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Imola: podium and continued championship lead

By Team Das Autosport

Imola: podium and continued championship lead

Fighting back to overcome issues, Cam managed to fend off his title rival Louis Foster, resulting in a podium in Race 3 and securing his championship lead going into the Summer break.

Visiting the legendary Imola for the first time is no easy task for any driver, and the difficulty is amplified when you are up against competitors who have prepared and raced here before. Despite this disadvantage, Cam approached the race weekend in his consistently professional manner and was ready to take on the new challenges head on. The soaring heat and the very high air humidity made the weekend particularly difficult. To add to the difficulty, the replacement chassis was found to be structurally damaged after the weekend was over, so it’s very likely the car imbalance Cam experienced through the weekend may have been influenced by the damage.

A very old and technical circuit like Imola is always going to reward those who have raced here before. The lack of a Thursday test limited the Baltimore native who had less time to learn the “tricks of the track”, and unfortunately this was further amplified by Cam having to miss the majority of the first of only two free practice sessions on Friday morning due to an engine cooling issue.

Already several steps behind for no fault of his own, Cam had serious work to do before qualifying the next day.  In order to accelerate his learning and maximize his chances for a good result, the young American’s race engineer elected to run three sets of tires instead of the normal two. This allowed Cam to squeeze enough performance out of the session for a spectacular 2nd position in Qualifying but came at the expense of losing one new set of tires which would compromise him during the races to come.

A slightly off-beat start meant Cam lost a few positions at the launch of the first race. As he was finding his rhythm and starting to charge forward, a driver in front lost control of his car, went off the track and returned precisely in Cam’s way, blocking him, resulting in a loss of momentum. The result was a 5th place overall, below his expectations given the strong qualifying.  However it placed him in favorable second position for the reverse grid start of Race 2.

“Race one didn’t really go our way. I still didn’t feel 100% confident in the track knowledge, so when I became held back by some incident traffic, I used the rest of the race to hone my driving. While the result wasn’t the best, I came away from the race feeling confident for the final two.”

The less than ideal launch in the second race meant Cam was again having to fight hard for track position. As this was going on, the rear left tire suffered a puncture and Cam was forced to enter the pits losing virtually any chance to gain valuable championship points. The lack of new tires meant the young American had to bolt on used rubber from qualifying. This together with an in-balanced car meant Cam had little chance to charge for the fastest lap time as he did in Hungary and had to settle with the 4th fastest lap time of the race and the same starting position for Race 3.

“The tire puncture was super unlucky. I thought it stemmed from contact with another car, but it turned out to just be a freak accident. It was the last thing I wanted to happen, but starting 4th still put me in a position to potentially finish on the podium in Race 3.”

Imola was slowly becoming the most difficult race weekend of the year for Cam and Race 3 was his last chance for a positive result but the starting position meant this was not going to be an easy feat. Cam delivered, and overtook the driver in front of him on the first lap. Cam was now in 3rd overall but the car balance was again difficult to manage, but the Baltimore native fought with everything he had to fend off teammate and championship runner up Louis Foster for most of the race. Cam did a splendid job defending and ultimately pulling away just enough to secure his first podium at Imola, and with it, securing the lead in the Euroformula Open championship going into the break.

“We once again really struggled with the car, but once I made it into the top 3, I knew I had to be ultra to defend against my two teammates close behind. There were a few close calls, but I came away with the podium in the end which is exactly what we need to maintain the championship lead heading into the summer break. Later, we found out that the chassis had structural damage which was the likely culprit for the strange behavior through the weekend.”

The Euroformula Open will now take its summer break, the next appointment being the Austrian Red Bull Ring event in mid-September: a track which Cam knows very well and on which he will charge again for the first spot on the podium.

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Hungary: win number 5 as sparks fly

By Team Das Autosport

Hungary: win number 5 as sparks fly

Cam delivers a masterful drive in the wet to win in Hungary after a very eventful weekend with many highs and lows.

Round 4 of the Euroformula Open Championship took place on the Hungaroring track, the Formula 1 track in Hungary, next to Budapest. As the slowest, yet most technical track of the calendar, this circuit has often been described by the Formula 1 drivers as “a street circuit without walls” because of its layout, which means overtaking is virtually impossible if the drivers are evenly matched and do a half-decent job at defending. The qualifying position and a good start are very important at the Hungaroring.

The race weekend started with a collective test on Thursday, in which teams and drivers had the opportunity to assess the track, tune the cars and master the driving. Cam was fastest on this day by a good margin but knew he would have to continue pushing in the official sessions to come on Friday.

Friday was reserved for the official free practice sessions ahead of Saturday’s qualifying. Unfortunately Cam’s chassis was damaged surprisingly quickly because of a very small contact with a kerb in the first session of the day. The Team Motopark crew did an amazing job changing chassis in record time and truly demonstrated  their strength under enormous pressure. They managed to get Cam back out in a fully rebuilt car at the end of the second free practice session. The car had just been “bolted together” and there wasn’t any time to apply any setup elements.

Qualifying the next day meant the “new” car was a bit of an unknown, as the chassis element is pivotal to the behavior of the car. Even so, Cam managed a solid session with a strong second in qualifying and front row starting position for Race 1 which was going to take place that same afternoon.

A brilliant start from Cam and a trademark getaway from the pack meant Cam was comfortably leading Race 1 and heading for a clear victory.  Until disaster struck and his brakes failed spectacularly, and he had to retire in a sandpit.

Race 1 quote: “We did everything right, but sometimes the result is still out of your control. After the perfect start, and six laps running away from the field, it was looking like the perfect start to the weekend. The brake failure came suddenly with no warning, so it was a bit of a shock. I’m really glad there was enough run-off at the part of the track where I went off, and thankfully no damage was irreparable for Sunday’s races. ”

Because of the nature of the weekend format, the result in Race 1 meant Cam would start Race 2 at the back of the pack, but a good performance in that race could bring him back to the front for the start of Race 3. Unfortunately Race 2 started with bad luck and Cam had to pit after the warmup lap because of an electrical problem. The team quickly adjusted what they could and changed Cam’s steering wheel, but the young American was now chasing the pack which had already started the race.

The very strong pace Cam had in this race meant not only did he catch and overtake a couple of drivers to get back into a points scoring position, but he also set the fastest lap time of the race, which earned him pole position for the final race of the weekend in an epic twist of faith.

Race 2 quote: “I was hoping and praying for the thunderstorms which were forecasted, but they came a little bit later than expected. The Hungaroring is such a difficult place to overtake in the dry, so I made sure to put my focus on maximizing Race 3 by setting the fastest lap of the race. Luckily, all that pushing for fastest lap also allowed me to catch the pack to regain my position in the points, even after pitting with the steering wheel issue.”

After an already incredibly abrupt weekend, filled with unknowns and last minute changes, Race 3 threw another curve ball at the drivers who now had to face an horrendous storm after running in nothing but sunshine the rest of the weekend. Cam was in a good position for it though as he was now starting on pole and knew the Motopark car is strong in wet conditions. The race began behind the safety car, which lead the drivers around a couple of laps before letting them race. Immediately at the launch, Cam set off and got away from the other drivers in a truly commanding way. An incident further down in the pack later on meant the safety car came back out which canceled Cam’s advantage. The restart was again under complete control of the Baltimore native who got away from the pack once more and managed to score an incredible win in very tricky track conditions to turn the weekend around and secure his top spot in the Championship standings, which he now leads by 19 points at the mid-way mark.

Race 3 quote: “Race 3 was the recovery drive we needed. There was a crazy amount of standing water on the track, but that’s my favorite kind of wet condition to drive in. I followed my gut in terms of picking a wet line early on, and then I adapted to the drying track later on in the race. I believe that is my first win in the wet, so it definitely put a massive smile on my face!”

The next race will take place on the 24th and 25th of July at the legendary Enzo & Dino Ferrari track in Imola, Italy. This will be the first time Cam will be driving on this epic track, which he only knows from his simulator preparation sessions.

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Podiums, the fastest lap and championship lead for the System X car

By Team Das Autosport

Podiums, the fastest lap and championship lead for the System X car

The Third Euroformula Open race weekend has taken place in the legendary Formula 1 circuit of Spa Francorchamps in Belgium. Arriving to the circuit from the position championship leader, Cam went to work with his race engineer to make sure the weekend would be a success.

Notorious for its long straights where slipstreaming makes for both exciting racing and tricky overtakes, the Spa circuit went through a series of changes due to recent flooding. A tunnel running under the track had collapsed, taking with it half of the old Formula 1 pits and straight line. Both the circuit officials and the Belgium authorities have made huge efforts to rebuild the track in time for the Euroformula Open weekend and deserve a lot of praise for doing so.

After trying different aero settings in the free practice sessions which have taken place on the Friday, Cam and his race engineer have come to the conclusion that the strategy in Saturday’s qualifying had to revolve around Cam getting a clear lap on his own, without chasing the slipstream from other cars. This was a risky strategy, seeing how finding a good tow at Spa can give you up to a second of lap time, but going “on his own” meant that Cam could exploit his advantage in the more technical part of the track where he was clearly the fastest of the field. In order for the strategy to work, the other cars had to “get in each other’s way” but unfortunately this didn’t happen, and the others worked together to find the perfect towing situations. As a results Cam had to settle for third on the grid in race number 1 which was to be run on the same day.

Starting 3rd meant Cam could use the slipstream advantage and charge for the lead from lap 1. After a quick start in which he immediately overtook the car who started in 2nd, Cam went for the attack at the end of the first long straight. Unfortunately a series of moves triggered by the car in front meant Cam was sandwiched between the two cars around him and even though he managed to avoid hitting the car in front, he was slammed into by the car behind in a spectacular crash which saw the other car airborne. Cam managed to bring his car into the pits for a quick tire change but was now the last car on track, with a damaged car. A couple of fast laps and good moves meant Cam made back several positions despite struggling with the car balance. Cam’s determination to never give up was heroic, but the team had at that point decided to ask him to come into the pits for his first DNF of the season because the car was becoming unsafe to drive.

Race 1 quote: I think we did really well to qualify as well as we did without a tow. It’s unfortunate that we were taken out so early, but I’m very proud to have still been on for a podium even after the pitstop with a damaged car. The damage was increasing lap by lap, and it was only a matter of time before the left rear suspension was going to fail in Eau Rouge, so the team made the right call to retire the car.

Starting 9th in race 2 – because of the results of race 1 –, Cam was determined to bounce back after the tricky start to the weekend. The Baltimore native drove an amazing race, getting the fastest lap for the #28 System X car while managing to finish 2nd. The 7 places he made up meant extra points for most gained positions while the fastest lap meant race 3 would be started from pole position.

Race 2 quote: Race 2 was the recovery drive we needed. With the new format, issues early in the weekend can really compound on themselves, so Race 2 was my last real chance of showing what I was capable of. All of the overtakes were clean and methodical, and I'm very happy with how I managed that race. It was also my first time experiencing our race setup given the crash in Race 1, and the Motopark squad nailed the balance despite the lack of data we had.

The third race was another example of Cam’s strategic mind. The System X car had a perfect launch and Cam managed to slowly build up an advantage of more than 3 seconds to the cars behind, which in normal conditions would have meant a dominating win for the American. Things changed dramatically on the very last lap, when a car crashed forcing the Safety Car to be deployed. This brought the field back together, canceling Cam’s advantage and putting him in the clutches of the car behind, who took advantage of the slipstream to overtake Cam despite his best efforts to fight against the unavoidable.

Race 3 quote: I was obviously very disappointed to have lost the win on the very last lap, but sometimes luck just isn’t on your side. What I did come away with was my 8th podium of the season thusfar, so I still lead the championship by a healthy margin which is certainly the primary objective. Spa is always full of surprises everytime I race there, and this weekend was no exception. We’re shifting now to Budapest which is really the opposite to Spa in every way, so I’m looking forward to changing up my driving style for that.

All in all, Cam’s speed meant he has managed to bounce back in the face of adversity and hold on to the championship lead going into the fourth round, which will take place in Hungary early in July.

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An explosive win plus two podiums in Paul Ricard

By Team Das Autosport

An explosive win plus two podiums in Paul Ricard

Round 2 of the Euroformula Open championship took place in France on the Paul Ricard F1 Circuit. Cam Das completed the weekend with a brilliant win and two podiums, reinforcing his top spot in the championship standings.

The Paul Ricard Formula 1 Circuit in the South of France hosted the second round of the Euroformula Open Championship. The races were preceded by an official Thursday test, which was followed by two official free practice sessions on the Friday. In the last of these two sessions, Cam managed to pull away from the rest of the field by a healthy margin, which put him in strong position for achieving a pole position on Saturday morning.

Qualifying was well prepared and all looked likely that Cam would manage to get the first position sealed.  But a slow puncture on the second set of tyres, together with the ever-changing track conditions restricted Cam’s ability to extract the last bit of grip the tyres had to offer, and he settled for second position on the grid.

Race 1 also took place on Saturday.  Cam had a solid start, matching the pole sitter, but not enough to challenge for the lead off the line. Challenging the lead driver was going to be difficult since the team made the decision to set the car’s aero at a slightly higher level in preparation of a potentially damp track to a prediction of light rain.  This restricted straight line speed, so Cam would have to drive a strategic race to ensure he maintained his position.  He did so brilliantly, finishing in second place and securing a healthy number of championship points.

“Race 1 was tough. I knew I had the pace to challenge for the win, but we gambled with the higher downforce level expecting a downpour which never came. It was a risk that didn’t pay off, but I’m happy to have still managed to bring it home in 2nd place.”

The second race was a reverse grid exercise with Cam starting 5th. After a good start, and battling a slightly unbalanced car, Cam managed to push forward, gaining 2 positions and finishing once again on the podium in P3, while also managing the 3rd fastest lap time of the race; positioning him on the second row of the grid for the final race.

“Everyone was struggling with tire graining massively in R2 since the race started damp, and the air temp dropped significantly from Saturday. My graining came in earlier than the others with the balance choice I had opted for ahead of the race, so it was a really hard race to finish let alone finish on the podium. We hunted down the 3rd spot even with the issues, so it was a decent result in the end.”

The third race was the one everybody was waiting for. It was all about advancing the setups, and giving the drivers the opportunity to show their best.  Until now, issues, although small, had made just enough of a difference in Cam not being able to show the pace demonstrated in the practices. The team had worked relentlessly to turn the car around after identifying the deficiencies in race 2, and felt confident Cam had the weapon he needed to challenge for a win.

What resulted was arguably one of the best races the Euroformula Open has ever put on display. On a circuit known for its highly processional racing, the first three drivers on the grid managed battles worthy of any racing compilation, with Cam coming out triumphant. It was a very strategic race for Cameron, who waited for the right moment to make his moves,  and clinch the win. Cam overtook on the outside for second twice, then was forced to concede the position each time, and in the end secured the lead with 6 laps before the end and never looked back, winning in his usual controlling fashion.

“Race three was awesome. It was a true display of pace, race-craft, and strategy every single lap. At one point, I had made an overtake on Jak around the outside of the high-speed double right hander of T11. The following lap, I made a mistake and gave the position back in T15. I was super upset with myself for making that error, and I knew the only way of rectifying it was to win the race. The rest of the race was about executing calculated and precise overtakes and driving at the absolute limit every single corner until the checkered flag was waived. It was honestly one of the best races I’ve ever been a part of, and being the winner of it is just the cherry on top.”

Cam now leads the championship with a total of 137 points, managing 4 wins and 6 podiums in the first 6 races in the Euorformula Open series. The next event will take place on the legendary Spa-Francorchamps track in Belgium, one of Cam’s all-time favorite venues.

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Cam impresses with 3 wins in the Formula 1 race weekend at Portimao

By Team Das Autosport

Cam impresses with 3 wins in the Formula 1 race weekend at Portimao

Total domination of the first weekend of the 2021 Euroformula Open. Cam reached the top step of all three races and gathered a record 79 points in the championship standings of the event held in support of the Formula 1 Portuguese Grand Prix.

The 2021 season started with a bang for Cam who managed to impress despite a winter testing season like no other. Travel restrictions had prevented Cam from doing his usual on-track preparation, with the young American jumping in the Dallara F320 for just two days of official testing at Barcelona before the first race of the season. Great things were in sight though. The Motopark Academy driver managed to impress by setting the fastest time of the official test.

What makes his 3 win tally more impressive is that Cam had never set foot on the Portimao race track before this weekend, and for the first time, Euroformula Open was the support race for Formula 1. This meant there was no additional testing opportunity before the official sessions that is typical for a first race weekend. It was show up and go!

Returning to the Euroformula Open with Team Motopark was a decision based on Cam’s strong finish of the previous campaign with the German squad, as well as the opportunity to continue his development by working directly with legendary technical director Andreas Kohler who is recognized in the industry as one of the best race engineers in single seaters, at any level.

The race weekend in Portimao started with a first session in which both Cam and the team made contact with the track and set the stage for what was to come. By the time the second session came, the car was tuned and ready to go whilst Cam understood exactly what and how to do it when he got on track. A late red flag took the opportunity from Cam to show his true pace, but as he himself later said “this only kept the others guessing.”

The format of the race weekend is brand new for 2021 in the Euroformula Open, as there is now only one qualifying session. Cam approached the session with confidence and managed the second fastest time overall which placed him on the front row for Race 1.

A brilliant start from the young American meant the driver who started first was immediately put under pressure by Cam and then forced into a mistake. After taking the lead, Cam never looked back and won the race in a commanding way for all the Formula 1 teams watching from the pitlane. This was the Cameron’s first win the Euroformula Open Championship series.

“The first win was such a relief. I knew I had the pace for pole in Quali, but I made a mistake. I was really gutted about it leading into Race 1, but I couldn’t put my mind at ease until I rectified it. We were far from 100% on the car setup in free practice, but they put in crazy hours on Friday night to figure out a solution, and it paid off. Many thanks to Motopark Team for their efforts. ”

 As part of new format of the weekend, Race 2 is a reverse grid where the winner of Race 1 will start 6th - where Cam would start. The goal of the second race is not just gathering as many points via passing and final position, but the driver must also set a fast lap which determines the starting position for Race 3. Cam, once again, had a solid start and immediately put the drivers ahead of him under pressure. Overtaking was critical to find “clean air” presented the opportunity to go for a fast lap. In strategical fashion, Cam executed one overtake after another displaying a masterful combination of speed and intelligence. Once again, he put his Dallara F320 in first position while also scoring extra points for the most overtakes of the race. While leading, Cam set a very fast lap time which was only topped by two drivers who stopped mid race for fresh rubber with the sole goal of having a good position in Race 3. One of these drivers was penalized, meaning Cam had not only won Race 2 but was also starting 2nd for the final race of the weekend.

“After winning Race 1, my mindset immediately shifted. On one hand, there was a weight that lifted off my shoulders. On the other hand, I knew it was time for champi- onship-mode which I hadn’t been in since F4 United States. Because setting a fast lap in Race 2 is so crucial for the final race, my priority was on lap time. I quickly re- alized that I was only going to be stuck in the aero wash of the cars in front, so I had no choice but to go for tactical overtakes, and that led me to P1.”

The third and final race of the weekend was a masterclass and a show of strength by Cam. Taking first position with an overtake on the outside of the first corner, the Baltimore native never looked back and pushed until the very end winning by an advantage of almost 12 seconds to the second place driver while also setting the fastest lap time of the race on the very last lap. This third and commanding win reminded everyone about Cam’s total domination of his debut season in the Formula 4 United States when he won the championship in a similar manner.

“I really couldn’t believe it. The overtake was borderline, so I wasn’t sure if a penalty was applicable or not, so I just put in quali laps every single lap. I wanted to reach a 10 second gap because that’s what I thought the worst-case penalty would be, and I think the gap was almost 12 seconds at the end. It was intense race for me, but it was so rewarding having been on an absolute knife’s edge for so many laps with no mistakes. I was also so happy with progression my engineer made with the car through the weekend. By the 3rd race, we had a balance I couldn’t make a single inkling of a gripe about which is astonishing considering where we were in FP1.”

The second race weekend of the 2021 Euroformula Open will take place at the Paul Ricard Formula 1 race track in France between the 14th to 16th of May with Cam leading the board with a total of 79 points, 37 points clear of the second place driver in the championship.

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Cam Das adds Euroformula Open campaign for 2020 with Team Motopark

By Team Das Autosport

Cam Das adds Euroformula Open campaign for 2020 with Team Motopark

After a very strong second half of the 2019 Euroformula Open campaign, the young American will once again be competing in the F3 based championship, driving for the German team, Motopark.

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Cam Das to join the F1 weekend in 2020

By Team Das Autosport

Cam Das to join the F1 weekend in 2020

American rising star Cam Das has the pleasure of announcing a move to the FIA Formula 3 Championship, running with British racing superpower Carlin Racing on Formula 1 weekends during the 2020 season.

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Brilliant highlights and the fastest race lap in Monza

By Team Das Autosport

Brilliant highlights and the fastest race lap in Monza
Cam Das completes the 2019 Euroformula Open season on a strong note, managing to climb to second position in race one and scoring the fastest lap of the race in Sunday’s event.

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