SUCCESSFUL WORLD SERIES TEST FOR WALKER
James Walker got his first taste of a World Series by Renault car at Paul Ricard in France earlier this week.The 23 year-old British racer drove the Championship-winning Comtec car on Wednesday afternoon before switching over to Kurt Molleken's KTR squad on Thursday.
Prior to Wednesday James had never driven a World Series car, or indeed driven at Paul Ricard, so he had a lot to learn from the outset. He spent the morning looking at the circuit and talking to the team, then straight after lunch he ventured out onto the track for his first taste of the 3.5 litre Renault V6 engine, a big step up from the 2-litre Formula 3 units.
"That first run was unbelievable," said James. "I had a lot of new things to get used to -- left foot braking, hand clutch, paddle shift gears and the like are standard on WSR cars to get drivers ready for F1 -- and when I took the limiter off at the end of the pitlane I went off like a rocket. It was fantastic! The power and noise from the engine were extraordinary, the brakes were amazing, and all in all it was hell of an experience!"
The afternoon was spent doing mid-length runs of around 6-8 laps. On James' very first flying lap he was just four seconds off the pace and his times came down steadily throughout the test, finishing just six-tenths away from the fastest time.
"The Comtec car was great from the word go," commented James at the end of day one. "I felt utterly confident as it was so stable at the rear which is just how I like it...very driveable!"
James moved over to the KTR car on day two and, with more track time available, he had the opportunity to play with the set-up of the car, opting to make a few changes to see how they affected the performance. As they had the previous day, James' lap times steadily fell throughout the sessions and he was pleased with the progress made.
"This test has been incredibly valuable for me as I need to decide on the next stage of my motorsport career", said James. "Both Comtec and KTR were very welcoming and provided me with great cars to drive. Now I have to go away and think about my options but I think I would be very happy in this Series."
James will be back in a World Series by Renault car in Valencia, Spain, at the end of the month.