Jake Craig: A Birthday to Remember

Written by Team USA. Posted in Driver Blogs, Feature, Jake Craig

Published on October 27, 2018 with No Comments

The view from the London Eye

BRIGSTOCK, England – It was time to put the driving gear away and be a tourist! On Tuesday Colin and I caught a morning train from Brigstock to London, where we were going to be spending the next few days.

As soon as we got off the train in London we bought some tickets for the open bus tour. We thought this would be a great way to get a taste of the city and then we could go back to anything we wanted to see more of. After about two and a half hours on the bus we decided to go on the London Eye, what a view that was! We couldn’t have had a better day to do it, because the weather was amazing and it was very clear outside.

A glimpse of McLaren, past and present

I was super excited for Wednesday, because not only was it my 21st birthday, we were going to the McLaren Technology Center. Surprisingly enough, this is actually my second birthday at an F1 factory! I was in Maranello, Italy at Ferrari on my 17th birthday. I could not believe how technologically advanced McLaren seemed; it literally looks like a Space Station. Every detail of the building is thoroughly thought out, even down to the stair railings. One of my favorite parts of the building was the mission control area where some of the engineers work during race weekends. I didn’t realize how much went on back at the team headquarters during race weekends. Another part I really enjoyed was seeing the production of their street cars. It’s my dream to own a McLaren one day! Sadly, I wasn’t able to talk them into giving me one for my birthday. We ended the day with some more sightseeing of the city and a nice Italian dinner!

The Carlin setup was impressive

Thursday was set to be another busy day. We started off the day with a trip to Carlin to check out their race shop. I was absolutely blown away by how advanced their shop was, I wasn’t expecting what they had for a Junior formula car team. The shop was almost a smaller version of McLaren! The shop consisted of a show room, offices upstairs, simulator room, graphics room, carbon fiber room, machine shop and a big workspace for the cars. Trevor and Stephanie Carlin as well as the rest of the team were all such inviting people. I really enjoyed getting a tour of the shop and seeing all the behind the scenes prep work that they do. They were also kind enough to let us have a taste of their simulator and run a few laps.

The Wall of Fame at West Surrey Racing

After Carlin we hopped on another train and headed to WSR (West Surrey Racing). I was looking forward to this, because Dick Bennetts ran Ayrton Senna back in his F3 days. He also ran many others that went on to make a big name for themselves in racing. Dick now runs cars in the British Touring Car Championship, utilizing the BMW, and in fact won another championship this year with Colin Turkington. We started off our tour checking out the trophy area, and there is definitely no shortage of trophies in the shop! We then went on to check out the cars. Our tour concluded in the meeting room with Dick telling us so many great stories about his past. I always enjoy hearing about peoples past experiences in racing. The meeting room was definitely one of my favorite areas of the shop, because there was a shelf full of helmets from some racing legends that ran with him such as Senna, Barrichello, Hakkinen, and many more.

I’m now looking on to the Walter Hayes Trophy next week at Silverstone. I hope to bring home a good result for the Team and all the supporters of the Team USA Scholarship.

Thank you for reading,

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