Steele shines at Snetterton with podium on F3 debut Aaron Steele excelled on his Formula 3 debut at Snetterton, taking third and fourth in the national class races for the Norfolk-based Litespeed F3 team. The 20-year-old Kent driver had...
Steele shines at Snetterton with podium on F3 debut
Aaron Steele excelled on his Formula 3 debut at Snetterton, taking third and fourth in the national class races for the Norfolk-based Litespeed F3 team. The 20-year-old Kent driver had originally planned to contest only one more round of the 2009 Cooper Tires British F3 Championship -- a traditional breeding ground for motorsport's stars of tomorrow, with a roll of honour that includes current Formula 1 championship leader Jenson Button. However, he has now been given an opportunity to race in at least two more events -- starting with rounds 11 and 12 at Donington Park later this month.
In race one, Steele, who started 20th, passed several cars and ran as high as third in his class during the opening laps. The 20-year-old from Rochester was on the pace from the off, recording his fastest lap of 1:04.782 on lap 10. Despite a gearbox problem later in the race that made it difficult for Steele to change between third and fourth gears, the rookie finished fourth in the national class, earning 10 championship points -- the first of his 2009 Formula 3 campaign.
Race two capped a brilliant weekend for Steele. Starting from 19th, he once again made his way up to third in the national class but this time retained the position until the chequered flag. A string of consistent laptimes sealed a champagne-soaked podium appearance and extended his championship points tally to an impressive 22.
Steele said: "It was certainly hard work; I was pushing like crazy every single lap! I studied the data from race one carefully and was able to make good progress in race two. I didn't set myself any targets coming into Snetterton because I wasn't sure exactly what to expect but now that I know my way around the car, I'll be aiming for two podiums next time out.
"Racing for Litespeed F3 this weekend has been fantastic. Everyone has been willing me to do well and the whole team have put their heart and soul into squeezing the best from the car. It's great to have that level of commitment from the guys."
Nino Judge, Litespeed team principal, said: "Aaron has had a great first weekend. Snetterton was meant to be an extended test for him, so to come away with a podium is an outstanding result. He made progress every session and seemed more and more comfortable in his 'new office' as the weekend went on. He didn't come off the track once -- a great achievement for a rookie driver -- and even when he had a couple of a mechanical problems, he didn't get flustered.
"What impressed me most was his determination. He really believes that he belongs in the upper echelons of motor sport. Aaron has proved himself as a good team player and he will be racing for us at least two more times this season."
Steele now turns his attention to an official Cooper Tires British F3 Championship test with Litespeed F3 at the Brands Hatch GP circuit tomorrow (July 7). The session will provide him with valuable experience ahead of his next Litespeed F3 outing at Donington Park in two weeks time, as well as the season finale at Brands Hatch in September.