Brannam Shows Her Speed At 2nd Formula BMW Test Multiple time national go kart champ and aspiring Formula BMW racer Jessica Brannam returned to Roebling Road Raceway for another test session with Gelles Racing. Last time Jessica tested with the...
Brannam Shows Her Speed At 2nd Formula BMW Test
Multiple time national go kart champ and aspiring Formula BMW racer Jessica Brannam returned to Roebling Road Raceway for another test session with Gelles Racing. Last time Jessica tested with the team, she was just getting a good feel for the car by the time the session ended. This time, she wanted to prove that she has the speed to compete in the Formula BMW series.
When Jessica got on the track, she picked right up where she left off at the last test. It was obvious that she took seriously what the engineers told her she needed to work on. Jessica was consistently faster and managed to take 2 seconds off of her best time from her last test session. She was asked what she did to improve so much. "The engineers told me I needed to work on my shift timing and technique. After I got home from the last test, I practiced on a simulator every chance I got."
Jessica was happy with her results, even though she did not get as much quality track time as she would have liked. The car suffered a variety of mechanical problems throughout the day. She has developed a very good relationship with the engineers and they worked very hard for her to solve the problems. The engineers had this to say about working with her." I love working with Jessica. She is easy on the car and still manages to go fast. When there is a problem she does not get upset. She lets us do our job so we can get her back out on the track as quickly as possible."
The conditions on the second day of testing were much worst. Jessica was not able to match her times from the previous day, but did come close.
Since she was the only one testing in the Formula Renault, it was hard for her to get a good idea of what her lap times should be given the conditions of that day. Jessica had this question for the crew." I asked what my lap times should be compared to the Gelles team drivers that were there testing in the BMW's. They told me I should be about 3 seconds faster in the Renault." Hearing this made her feel good about what she had accomplished over the 2 days of testing. At times, Jessica was as much as 2.8 seconds faster that the team drivers.
Team owner Bob Gelles was on hand for the test. He had this to say about Jessica's progress. "It was good to see her come back and go even faster this time. I have no doubt, with more testing; Jessica can compete in the Formula BMW series." When asked about Jessica's chances of getting the open seat on the team, Mr. Gelles said. "Nobody we have tested for this seat has even come close to the speed that Jessica has shown. If someone comes forward with the financial support she needs to do more testing, the seat is hers."
Jessica was asked how her search for a sponsor to support her in this series was going. "Not so good, yet! I am surprised how tough it has been, especially with the popularity of women in racing right now. I am surprised a company has not come forward to take advantage of the marketability someone in my position could have."
Jessica's family has taken her career as far as they can afford to take it. Jessica said. "People assume that if you race you must be rich. I can assure you that this is not the case with me. In fact, we had to sell my go kart and trailer just so we could afford for me to go do these test sessions. She went on to say. "I really don't have much choice about which way my career goes. If someone likes what they see in me and wants to go oval racing, let's go! I have been successful on ovals as well. I love formula cars, but I always have to keep my options open."