KIWI ANDY KNIGHT JOINS ASTUTI MOTORSPORT FOR DOUBLE-PRONGED PHILLIP ISLAND ATTACK It will be an upsized Astuti Motorsport that heads to Round 6 of the Kumho Tyres Australian Formula 3 Championship for the CAMS Gold Star at Phillip Island Raceway...
KIWI ANDY KNIGHT JOINS ASTUTI MOTORSPORT FOR DOUBLE-PRONGED PHILLIP ISLAND ATTACK
It will be an upsized Astuti Motorsport that heads to Round 6 of the Kumho Tyres Australian Formula 3 Championship for the CAMS Gold Star at Phillip Island Raceway this weekend, with the team adding a second car.
New Zealand rising star Andy Knight will join the team, driving a recently purchased second Renault-Sodemo Dallara F304. The ex-Italian F3 chassis - sister car to Michael Trimble's King Sprints Renault-Sodemo Dallara F304 - arrived in the country late last week, with the Astuti Motorsport crew working around the clock to ensure it is ready to race.
This weekend will be Knight's Australian Formula 3 debut, after success in other open wheel classes including Formula Ford and Formula Toyota. Earlier this year, the 20 year-old contested rounds of the US Formula Ford 2000 series, before being forced out with a lack of funding.
His first taste of F3 came yesterday, Wednesday, as the team took part in an official Formula 3 test day at Phillip Island. To make the experience even more challenging, it was also Knight's first visit to the fast and flowing circuit.
"I think I might have seen Phillip Island once on TV, so I didn't really know what to expect when I got there this morning for the first time," he said.
"It's quite a difficult track to learn. Quite a scary track to be at for the first time in a new car, so we took it a bit easy. It's a lot different to what I'm used to at home, I'm a bit tired now after a day of it with the downforce these cars produce.
"It's easily the quickest car I've ever driven, and learning it at a new track was challenging. At least if you know the track and get into a faster car it makes it a bit easier.
"I learnt a lot out there in the laps I did, and I think that going away and coming back Friday for practice will help to give us a bit of time to think about it all, and hopefully we'll find some more time.
"The main focus of this weekend is to gain some experience, but if we're quick enough by the end of the weekend to get a good result that would be great."
Knight will join Trimble, who currently sits second in the Championship and has finished every race this year on the podium, for the weekend. Since the series last raced at Eastern Creek in July, he has been in the wars.
"A couple of weeks ago I came off my bike while training with a friend up in the Mountains at the Gold Coast," he said. "We had a bit of a coming together descending a mountain, I came off my bike at about 60km/h, and did a fair bit of damage to myself.
"The road was really abrasive that I fell on; it removed a lot of skin from the right hand side of my body. Most of it has cleared up now and it's not a hassle anymore."
Gains made in recent tests at Oran Park, shortly after Eastern Creek, and yesterday at Phillip Island, where the two cars completed over 400km, have given Trimble plenty of confidence for the weekend.
"It was a really, really good day at Phillip Island, it was quite productive," Trimble enthused. "After the ground we made on the car at the Oran Park test day, we felt we'd have a good base setup for Phillip Island and we did.
"We got the car out of the truck, put it on the track and it was really good straight away, much better than it's ever been. The setup we found at Oran Park is working really well. We kept refining it throughout the day, and it was working unbelievably well. It's really good to have the car working so well, but at the same time it's frustrating to know how easily we could've had the car like this all year.
"Having Andy to work with as a team-mate this weekend will be good. We worked pretty well together, and the more data the better. If you've got an extra car out there, you've got more chances to pick up something new.
"As far as the championship goes it's probably not realistic given we're 60 points behind Ben [Clucas], but I'm just really keen to get out there and win some races. We've definitely found some speed in the car and I think we should be able to give it a fair tilt."
After practice and qualifying on Friday and Saturday, the Astuti Motorsport pair will line-up for two-14 lap races on Sunday.