The 2018 season just kicked off for me a month ago and during the last four weeks, I've competed in the first two rounds of my European adventure with support races at the Barcelona and Monte Carlo F1 weekends.
It’s been many months on anticipation and I must say, I was pretty excited with the start of the season. New championship, new team, new circuits, and an all-round new adventure!
The opening round was at the famous Barcelona circuit in Catalunya with sixteen turns over a distance of 4.655km. It was definitely a brand new challenge as this circuit featured a lot of high speed long corners, something that does not feature in the same way on the Asian circuits that I was more used to in the Carrera Cup Asia. It is easy to see why the Europeans come to Asia and have a wealth of experience; they have some great circuits to develop a wide range of skills on. The gradient changes at Barcelona is also something that we rarely see in Asia, so braking the car in different corners required different techniques.
What has also been mega challenge this season is the running time on each circuit. Practice goes for fourty-give minutes at each venue so that’s pretty much all the time I have to learn the circuit so it is a pretty intense experience! Whatever happens in 2018, it’s sure to improve my driving!
Barcelona practice was not easy as I was far off the pace which definitely made me feel more so than usual that I was in a new place, but qualifying saw me make a massive improvement as throughout the sessions, I am still learning the circuits. I have a feeling this is going to be this way for most of the season!
Qualifying with Supercup was a cool experience on this circuit and I particularly enjoyed turn 7 as we came charging down a hill, shifted from 5th to 3rd gear, and got straight on the power going back uphill and going through a curb that shifts the car across the circuit a little in preparation for turn 9. Turn 11 was also a very nice corner as three wheels come off into the curb and upset the car a little, but it allowed me to keep the car straight and gain time which was cool.
My first start in this series was a good one! I launched off the line very well however braked into turn 1 a little early and immediately lost the advantage I had made! Perhaps I made a net loss overall to the start line dropping down into p4 in category. In lap 2, I managed to make the place back with an aggressive move down the inside coming into turn 10, almost touching mirrors with British driver Radcliffe and I must say, I was pretty stoked! I ran in a podium spot for much of the race though in the last two laps, my tyres were not in good condition and unfortunately lost my podium spot one lap from the end which I must say was heartbreaking! A lost opportunity.
The second round of the championship was in Monaco, and this was one of my dreams since I was a child; to be able to drive on arguably the most famous racing circuit on earth at the Circuit de Monaco where legends were born and living legends drive today! This circuit has 19 turns over 3.33 km making it the shortest circuit on the Supercup calendar but also easily the most epic!!
If Barcelona was a tough circuit to learn in 45 minutes, Monaco was going to be a bit of a brain burner and it certainly wasn’t an easy circuit to learn off the cuff. Nothing could’ve prepared me for the gradient changes. I mean, you can see it on television but it just isn’t the same when you are sitting inside the car! The famous tunnel was also not an easy corner to gain confidence on but every lap that I did went a little better than the last. The curbs on turn 10 and turn 15 were also two other memorable corners which launched the car in the air. As well as providing some fantastic photos of the car airborne, it also saved at least 1.5 seconds on those two corners alone!
Qualifying, similar to Barcelona saw massive improvements I managed to find a 3 second again. Of course this isn’t normal but since these are all new circuits, it is normal to go quicker and quicker throughout the weekend!
On raceday, I was really excited. My first race at Monaco. Made a fantastic start and overtook for p2 in Pro Am, and was on the pace of the leader for the first time during the season. Though I made a mistake on the 3rd lap, losing the car and fell to p8. I finished in p7. I must admit, it was a dream to get a trophy with the famous Monaco name on it but it wasn’t to be. One of the most disappointing moments in the last decade on the race track, but no one to blame accept myself. Anything can happen in motor racing… and it usually does.
Next stop. The Red Bull Ring! Time to get moving and get a little consistency in this championship!