BRANDS HATCH, England – The reward for two weeks of quarantine and almost six weeks away from home is almost here! I’m on track for 10 out of 12 days and this weekend is the first of two major events that make up the Team USA Scholarship experience – the Aimshop.com BRSCC Formula Ford Festival at Brands Hatch Circuit. I looked up the list of previous winners since the event began in 1972 and it includes Derek Daly, Johnny Herbert, Jan Magnussen, Mark Webber, Jenson Button, Nick Tandy and Josef Newgarden. We’ll find out soon if either Bryce Aron or I have a chance to join this list.
While almost all if not every driver will have more racing experience in the UK and in these cars and at Brands Hatch, I do now have a race weekend under my belt with the team in the car I will be racing. Team USA entered me in the final two rounds of the BRSCC National Formula Ford 1600 Championship at Silverstone on October 10 with Low Dempsey Racing to prepare for the Formula Ford Festival and Walter Hayes Trophy events. There were no expectations for results, just a chance to learn – and for me to race in the wet for the first time in a car.
Most of the practice time was either wet or with many red flags and limited track time. In race one, in the wet, I qualified 18th out of 29 and tried to learn as the race progressed. By the end of the race, I was turning competitive lap times and finished 17th. Race two was in mixed conditions and I moved fairly quickly from 17th to ninth before losing a few spots. With two laps remaining, I still had the second fastest lap but didn’t go as quick at the end going back and forth for 11th. I finished 12th with the seventh fastest lap and came away feeling like I had learned a lot.
Wednesday this week marked the start of our busiest stretch with the first practice day for the Formula Ford Festival at Brands Hatch. With one more day of testing before the weekend’s racing, I am happy to say that I have been off to a very productive start.
While my rain experience is still limited, Wednesday was a great opportunity to work on my skills in wet weather conditions. All four of the sessions were in the wet, so it allowed me to try different things and improve from session to session. I got faster each session, despite track conditions getting worse. On top of that, I was able to get much more consistent.
I was hoping for some dry track time to really push the car and we had that on Thursday. I still have a few tenths to find, but by the end of the day I think I know where it’s available and can enter the weekend with some confidence.
Wednesday was also my first chance to see the car in its full Team USA Scholarship livery. The Team USA car along with the new Sparco suits look amazing and adds to the experience. Thanks to Billy Deakins and Chris Neuer with Sparco USA! Also thanks to Styled Aesthetic for the fantastic gear and George Holroyd for the amazing decals.
Big thanks to everyone that has helped make this experience possible!
There will be live timing and scoring at https://www.tsl-timing.com/event/204331, and the link to the live stream will be posted at https://en-gb.facebook.com/BRSCCFF1600/ right before the race starts and I also think on the BRSCC YouTube channel. I will post the live stream link on my twitter @JacksonLee52 this weekend. Below is the schedule for the weekend. We are five hours ahead of eastern time in the U.S. (although please be aware the clocks in the UK will change this weekend!). I will be in Heat 2 on Saturday.
As always, thank you for your support.