixth. I came into Druid’s bend, defending my position, when I hooked wheels with the car behind and went off on the wet grass and into the barrier head-on. It was quite a big accident and a huge disappointment as I was unable to finish the race.

The good news is I learned so much over the weekend, on and off the track. I enjoyed the media coverage and interviews we did. Everything that happened on track was new to me, from the weather to the aggression of the racing, the standing starts, everything. Overall, I’m happy with what I’ve learned and I know I’ll perform better at Silverstone this coming weekend. All I can do is keep trying, keep learning, and remember to make the most the opportunity that’s in front of me.

I’m grateful to be given the chance to give my best effort, to learn, and to represent Team USA the best I can. Thank you to all the supporters and followers of the program, I hope to give a good performance for everybody, and for myself, at Silverstone.

In other news, I took a trip yesterday to RML, Ray Mallock’s racing shop, where they are taking on a number of projects. They are the designers and builders of the Nissan Zeon Coupe – the next-generation of Ben Bowlby’s Deltawing concept – along with other winning LMP2 cars and a series of touring cars including, most recently, the Chevrolet Cruzes which have been a dominant force in the FIA World Touring Car Championship. Jake and I got a tour of the whole facility with Ray’s son, Michael Mallock. It was a pleasure to see each area of production and design. Michael is a great guy to talk with and the entire RML Group factory is very impressive. I feel privileged to have seen the facility.

Thank you for reading,

Joey

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