USA: Philip Major VIR test 2006-04-08

Major proves a point despite difficult conditions Changing weather can't stop impressive Canadian In October 2005, Canadian youngster Philip Major is testing the Atlantic Racing team's Formula BMW at the Virginia International ...

Major proves a point despite difficult conditions
Changing weather can't stop impressive Canadian

In October 2005, Canadian youngster Philip Major is testing the Atlantic Racing team's Formula BMW at the Virginia International Raceway North Track, and it is raining. Skip forward six months. Philip is back testing his racecar at VIR, although this time he is on the South Track configuration. It is however, still pouring down.

"I think it's always something that happens at this track!" Laughs Major, "Its always raining here!" the weather doesn't seem to have fazed him, and this confidence must be rubbing off on the team because the Atlantic Racing boys have meticulously prepped Philip's machine and he is the first driver out onto the track.

Major pounds around the 1.65 mile course hurling great rooster tails of spray behind him as his fellow competitors are left to watch from the pit wall. His lone engine note rings strong as he hurtles through the morning stillness, no drop-off in pitch due to a missed apex, no over-rev from a fumbled gear-change. Just the crisp bark of his BMW powerplant.

A good fifteen minutes tick by before anyone else takes to the track.

It has been a great morning's work from the Ottawa driver, but he is more interested in praising the outstanding work of his Atlantic Racing Team. "I think that's a really big improvement from the team," he beams, "that's encouraging." Addressing his own contribution he is modest, shrugging off his not inconsiderable efforts by saying "It's hard to tell in the wet, you put in a time and then five minutes later the track's half dry and the time is meaningless, "

"I was just getting comfortable" Major concludes, "This afternoon is when we will get down to business."

The rain has stopped and the lunch-break given the track enough time to dry. Mechanics across the paddock apply dry weather settings to their cars but Atlantic Racing have another surprise for their fellow competitors. "We actually had a dry set-up with rain tires on," Major admits, "so there is not too much to change."

It is another nice trick but will be a relatively short lived one. For an hour or so everyone gets the dry running they had hoped for, but by mid afternoon it is raining again, this time harder than the morning. Major's pit crew are finally forced to cede to mother nature and adopt a wet set- up.

The constant change in weather has meant that any attempt at consistent running is continually thwarted, and an element of frustration creeps in across the paddock as the heavens once again open. Mechanics roll their eyes at each new shift in conditions, knowing the set-up alterations they necessitate. Indeed, with the promise of good weather tomorrow, some drivers elect to call it quits for the afternoon. Nothing could be further from major's mind.

With superb skill, the Ottawa driver finishes the day as he began it; impressively fast in difficult conditions, his times bang-on-the-money. "We can do it in the rain, now we just have to do it in the dry!" said Major of mixing it with the best on the timesheets, "It was really encouraging news. Whatever it is tomorrow, if it's constant it will be nice," he notes of the unpredictable weather, adding that "now we want to do it in the dry."

-bond-

Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Series Formula BMW
Drivers Phillip Major