Team USA Scholarship Drivers Gain Their First Taste of Duratec Formula Ford
Corby, England (October 22, 2010) -- Less than a week after their first-ever overseas race at the Formula Ford Kent Festival, Spencer Pigot and Felix Serralles returned to the Brands Hatch "Indy" circuit today for a taste of Cliff Dempsey Racing's more powerful Duratec-powered Formula Ford car.
The teenaged Americans each ran two sessions in the same Ray GR10 chassis that Englishman Scott Malvern took to second place in this year's MSA Formula Ford Championship of Great Britain, and veteran team owner Dempsey continued to be impressed with their progress.
"We had a great day," said Dempsey. "They were quick, they were professional, they did a really good job. I'm really happy. To be fair they were probably, give or take, maybe a second off the ultimate pace which is what I would have expected for their first time in a Duratec and without running new tires."
Both youngsters thoroughly enjoyed the experience of running the more sophisticated and more powerful car, although not surprisingly they both wanted more seat time!
"Driving the Duratec car was incredible," said Serralles, 18, from Haines City, Fla., who took the first stint this morning in cool, dry, sunny conditions. "The car moves around so much under braking and it's very challenging in the fast corners like Paddock Hill Bend, although the grip level is not much higher than the Kent car. It felt as if the Kent car could drive better through the corners compared to the Duratec.
"It was a great day today, and perfect conditions to drive the car for the first time. I want to thank Cliff Dempsey, our great mechanic for the day, Peter Dempsey, and Jeremy Shaw for putting this together for us."
The two Team USA drivers also benefited from the experience of Malvern, who along with Peter Dempsey was on hand to offer advice and help with analyzing the data after their runs.
"Scott and Peter helped a lot and it was a great experience," said Pigot, 17, From Windermere, Fla. "We were running fairly old tires and I was surprised how much different the car was to drive compared to the Kent. The engine has a lot more power and it needs a completely different driving style. If you try to drive it like the Kent, hard on the throttle as soon as you can, it just understeers. You have to be much more patient with the throttle in this car."
Pigot and Serralles are staying in England until the Walter Hayes Trophy at Silverstone on November 6/7. Tomorrow Pigot will accompany Cliff Dempsey when he delivers the Kent race motors to Neil Bold Engineering in Manchester for a freshen-up, while Serralles will remain at the shop with Peter Dempsey to begin rebuilding the car which was heavily damaged at the Festival and required some repair work to the chassis.
A variety of other activities also have been arranged, including visits to Lola Cars, the iSport International GP2 team, the Donington Grand Prix Exhibition, Jaguar Cars and the McLaren Technical Centre.
The Team USA Scholarship has been helping young American drivers since 1990. Past winners include Jimmy Vasser, Bryan Herta, Tony Ave, Buddy Rice, Paul Edwards, Andy Lally, Joey Hand, Phil Giebler, A.J. Allmendinger, Bryan Sellers, J.R. Hildebrand, Dane Cameron, Josef Newgarden and Conor Daly. The program is supported by Doug Mockett & Company, Road Racing Drivers Club, Cooper Tire & Rubber Company, Walldinger Racing, Robo-Pong, Highcroft Racing, "The Road to Indy," Mazda, Bondurant School of High Performance Driving, Honda Performance Development, Silicon Salvage, McMurry Inc., Dyson Racing, The Gorsline Company, Integrated Performance Technology, Robertson Racing, PitFit Training, Sparco USA, Buttonwillow Raceway Park, eFormulaCarNews.com, OnCars.com, Speedstar Management, Styled Aesthetic, Manifest Group and numerous past Scholarship winners.