The sun shone down on a very warm Thruxton race circuit for round 3 of the newly renamed British F4 Championship.
Pirtek backed driver Jamie Caroline came prepared to better his three top ten finishes at Donington Park previously.
Having had no Friday test day at Thruxton the drivers are thrown straight in at the deep end at the UK’s fastest circuit, with qualifying being the first session of the weekend. With tyre degradation being a key factor at Thruxton, the team decided to keep two of Jamie’s Hankook slicks to one side in preparation for one of his races. With that in mind, Jamie only had one ‘go’ at setting his fastest lap, and the 17 year old 2015 Ginetta Junior Champion managed a time that would put him in P8.
As the lights went out for Race 1, Jamie made one of his tremendous starts and began to carve his way up the field. With some outrageous over taking, Jamie would end up in P4 by the time the pack came to the end of the opening lap. As they came into the braking zone for the last chicane of lap 1, Jamie’s brakes began to show signs that there was an issue, and the hard work he had done on the opening lap, slowly began to be undone. With his Jamun prepared car locking up at any braking zone it was clear there was an issue, and Jamie began to fall down the order. Having to Wrestle the car under braking for the remaining 15 laps, Jamie brought his wounded car back in P10. It was later discovered that Jamie didn’t have any rear brakes due to a system failure so to still end up P10 was a victory in itself.
With the car fully re built and ready to race, Jamie would start in P10 for race 2. As the pack got away it was clear to see that Jamie had a point to prove. The Pirtek backed car was on a mission and was making moves that any professional racing driver would dream to pull off. By the end of lap 2 Jamie had shown what skill and determination he has and was in P2!! An unbelievable start to the race. As Jamie began to hunt the Red Bull backed car of Luis Leeds the safety car was pulled out due to opening race carnage and the pack re bunched. Upon the re start, Jamie again made a cracking start and was hounding Leeds for the lead, but again, his rhythm was interrupted as the safety car was back on track. With only 3 minutes of the race remaining the safety car came in, and Jamie was unable to gain on the leader and would finish race 2 in 2nd!
Race 3 would see Jamie’s best chance of a win as the team had kept his new tyres for the final race of the weekend, whereas most of his competitors had used their new set in race 2. On the Green flag lap disaster struck as a car had slowed down to almost a stop on track and the concertina effect caught the cars behind un aware and Jamie were to be the in the wrong place at the wrong time, and damaged his front wing, meaning he would not be able to finish race 3 due to the damage incurred.
Jamie commented, “Having the braking issues in quail and race 1 really didn’t help the start to the weekend as I really felt the car had the pace for 3 podium finishes this weekend. Race 2 helped sweeten the disappointment of the previous race and I really enjoyed hacking through the pack. I think we would have had the win if the safety car periods didn’t keep on happening. Race 3 was just ridiculous as the cars in front just stopped and I was caught un sighted, so that wasn’t the way I wanted the weekend to end. We have the pace to win, and the next round at Oulton is a real drivers track, and I love it there so we are aiming for that win.”
Edge Management said, “Jamie had a tough start to the weekend with his braking issues, but race 2 for us really was special. Jamie just has something remarkable in him to be able to get through the field like he does, he is such a talent. Fingers crossed for a little more luck for Oulton, and we WILL see that race win coming!”