July 25, 2018
Before we look back at Croft let’s first touch on that Anglesey test. It was two days that had the Arden Motorsport team in complete awe with Abbie jumping in the car for the first time and setting some quite remarkable lap times. It can take some drivers a long time to bridge the gap from Karting to Cars, given the amount there is to learn, but Abbie had seemed to have learnt most of those before arriving to the circuit. There was lots of work done in house on the simulator, available to all YRDA drivers, and Abbie had clearly used those sessions wisely and put everything into practice immediately.
Abbie’s Karting career has been minimal on a national level due to funding, but like she has shown previously in her career when racing on a level playing field her talent shines through. Her confidence in the car took her to some hugely impressive lap times and leaving the circuit everyone was excited to see what she would do next time out.
Croft would certainly present a different challenge to Abbie. First of all, it’s a completely new track to learn and secondly it’s quite unconventional for the British F4 class. The run off areas are non-existent in places, it’s hugely technical and it’s lightening quick first section is followed by a very slow last few corners. It’s a testing track and because of that often doesn’t fall in a drivers ‘favourite tracks list’.
The most challenging thing for Abbie would be those fast sections. As she commented “The Croft circuit was so different from Anglesey; very fast and challenging due to high speed with many corners taken flat out!”
Of course throwing any driver into a single seater and asking them to take a corner flat out is a big ask. It’s having the nerve to do it first of all, the skill to position the car correctly, then the physical element. To put up with the g-forces and hang on to the thing lap after lap is certainly not easy!
On arrival to the circuit the first thing to do for Abbie was track familiarization. Croft is not an easy circuit to learn but the sim time helped to speed this process up before she could start pushing.
Working with Arden’s engineer Brandon Wong Abbie was able to work on the car whilst also being able to use data from previous tests to improve the car and herself. Both noticing what needs to be changed and then putting those into practice is not an easy task and requires huge consistency to make it successful.
“On the first day of the test Brandon and I looked to build on the work that was previously done in the Sim, this meant working on general technique in the car as the driving style is very different to that of a Kart. Overall the day was very productive and at the end of the day I felt very happy with how everything had gone and with how my fitness had held up throughout the day”.
Onto day two and after an evening of assessing the data from day one the lap times started to get both very competitive and very impressive from Abbie. Over the day Abbie was able to get to within 0.8 seconds of a competitive British F4 time which is a fantastic achievement considering the conditions (less grip than a race weekend) and the lack of experience in the car.
“During the second day, Brandon and I continued to work on overall lap time and consistency, whilst also preparing for a new tyre run. I really enjoyed the new tyre run as it hosts a whole new set of challenges but with Brandon’s guidance I was able to effectively bring the tyre on correctly to ensure maximum grip levels were achieved. After the two days of testing I felt tired mentally but to a lesser extent than after being at Angelsey”.
The second day ended with a bit of fun as Abbie completed some practice starts. Getting the car off the line is not easy but with a free track and another YRDA Driver alongside Abbie it made them not only fun but competitive. The videos released on our social media show that both drivers were up to speed very quickly and would not be out of place on the grid in British F4 already.
Overall it was a test that exceeded expectations all round and Abbie left the circuit very pleased and itching to get out again. Abbie will continue to work in the Sim in preparation for future testing.
All that’s left now is to get Abbie on the grid. Watch this space!
Steve Hutchinson, TBOS Global (pictured): “Following on from our first two-day test at Anglesey which was a very successful debut in a single seater we carried on with two more very professional and quick days at Croft. Great mileage on both days showed good fitness levels and the pace in the car increasing session by session with a good understanding and relationship with the engineers, all in all a tremendous test backing up the ability shown in Anglesey, exciting prospects going forward.”