Single-seater race ace David Epton arrives at Silverstone National Circuit next weekend, 14th/15th October, aiming to conclude the 2006 Formula Renault UK Championship with a brace of excellent results as part of, what is expected to be, an...
Single-seater race ace David Epton arrives at Silverstone National Circuit next weekend, 14th/15th October, aiming to conclude the 2006 Formula Renault UK Championship with a brace of excellent results as part of, what is expected to be, an exciting season finale.
The 25-year-old, who is bidding to step-up next year into either Formula 3 or the highly prestigious World Series by Renault category, has shown his undoubted speed and racecraft on numerous occasions this season at the wheel of his Scorpio Motorsport-run FR 2.0 car and is planning on signing-off his Formula Renault UK career in style.
An extraordinary level of misfortune has prevented David from racking-up the results his driving has deserved throughout 2006, the 17th round of the season two weeks ago at Brands Hatch Indy Circuit typical of the sort of ill-fortune which has blighted the Preston driver's season when he was eliminated from the race through no fault of his own.
But rather than dwell on the negative, David is fully focused on challenging for his maiden Formula Renault UK podium in a little over a week's time and hopes to give key sponsors Bombardier Learjet, Universal Weather & Aviation Inc and Jet Air International Lebanon & Germany plenty to smile about.
During an exclusive day of official championship testing at the 1.64-mile Silverstone National Circuit in August, the 2005 Formula Palmer Audi Vice-Champion produced an impressive display to conclude the outing third fastest overall.
Lapping at a consistently rapid pace, David produced a string of times which were all good enough to maintain his place within the top six on the day but his best lap of all, 54.958 seconds (107.36mph), was just eight 100ths of a second adrift of the top of the timesheets.
Confident he will be able to replicate the same level of performance during the season finale at Silverstone next weekend, the former Hampshire resident knows he stands his best chance yet of stepping onto the Formula Renault UK podium and, if his car is fast 'out of the box' in qualifying, David may well have the opportunity to challenge for a win.
"We had a strong car at Silverstone in the recent test so I think we can look forward to next weekend with a realistic aim of qualifying in the top six and challenging for the podium", said David, "Setting the third fastest time in testing was a real boost and I'm confident we can carry that into the last meeting of the season.
"If all goes well and the conditions suit our car, we should be up there as one of the front-runners and podiums will definitely be on the cards. We've always had pace in the races this year, especially at Thruxton and Donington Park, but we need to improve our qualifying. If we start higher on the grid, we can certainly stay there in the races."
Even in the face of three non-starts and a trio of further non-finishes from the 18 races which have so far been contested this season, results such as fourth position during the sixth round of the season at Thruxton and three further top six results have ensured David still has a chance of finishing in the top 10 of the driver standings.
"I'm very much looking forward to Silverstone", he added, "I feel I'm driving better than I ever have this season and it would be great to end the championship with a couple of impressive results before we start looking ahead to our plans for next year and a move up the ladder to either Formula 3 or World Series by Renault.
"We'd certainly like to do some testing in a higher category before the end of the year and possibly even take part in some European races. If we can raise the budget to move into World Series next season, it would be an ideal step for my career."
The World Series by Renault is, of course, one of the foremost championships on the global stage, a capacity grid of 3.5-litre, 425bhp cars forming one of the premier 'feeder' categories into Formula One.
Firmly established as a force in world motorsport in only its second season, the World Series by Renault boasts a very high profile with the inaugural champion, Robert Kubica, already a major player in F1 driving for the BMW Sauber Team.
Returning to Formula Renault UK, a brace of 45-minute test sessions await David on Friday, 13th October, at Silverstone National Circuit ahead of qualifying on Saturday, 14th October -- the Round 19 session getting underway at 09.35 and Round 20 qualifying expected to begin at 15.05.
On raceday, Sunday, 15th October, Round 19 will begin the timetable of action at 09.00 with the 20th and final race of the season scheduled to start at 14.05. Both events will be covered live on Motors TV, channel 413 of the Sky Digital platform and through the NTL cable service on channel 545.