The weekend started off with a successful day testing the F3 car on Thursday and despite the traffic on track, Shane was able to get a fastest lap time of 1:03.8.
Saturday saw the first clash of the season for the UWR team. Alongside being the first round of the F3 Cup at Donington Park, it was also round 2 of the AR Morgan Challenge at Silverstone. Forward planning allowed for the teams to be divided and the two AR Motorsport drivers both had a successful race.
Mild conditions and a slippery track lead to an unfortunate spin for AR Motorsports Tony Hirst in the ARV6 which caused him to lose a few positions but he pushed hard to gain back places and confidentially finished in 3rd. After qualifying first out of the novice racers AR Motorsports Craig Hamilton-Smith fought well to consistently improve lap times and finished 14th in class.
Feeling confident with setup and the dry conditions on Saturday, the UWR F3 team qualified in pole position for race one and in the process, secured pole for race 2.
After a slow start off the line, we slipped into 2nd place which was soon recovered by the end of the first lap. The UWR car confidently lead the race and our first victory of the season was secured for the team!
After congratulations were shared, our students got straight back to work on the Dallara F308 to make sure we were fully setup and prepared for the two races that followed on Sunday.
The start of the second race saw the UWR car fall back to 4th position which jumped to 3rd by the end of the first corner. Shane fought hard to gain back the time he’d lost and by the 4th lap he’d pulled to 2nd place overtaking Tony Bishop.
With a gap of 3 seconds to leader Daryl Jones, Kelly pulled off a series of qualifying laps to close the gap. It was then a close fight between UWRs Shane Kelly and Team Fox Racings Daryl Jones and with 4 laps to go Kelly sent the Mugen-Powered F308 down the inside of Jones’ similar Volkswagen-powered car at Redgate corner where he pulled out a 4.5 second lead which brought home a second victory for the weekend.
Proceeding the start of the final race of the weekend, the clouds closed in over the circuit putting doubt into the condition of the race. Students prepared for a late change to a wet setup as drizzle started to fall in assembly. The race began in dry conditions as UWR's Shane Kelly confidently pulled away from the line. Falling behind Daryl Jones initially, Shane managed to squeeze his way past by the end of the first lap.
With conditions worsening, 2 main challengers got caught out and had to retire from the race. Confident in mixed conditions, Kelly extended his lead finishing 30 seconds ahead of the other competitors. The UWR car was welcomed in the pit lane by an extremely proud team and after podium celebrations were made the UWR F3 car was then brought back home to the Telford Innovation Campus.
Following on from the successful season UWR had last year in the Monoposto 2000 Championship the team couldn’t be happier with their debut in the MSV F3 Cup. The students have worked incredibly hard to learn a new car and this victory is certainly the reward. It’s now back to the workshop for the UWR car and team and they’ll be working hard to ensure that we’re fully prepared ahead of Round 2 of the MSV F3 Cup at Brands Hatch (14th – 15th May).
We also look forward to the next round of the AR Morgan Challenge which is Monday 2nd May at Castle Combe.