Major gets down to business at Road Atlanta Ottawa rookie makes series debut in official test days Canadian rookie Philip Major underwent a baptism by fire during his first official Formula BMW test day, but remained icy cool at...
Major gets down to business at Road Atlanta
Ottawa rookie makes series debut in official test days
Canadian rookie Philip Major underwent a baptism by fire during his first official Formula BMW test day, but remained icy cool at the day's end. "Bit of a rough start," said the young driver, "but we're getting there." The timesheets backed up his words, Major lowering his lap times by over half a second throughout each of the day's timed sessions.
Track knowledge is a distinct advantage at Road Atlanta, many of the Georgia track's ultra-fast sweeps are blind on entry a daunting challenge to any driver new to its 2.54 miles. "I was a bit tense." Explained Major, whilst describing his morning session, "I know I can do the lap times, I just have to grit my teeth and do it!"
If grinding his teeth was finding him time, then Philip needed to see a dentist following the second session, when the Ottawa driver set times a full seven tenth's of a second quicker than his first outing.
Most drivers would be pleased to make such a gain, but Major is a cut above 'most' and was clearly still frustrated at himself. "I know I should be in the top three, easy" he ruminated. "We can gain a bit from the car but we can gain a lot from me."
As the third and final session got underway, teams up and down the pit lane began to bolt fresh rubber onto their cars, everyone anxious to do that hot lap at the end of the day. Major and his vastly experienced Atlantic Racing Team didn't allow themselves to be rattled by their rival's bravado. Instead they remained calm, electing to sit out the first few minutes of the session so that a couple of tweaks could be made to Philip's set-up. Major himself shrewdly used the time to watch the competition, assessing their weaknesses and honing his own strengths, before climbing into the cockpit once more for the final few minutes.
Major quickly knocked a further six tenths off his previous best, and whilst a couple of his rivals could manage a similar feat, many had resorted to fresh rubber itself tipped to offer up to a second per lap where as Philip was using tires with 80 laps on them.
"The last few laps were good," smiled the youngster, "but I'm never really happy unless I'm first!" he laughed, before concluding that "Just looking at the data I myself can gain a few more tenths."
Following the post-session debrief, team and driver alike seemed happy. "I really like this track" said Major, "there is quite a bit of elevation, it's faster, like Mosport."
"The positive from today" he grinned as dusk fell, "is that we know what we have to do tomorrow to be on top!"