Jack Sullivan: Trips and Tours

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Published on October 17, 2023 with No Comments

A competitive outing at Castle Combe (Oliver Read).

BRANDS HATCH, England – Hey everyone, it’s Jack again. I’m happy to say our two warmup races went well. At Silverstone, we might not have gotten the results we wanted but benefited from a ton of valuable seat time nonetheless. Castle Combe was where we finally seemed to figure something out. I was able to qualify third and finish fourth in both races after battling at the front. Castle Combe seemed to suit me a lot more with its very fast and high commitment flow.

Keeping up with our fitness regimes.

Over the course of our trip so far, we’ve had our very relaxed days and very busy days. A typical relaxing day consists of waking up at 9, making a grocery trip to either Waitrose or Tesco nearby, and generally grabbing a sushi meal deal for lunch and something for dinner. We usually take a bike ride to the Ammonite Motorsports shop to check in on the boys, then go to the local gym, B3 Fitness, and work out. After the gym we head home, Ayrton cooks us a meal, I watch a bit of Netflix, and go to bed.

My first time up close with an F1 car at Alpine.

On Monday, October 9, courtesy of Andrew Cumbers (who in fact helped out when Bryan Herta ran with the Team USA Scholarship in 1991!), we took a tour of Alpine F1. We began by visiting the team’s simulator where F2 driver Jack Doohan was doing some work before his FP1 session in the Alpine F1 car at the Mexican Grand Prix. We then toured the offices where all the car design is done. After seeing the engineers at work, we were able to see some of Alpine’s old F1 cars which now do testing for new drivers and marketing events. We then got to see the sub-assemblies section where we were able to hold parts like the suspension uprights, pedals and brakes. We concluded our tour by seeing the manufacturing department with the massive CNC machines and 3D printers.

Guenther Steiner was very generous with his time.

The following day, we were given a tour of Haas F1 arranged by Stuart Morrison. We even met Haas F1 Team Principal Guenther Steiner, who was kind enough to spend about 15 minutes talking with us and sharing some of the wisdom he has acquired from all his years in motorsport. We then moved on and saw a bunch of equipment which was ready to be shipped to Texas for the US Grand Prix. We went through the part repair room and the engineering office. We got to hold a Haas F1 steering wheel and play a reaction time game with the wheel. To close out the tour we saw the race bay where similarly to Alpine’s test cars, we saw many of Haas’ older race cars.

Maybe in a few years’ time….?

After visiting these two F1 teams, I’m astonished as to how they’re able to operate under a cost cap of $135 million. There is so much that goes into designing an F1 car let alone simulating, testing and building it and transporting an entire operation all over the world to 23 different races. It’s just mind blowing how they’re able to engineer these cars with such precision and with such technologically advanced designs. When you look at a real F1 car in person it’s overwhelmingly complicated and you can’t even imagine how many different processes each part had to go through to make it on the car and how putting it on the car will improve the performance. Overall, F1 is just absolutely brilliant in every way and that brilliance was multiplied when I got to see what goes on behind the scenes.

Spectacular view from the London Eye!

One day last week we woke up and decided to take a day trip to London. Simple as that! We hopped in a cab to Bicester Station, got on a train, and headed to the capital city. After some breakfast, which for me was a plate of lasagna(!), we then made a 3-mile hike towards some of the iconic London landmarks. We started with Buckingham Palace and the beautiful St. James’ Park nearby. We next made our way towards the river where we made a quick stop for a late lunch, then walked across the river to the London Eye Ferris wheel. It was spectacular not only to see a bird-eye view of London but to ride on one of the world’s tallest Ferris wheels!

Next, we got rental electric scooters and rode across Westminster Bridge to Big Ben, Westminster Abbey, the Parliament Building and much more. Our London tour concluded by eating at Lucky Cat by Gordon Ramsay where I ate the best sushi I’ve ever had. The train ride back was a little more eventful than we had anticipated because we missed our station and rode all the way to Oxford, from where we had to backtrack to Bicester. We finally arrived at 10:30 p.m.!

The elevation change at Paddock Hill Bend is incredible.

Overall, the trip has been a blast and I’m super excited to finally get on track at Brands Hatch this week for the Formula Ford Festival. We arrived at the track today, and I immediately agreed with everyone about the fact that the elevation changes are much more exaggerated in person. The entire facility looks top notch, and our recently found speed makes me confident that we’ll be at the front and fighting for the top spot. I hope we can bring home some hardware! If you’d like to tune in and watch the races, there will be a live stream on the BRSCC’s YouTube channel, and live timing will be available with this link: https://www.tsl-timing.com/Event/234230.

I would like to thank Jeremy Shaw, all the Team USA partners and supporters, and my family for this wonderful opportunity.

Until next time,

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