Max Esterson: A tremendous System Ford Competition
Max Esterson loved a robust weekend for the Staff USA Scholarship on the fiftieth System Ford Competition at Manufacturers Hatch, adopted by an eye-opening go to to the Multimatic facility in Thetford and a quick check of a GB3 Championship Tatuus with Douglas Motorsport.
This previous weekend at Manufacturers Hatch for the fiftieth Anniversary BRSCC System Ford Competition was essentially the most superb race weekend I’ve ever been part of. With practically 100 automobiles entered, the Manufacturers Hatch Decrease Paddock felt full and there was undoubtedly some further pleasure within the air as a number of F1 and IndyCar legends together with Scott Dixon, Bruno Giacomelli, Eddie Irvine and Jonathan Palmer got here to observe and Jan Magnussen and Roberto Moreno even raced within the occasion!
Testing on Thursday was dry and my tempo was robust. My Staff USA teammate, Andre Castro, shortly realized his approach round Manufacturers Hatch in a System Ford, though it was a bit completely different to the final time he was there in a EuroNASCAR inventory automotive. Friday morning was very moist and I struggled a bit in comparison with final yr’s Competition winner, Rory Smith. New tires and some changes for the second session actually helped and I used to be setting the tempo. The automotive was flying within the afternoon because the monitor began to dry however I spun getting into Clearways and backed onerous into the wall. The crew did a terrific job getting the automotive again collectively and we had been able to go racing.
Qualifying on Saturday morning within the rain couldn’t have gone higher. I grabbed the pole by over two tenths of a second over Ollie White with just some minutes left within the session. The monitor principally dried for the warmth race within the afternoon; nevertheless, there have been nonetheless some damp patches in Druids and Clearways making it fairly treacherous. I held onto the lead for the whole lot of the 12-lap race however was beneath strain the entire time from White, who completed solely two tenths behind me. Successful the warmth meant that I might begin on pole for Semifinal Two on Sunday morning.
The skies opened up on Sunday, a lot in order that the tunnel to get to the pitlane was flooded! After the flooding cleared, the race obtained underway. I actually struggled to get tire temperature and quickly fell down the order and will solely salvage seventh. It was a troublesome capsule to swallow after dominating the beginning of the weekend, however teammates and former Competition winners Dennis Lind and Jan Magnussen inspired me to maintain pushing, telling me that it was removed from over regardless that I might be beginning again in thirteenth for the Grand Remaining… And so they had been proper!
The ultimate was essentially the most thrilling race I’ve ever been part of. The automotive was on rails and I used to be in a position to swiftly work by way of the sector. After some daring overtakes and a crash between the main three drivers, I used to be up seven positions by the fourth lap. On the midway level of the 20-lap race, I made it as much as third. Sadly, on lap 13, each Jamie Sharp (the chief) and I had been handed beneath yellow flag circumstances into Druids, which halted my progress for a couple of laps till I obtained a place again from Chris Middlehurst with an enormous lunge into Paddock Hill Bend on lap 16. I stalked Jamie Sharp and Neil Maclennan for the remaining laps, searching for a approach by, however the alternative was simply not there. I needed to accept third (though I used to be later promoted to second), which on the time was a bit onerous to take contemplating the crew gave me a automotive to win and I used to be simply .138 seconds away from doing so, however it’s additionally a tremendous achievement after beginning thirteenth.
It was my greatest drive so far and to be sincere (above, Gary Hawkins picture), I can not cease watching the replay of the race and excited about what occurred! It was additionally an enormous success for the Staff USA Scholarship and Low Dempsey Racing with Andre and I each on the rostrum after second-place finisher Maclennan was disqualified for passing beneath yellow. Dennis and Jan additionally moved by way of the sector to complete ninth and eleventh. There’s undoubtedly tons to be pleased with with these ends in one of the vital stacked System Ford Competition grids in a few years.
I’ll attempt to put all of it apart for now as there’s one other probability for achievement this weekend on the Walter Hayes Trophy at Silverstone. The crew has been onerous at work prepping the automobiles and now we have already hit the monitor for testing.
Andre and I’ve managed to maintain busy this week with a tour of Multimatic’s facility in Thetford on Monday the place they produce a number of complicated elements for each race automobiles and street automobiles, together with dampers for some present F1 automobiles! On Tuesday we each had fast run in Douglas Motorsport’s GB3 Championship (British F3) automobiles at Bedford Autodrome (under) which was a blast! The grip the automotive had in comparison with the System Ford I’m used to was astonishing. Regardless that I had already pushed the automotive a couple of months in the past, 250 horsepower was nonetheless loads to handle at first and it was fairly difficult to get used to working onerous to get temperature within the entrance tires. Bedford provided a pleasant collection of corners with one sluggish hairpin, a few chicanes, in addition to a collection of excessive pace corners main onto the pit straight. Wayne Douglas and his crew welcomed us with open arms and had been improbable to work with. The crew obtained Andre and I up to the mark shortly and I hope to have one other run in a GB3 automotive quickly!
Thanks once more to all of the Staff USA Scholarship supporters, in addition to my private sponsors, iRacing and Max Papis Improvements, and the many individuals that got here to Manufacturers Hatch to observe in addition to those that cheered me on from dwelling.