EPTON OUT OF HIBERNATION FOR THRUXTON TEST Motor racing star David Epton made a welcome return to the cockpit of a single-seater at Thruxton Circuit today after being invited to test one of Apotex Scorpio Motorsport's 2007-specification Formula...
EPTON OUT OF HIBERNATION FOR THRUXTON TEST
Motor racing star David Epton made a welcome return to the cockpit of a single-seater at Thruxton Circuit today after being invited to test one of Apotex Scorpio Motorsport's 2007-specification Formula Renault UK cars.
David has been in an enforced period of hibernation from racing for the last six months with faltering sponsorship bids causing many worries. The opportunity to re-hone his skills with Apotex Scorpio at the ultra-fast Hampshire venue today, however, provided him with a much needed boost as he continues to try and further his racing career.
As part of the official Formula Renault UK test which precedes the category's first racing visit of the year to Thruxton in early May, David took no time at all in getting up to speed with the championship regulars and fitted very smoothly back into the most competitive junior single-seater category on the globe.
Posting a quickest time of 1m 11.064 seconds (119.33mph) during the second of the day's sessions, the 2005 Formula Palmer Audi Vice-Champion lapped consistently strongly throughout both 45-minute periods to cement his status as one of the country's most talented young racing drivers, ending the day inside the top 10 overall.
While David hasn't been in a racing car since the 2006 Formula Renault UK season finale last October, today also marked his first experience of the new-for-2007 aerodynamic kit. Added to the fact he is also recovering from a nasty cold and tonsillitis, today's performance was all the more impressive.
He commented: "It's not been a bad day at all and it's been good fun being back with the guys at Scorpio and having the opportunity to get back in the car again. I'm pretty happy with our pace really, we know I lost two 10ths of a second on my best lap this afternoon due to a couple of fluffed gear changes so we should have been in the top five overall.
"All in all it didn't take too long to get back into it and although we couldn't make the most of the new tyres in the morning, I'm happy with our performance. To have been in the top six in the second session, back in the thick of it after six months away, was very good."
European competition still the aim for 2007 The 25-year-old, originally from Fleet in Hampshire, is a graduate accountant manager with BAe Systems at their Eurofighter Typhoon aircraft production base in Warton near Preston, where David currently lives.
He is still aiming to progress into European or global competition this year, and continues to set his sights on the brand new International Formula Master single-seater series which begins in late May at Valencia in Spain.
But with an unfortunate budget shortfall threatening to stall his planned progress to European action, David is continuing to keep his options open and jumped at the chance to return to the Apotex Scorpio fold for today's test outing.
"I was delighted when I received the call from Jon (Pettitt) and Tony (Trevor) at Apotex Scorpio inviting me to join the team at Thruxton", added David, "There is also an offer on the table to drive for them during the Thruxton race meeting a month from now and, as long as we can access the funding, it'd be fantastic to take part in the event.
"We have spent the last few months working very hard to secure the budget to compete in Formula Master and we've also kept an eye open for openings in North America. Over the last week though it has become clear we may need to reassess our plans as we may not be able to secure the necessary finances to make competing in Europe a reality."
He continued: "Failure to put the budget together would be a major set-back as we've enjoyed a great deal of success in recent years but we are continuing to work with our existing sponsors, like Universal Weather & Aviation Inc and Imperial Jet, to try and put together a programme which will benefit us all.
"I'm hopeful we still have time to secure a deal to graduate onto a European or global stage. We are in talks with other new sponsors and we are working hard to secure the necessary funding but, who knows, today's test may mark another return to Formula Renault for me."
Should David's hard work and plans to race in International Formula Master not come to fruition for the coming season, Apotex Scorpio team boss Jon Pettitt has signalled his outfit would welcome its former driver back with open arms for the remainder of the 2007 Formula Renault UK Championship.
"It was a pleasure having a driver of David's quality and ability working with us at today's test and we would relish the opportunity of him being a part of the team again", said Pettitt, "To have been on the pace in such a short test, having not driven a car for six months, was very impressive indeed. He showed what we all know he is capable of."