Just a few days after making an impressive debut on British soil at Brands Hatch, Team USA Scholarship winners Jack Mitchell Jr. and Tristan Nunez will be back in action this weekend at Silverstone for the prestigious Walter Hayes Trophy race.
The two American youngsters have been testing their cars on the Silverstone National circuit for the past two days. As at Brands Hatch, almost all of their running has been in wet or damp conditions. This afternoon's final session provided their only opportunity to try out their Cliff Dempsey Racing-prepared Ray GR08 cars on a dry track, but once again circumstances conspired against them, allowing a solitary lap before several other cars embedded themselves in a gravel track and brought the day to a premature conclusion.
“I don't think it will be a huge issue,” said Mitchell, 16, from Clarendon Hills, Ill. “We had the same problem at Brands Hatch and we were very competitive there. The good news is that, even if it's dry tomorrow, we have three races to pick it up. I'm pretty confident that Tristan and I will be on pace.”
“Testing has gone well,” added Nunez, from Boca Raton, Fla., who celebrated his 17th birthday on Wednesday. “It's all really close – within tenths, sometimes hundredths of a second. I'm running top three, top five in every session so it's looking good. I'm confident again, just like Brands.”
The action is sure to be intense with almost 120 Formula Ford 1600 cars having been attracted to the British Grand Prix venue for the 12th annual running of the event held in honor of one of the founding fathers of Formula Ford, which has helped launch the careers of countless top drivers since its introduction in 1967.
“I still can't get my head around how many cars there actually are,” admitted Nunez, “so it should be an interesting event. The track is really flat, with a lot of sweeping corners and long straightaways so it's more of a setup track, rather than a driver's track like Brands was, but it's definitely fun.”
“Brands Hatch had so much elevation change, so you were able to hold someone behind you if you're not on pace but here it is completely different,” said Mitchell. “There's just going to be so much drafting and it looks like there's a solid four or five passing zones so I'm really excited.”
The field has been split into six Heat races which will be held Saturday afternoon following a brief 10-minute qualifying session earlier in the day.