Daniel Erickson up with early pacesetters in America Daniel Erickson's chances of success in his flying visit to the USA are looking promising after the opening practice sessions of the F2000 Championship. Erickson shrugged off the ...
Daniel Erickson up with early pacesetters in America
Daniel Erickson's chances of success in his flying visit to the USA are looking promising after the opening practice sessions of the F2000 Championship.
Erickson shrugged off the handicaps of an unfamiliar car, racetrack and team - as well as jetlag - to lap Virginia International Raceway within a whisker of the fastest official time on Friday ahead of this weekend's two championship rounds.
In the second of two half-hour sessions, the 22 year-old Sydney driver's best time of 1m 55.746s was just 0.095 seconds shy of 2007 F2000 champion Cole Morgan.
The result mirrored Erickson's performance in his first drive of one of the 2-litre 'development formula' openwheel cars during Thursday's unofficial practice sessions, when he lapped less than a tenth of a second off the pace of F2000 veteran Rob Nicholas.
But with six drivers within a second of Morgan's benchmark time, Erickson is aiming to improve his Primus Racing Van Diemen racecar during Saturday's qualifying session and first 30-minute championship round.
"The car has had a mid-to-exit corner understeer problem during the two practice days," he said.
"Being a 'wings and slicks' formula, F2000s tend to lose front end grip through corners when they're following another car closely, so it's important to get the handling balance right.
"The understeer hasn't been too bad but it's more than I'd like, so I've been working with Jon Baytos, who owns Primus Racing and has a lot of experience engineering these cars, to get rid of the understeer or at least reduce it.
"We've made some more changes for qualifying for the first race tomorrow, so hopefully they're in the right direction.
"There's also some improvement to come from me - I made a couple of small mistakes on my quickest lap."
Although the Van Diemen that Erickson is driving this weekend isn't exactly brand new, it has a successful racing history.
"The car I'm driving is several years old, but Cole Morgan won the 2007 F2000 Championship with it, and last year another driver finished second overall in it," he said.
Erickson added that the competition is only likely to become closer as the weekend progresses.
"There's a wide mix of drivers in this series - some of them are graduating from karts or other formula cars like I am, and then there are guys like Cole Morgan with a lot of experience in F2000 racing.
"This is the first race meeting of the year for these guys, so a few of them have had some problems that have put them further down the timesheets than expected, but the lap times will probably close up as people sort themselves out.
"Anyway I'm confident of giving a good account of myself this weekend."