With 2007 rapidly coming to a close, experienced motor racing star David Epton can reflect favourably on what is expected to be his final year in single-seaters having produced a string of typically impressive Formula Renault UK race ...
With 2007 rapidly coming to a close, experienced motor racing star David Epton can reflect favourably on what is expected to be his final year in single-seaters having produced a string of typically impressive Formula Renault UK race performances.
Despite competing in just 12 of the 20 rounds this season, the 26-year-old recorded points-scoring finishes in all but one of those to end the campaign a highly creditable 16th overall in the driver standings from a total of 23 registered competitors.
Eyeing a change of career path for 2008 with a potential move into sportscar racing, the Preston based driver has high hopes of switching to the Porsche Carrera Cup GB series next year. Having sampled a Porsche 911 GT3 Cup car for the first time back in July, David is rightly confident he could rapidly become a category front-runner next season.
Since his graduation from karting in 2001, David has competed in single-seaters with his greatest success so far coming in Formula Palmer Audi in 2005 where he became a multiple race winner and Vice-Champion of the category.
Originally from Fleet in Hampshire, the experienced 'slicks and wings' racer now works for BAE Systems at the company's base in Warton, Lancashire, as an accountant on the Typhoon military aircraft project and during 2007 he competed in Formula Renault UK with Loughborough-based team Apotex Scorpio Motorsport.
While planning to graduate to the new International Formula Master series this year, a budget shortfall meant David returned to Formula Renault UK in time for the third race meeting of the season at Thruxton in Hampshire. He immediately made an impact with two seventh place finishes and a deserved THB Clowes Driver of the Day award.
Remaining with the team for the following two rounds at Croft in North Yorkshire, the Honeywell Aerospace-backed star achieved another top 10 finish in the first of the weekend's races. He was then forced to sit-out the next event at Cheshire's Oulton Park though, again due to an unfortunate lack of funds.
Porsche debut whets appetite for more Rather than compete in the 11th and 12th rounds of the Formula Renault UK season at Donington Park, David seized the opportunity to make his Porsche Carrera Cup GB debut at the same race meeting and instantly produced impressive pace.
Lapping strongly in relation to the experienced front-runners, David qualified within a couple of 10ths of a second of the top eight even though he only had the benefit of two short 45-minute test sessions the day before the event. Although both races ended with unfortunate retirements, David marked himself out as an exciting prospect for future success in Porsche Carrera Cup GB.
Reflecting on his maiden sportscar outing, he said: "With no testing before the weekend apart from two short sessions on the Friday, I was quite pleased with the time I produced in qualifying as I know I didn't get the most out of the tyres or the car and still ended up within just two 10ths of a second of the top eight.
"Each time I sat in the car I could obviously feel the confidence growing. There were a lot of positives for us to take away regarding our first weekend in Porsche. We were unlucky to retire from both races but with more time in the car, I'm sure we could make our way into the top six pretty quickly."
At Snetterton in Norfolk in late July, David returned to the cockpit of his Formula Renault and although faced with an unfortunate retirement in the first race, he achieved an 11th place result in the second encounter.
Over the course of the following four races, at Brands Hatch in Kent and Leicestershire's Donington Park, David recorded two top 10 finishes and a further 11th place result. Then, during the championship finale at Thruxton, the Apotex Scorpio Motorsport driver raced brilliantly to eighth and ninth place finishes.
Not only did the last two races of the Formula Renault UK season see David produce a strong pair of drives on a personal level, his performances also helped Apotex Scorpio achieve its highest ever placing of third position in the entrant's championship.
Looking back on what could possibly be his final season of racing in single-seaters, David said: "It's been good working with the guys at Apotex Scorpio again this year, we've known each other a long time and they've helped me a great deal during my tenure in single-seaters.
"My greatest success came in Formula Palmer Audi in 2005 where we just missed out on the title in the end, even though I tied on points with the eventual champion. We enjoyed a number of wins in FPA and although never quite replicating that level of success in Formula Renault, I think we can be proud of our achievements."
David added: "It's frustrating we weren't able to secure a podium result this year but to have helped Apotex Scorpio finish third in the entrant's standings is satisfying. Now, we're looking ahead to 2008 and working incredibly hard to try and raise the necessary budget to make the full-time transition into sportscars."