Skip Barber National drivers Spencer Pigot and Felix Serralles recently were named 2010's representatives of the Team USA Scholarship program, which provides fully paid entries in the the Formula Ford Festival at Brands Hatch this weekend as well as the Walter Hayes Trophy at Silverstone in November. They're blogging for RACER about their experiences in the program.FELIX SERRALLES
The past couple of days have been amazing! I'm really loving it here in England, and our team owner Cliff Dempsey has done an incredible job.
So far the testing has been very productive and helpful to me.
Every time I've been out in practice, I just keep learning more and more about the car and the track. The track is very fun and tricky in some corners. My favorite corner by far is Paddock Hill Bend: to me it sort of looks like Road Atlanta turn 1, but in the opposite direction! At first it was a little scary, but after a couple laps around the track it just feels awesome: when you get it just right and it's all flowing, you can carry amazing speed through there.
Everybody at Cliff Dempsey Racing is very friendly and fun to be around. I've definitely had some good laughs with everybody there; it all feels like a family.
The other two drivers in the team, Cormac O'Neil and Scott Malvern, run in the Duratec engine class and they've also been very friendly and have helped me out, giving me pointers and useful information about the track and the car.
Friday was the last day of practice. It was a bit wet in the morning session but I still managed to put some fast times together in the wet. It was very useful that we got to see how the track was and where the grip is in the wet.
The last session we did was dry, but since the weekend has officially started, traffic has become a problem. OK, I know we were running in the same session as the more powerful Duratec cars, but they always seemed to want to get by in the worst places! That hurt us trying to get a single, clean fast lap. The day ended in a good note though: I know I'm fast and the car is good! Qualifying is Saturday morning, and I'm feeling very comfortable with the car. I think I can qualify inside the top 5. Hopefully all goes well!SPENCER PIGOT
Friday was the final day of testing before the race weekend begins. We only did a few sessions because it's not necessary to wear out the equipment for the weekend. Yesterday we were able to find a little bit more speed in the car, which was really encouraging because we thought we'd already gotten all we could. Today we didn't get to do much more development on the car because the first session was damp. It was good, in a way, because it gave us a chance to learn about the car and the track in difficult conditions just in case it's like that for the race. However, the weather forecasts say it's supposed to be sunny for the rest of the weekend. The second session wasn't very beneficial either because there was a lot of traffic and a lot of red flags due to cars being stuck in the gravel traps.
The experience outside the car is just as good as what has been happening on-track. I'm having a lot of fun and everyone at Cliff Dempsey Racing is great to hang out with and we're always having a laugh. They're teaching me a lot of British words and sayings, which I probably can't repeat here! It's also cool to see that a lot of people remember my dad. He raced Formula Ford back in the late 1970s and there are still people that are involved with the races now that were around then. Several people have come up and asked me if he was my dad and told me that he was actually pretty quick. I never thought he was!
It's also my first time really working with an engineer, which is a really cool process. When I get out of the car we go over data and talk about what exactly the car is doing and how we can make it better for the next session. We have strategies for every session to accomplish a certain time or work on a specific area of the circuit.
On Saturday we have one qualifying session and one heat race. Felix and I have both been assigned the same qualifying and heat group along with a lot of other fast drivers. I'm very confident for qualifying: we are both very competitive compared to all of the other drivers.
• Follow the Team USA Scholarship drivers on Facebook at: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Team-USA-Scholarship/153950467979290