May 14th - 15th saw the second round of the F3 Cup Brands Hatch Indy - An infamously short circuit where speed and an accurate setup are crucial.
Friday was spent testing the F3 car and giving both the students and driver Shane Kelly a chance to familiarise themselves with the circuit as this was the first time the UWR team had been back to Brands Hatch since running the Formula Renault in the Monoposto 2000 championship last year. Confident with their setups and lap times the UWR team felt prepared for Race one.
An unfortunate qualifying where we struggled to find our pace lead UWRs Shane Kelly to qualify in fifth position overall. With a lengthy wait before race one, the UWR students and Pro-Race Engineer Matt Fenton worked hard to identify any problems with the car to ensure that they were giving Shane the car that he deserves.
A Fight for podium
Race 1 saw another technical problem emerge off the starting line which lead Shane Kelly to drop to 10th position. Confident to claim back the pace Kelly fought hard and by the end of the first lap he'd gone back up to 8th and up again to 6th by the end of the second lap which soon changed to 5th place at the top of Druids. Without missing a beat Kelly soon closes the gap between 5th and 4th and side-by-side as they pass start line Kelly then sweeps around the outside of Mark Harrison on Paddock Hill Bend to gain 4th. In his pursuit to catch up with George Line in 3rd place, Kelly had claims the fastest lap time of 43.023 by the 6th lap. An unfortunate spin for Tony Bishop at the exit of Clearways leads to 3 minutes of the safety car and a diminished 5.4 second lead for Team Fox Racings Daryl Jones. With 3 minutes left of the race the gap between Kelly and Line continues to close however exceptional driving from Line causes the UWR team to finish their first race of the weekend in 3rd position.
A long night ahead
The UWR students and Pro-Race Engineer Matt Fenton then worked into the early hours of Sunday morning to identify the problems with the car - A tired but very confident team awaited the next two races on Sunday morning.
Race 2 saw a much better start off the line for UWRs Shane Kelly in 5th position which had jumped to 3rd by the end of the first lap. Determined not to lose his pace Team Fox Racings Robbie Watts sticks close to the UWRs number 11 car as they go passed Paddock Hill Bend. Daryl Jones gets an early lead with a 2 second advantage from Bishop and Kelly. As 3rd and 4th remains close, experienced driver Kelly uses the track to his advantage to create a gap between himself and Watts and does so by 3/4s of a second. 12 laps in saw more bad luck for Tony Bishop as he tries to close the gap between himself and the race leader and spins off track at Paddock Hill Bend. Kelly now in second is able to pull away from Watts and with a fastest lap time of the race, Kelly closes the 2.5 second gap to 1.8 seconds from leader Daryl Jones. Unable to get close enough Kelly proudly finishes in 2nd place.
Hard work pays off
After another adjustment in setup for the UWRacing car, the team were ready for the final race of the day. A strong start off the line from both Kelly and leader Jones, Kelly looming close behind the leaderlooking for an opportunity to take the advantage. Kelly right underneath the rear wing of Jones past the start line goes for the wide outside line of Paddock Hill Bend for the overtake. Without enough power, Kelly then sticks close to Jones going up the hill until he's able to beautifully launch himself on the inside line going round Druids to take the lead of the race! Kelly continues to lead the race with over a second advantage from Jones and Watts and takes home a first place victory for the UWRacing team.
UWR TeamPrincipal David Tucker on our weekend at Brands:
Brands Hatch Indy circuit was always going to be a tricky track for us to capitalise on following the successes at Donington Park. Despite the issues the team performance was amazing &
Shane's excellent work behind the wheel ensured a string of podiums, holding every podium position over the three races. Overall a real test for the team, a good points haul for the championship & 3,2,1 finishes are definitely in the right direction!
UWR Student Jake:
Amazing progress throughout the weekend, our consistant improvements paid off. I'm so happy to be part of a team that helped Shane take his first win at Brands Hatch!
Next F3 Cup Race: June 24th - 26th Spa-Francorchamps