Kian Bennett lives the dream at Anglesey

September 23, 2018

British F4

It was a day he had been looking forward to for weeks and finally it had arrived. Kian Bennett would jump into a British F4 car for the first time. He would no longer be in a simulator, this time it’d be the real thing and although slightly nervous Kian couldn’t wait to get started!

First, let’s rewind a few weeks and the preparation that was put in from Kian to get ready for the big day. Having raced in only Junior Karting this was going to be a huge step physically for a racer on the brink of his 15th birthday. Not only physically but Kian also used the sessions in the Arden Motorsport simulator to learn the circuit ahead of the test. 

“To get ready for your first test you have to put in a lot of training off track to get you physically ready for going out in the car. The other half is the prep that we do in the sim with Steve, which is a big part in learning and getting faster at any specific track. I tried to implement what he had told me whilst in the actual car.”

With all the preparation complete it was time to go from the sim to the track and as ever there was a mixture of emotions from Kian. This was a big step in his racing career, but he came in with a very serious approach knowing he had just one day ahead of him.

“Before my first session I was nervous but excited at the same time. Brandon and the guys helped to settle me by giving me tips, showing previous laps from drivers that have been there before and driving the track to see what it was like. They talked me through the different things that I was going to have to do in the car.”

Next it was time to get strapped in for the first time. After all the training and preparation Kian was given the green light for the first time to exit the pit lane and head out onto the Anglesey exit. As expected it was a lot to take in, so session one would all be about adjusting to the car in comparison to a Junior TKM Kart!

“In the first session I was nervous to put the throttle down all the way. As the session went on, my confidence started to increase with each lap that went by. As soon as I had done the first session, I spoke to Brandon who gave me some advice and it made me feel a lot more settled before I went out for my next session.”

Kian would complete a total of four sessions in the morning before going into the lunch break and the final session saw a significant improvement!

“In the morning session I did around 40 laps in 4 sessions. My first session time to my last session before lunch had significantly got quicker as I settled in, getting to terms getting more comfortable with the car.” 

That brought things into the lunch break which didn’t see Kian sitting around waiting for the afternoon. Whilst Kian was given a chance to rest it gave the engineers a chance to go through Kian’s data in a bit more detail before going into the lunch break.

“In the lunch break we had a look at data with Brandon to look at the positives and negatives (negatives were targets for next session). After we had lunch to keep my energy levels from dropping off too much. Taking a lot of drink to keep you hydrated was key to be able to stay focused at my best.”

Another bonus for Kian was that he would be in the company of Alex Connor who had just come off the back of a successful test at Croft. That experience would be helpful to Kian being a fellow YRDA member and it meant Alex could share his advice on how to deal with the experience of testing a British F4 car for the first time.

“It was good to have Alex there on the same day because he had already been out at Croft the week before. We had a chat before and he was telling me what it was like when he went out for his first session. It was comforting to know how he was feeling the same before he did his first run in the car.”

Heading into the afternoon Kian was now very confident in the car and was starting to set some impressive lap times. Not only that but off track his feedback was very honest and informative which makes the engineers job of helping Kian go faster a lot easier. It also showed his talent of learning circuits and cars at a quick pace.

“The track wasn’t too bad, it was more about finding the confidence to push the car to the limit. I mostly enjoyed turn 4, which is a heavy braking zone. You have to make sure you are hitting the brake hard otherwise you will run deep into the corner, causing you to go onto the grass or spin. As the day went on, the braking pressure was getting better which suggested I was following the advice Brandon (on the day) and Steve (in the sim and at the track) had been giving me. I struggled with the fast-left corner coming down the hill as I wasn’t confident to take it too fast without the rear stepping out on me.”

By the time the day had finished Kian was still in the shape to go and do more laps which was impressive considering the time he had spent on track. But that all came with his training and the assistance of YRDA Staff Member, Chris Ray.

“If I hadn’t put in the effort off track, I would not have been able to complete the test as it is very tough on your body, specifically around your neck. The sim helped me learn the track and adapt to the different challenges it presented.”

Summary

“I was very happy with my performance as I managed to improve on my time in every session. I thought it would take me longer to adapt and get confidence than it did which was a positive because sometimes I do not like changes. But this was different and I was very lucky to get the opportunity to test an F4 car.”
Steve Hutchinson, TBOS Global: "Overall the test for Kian was very successful. He improved in every single session and showed a huge understanding on car setup. He was good at implementing any feedback to go faster and showed the traits of someone who could be successful in single seater racing."