In a way this race weekend at Brands Hatch is the end of an interesting era in A1GP. It's the end of the current Lola chassis now it's on to the greatly anticipated Ferrari. The Lola has produced some great races for A1GP in the last three years,...
In a way this race weekend at Brands Hatch is the end of an interesting era in A1GP. It's the end of the current Lola chassis now it's on to the greatly anticipated Ferrari. The Lola has produced some great races for A1GP in the last three years, primarily because the car is very difficult to drive and mistakes are made often. For a tall driver like me it was hard to fit in the short cockpit and made things extra demanding. It has made me have to think much more about my driving and not push too hard. It has been a great experience being the rookie driver and I have learned so much about myself and my technique as well as what a great team is made of. Team Netherlands may have not won the Championship but no other team I have been with works as hard to be competitive. The atmosphere within the team is always inspiring and the balance between work and fun was always good, we have some great laughs together.
The rookie sessions were a challenge this season because practice is so short and with many responsibilities with brake bedding and install checks it shortens the session even more. Tires were also troublesome, only once did I have a new set this year and there is such a difference between used and new tires it was incredible. This also made it difficult to compare with my teammate Jeroen because Practice Session 2 is always started on a new set of tires. Looking back at the weekends I am happy with my results, though lap time was not always representative of what we accomplished I believe I contributed and hope that this validates a shot with the new chassis, I would love to give it a go in the Ferrari.
Looking back at the rookie session this weekend I have to say Brands Hatch is an amazing circuit, it was definitely a learning experience for me. Straight away I could feel an improvement with the back up chassis we used (our primary car was damaged in a previous event) and began Rookie Session 1 working on the engine install lap and brake bedding procedures. The flow of Brands Hatch makes it such an impressive track with its big elevation changes and very fast blind corners.
In Rookie Session 2 I really started to get a feel for the circuit and was improving every lap, learning the difficult blind turn in points. Unfortunately that came to a halt when on lap 7 I tried to improve on the entry to paddock bend (turn 1) and turned in too late missing the apex and went off track into the sand trap. It's a shame because I was improving every lap and was about to come in to make a set-up change for some harshness over the bumps that affected the rear end, but sometimes you have days like these. Brands Hatch is a great circuit and it would of been great to get as many laps as possible but today in my last run in the Lola I had to settle for 12th overall.
I would like to thank Jan Lammers and all of Team Netherlands for the opportunity to drive in A1GP. I would also like to thank all of my Dutch supporters; you have been great and thank you for embracing this Dutch-American!
Until next time,
-credit: Arie Luyendyk Jr.