The final event of this year’s racing season took place in Italy on the legendary F1 track of Monza coined “the temple of speed”. The home of the Italian Grand Prix hosted the final Euroformula Open weekend starting with a Thursday practice in which Cam set the benchmark pace finishing with the fastest time of the morning session and 3rd fastest in the afternoon. Managing to extract everything from his Team Motopark machine, Cam showed his intent early on and proved that he would be the one to beat in Italy.
True to Monza, Friday’s free practice was a cat and mouse game set around different tire and slipstream strategies, but the team’s planned race run scheduled for the afternoon session was cut short by a red flag which put an early end to their plan to develop the car for the race distance.
The first qualifier on Saturday was set around drivers jockeying between the best positions for the all-important slipstream game needed on Monza’s notoriously long straights. Cam was in the middle of the main group but only found himself with one “clean shot” at a lap right at the end. Even so, the young American pushed at the right moment and “squeezed” a sixth place out of the session. Slightly disappointed considering the previously demonstrated pace, Cam went into Saturday’s race determined to show his true colors, and that he did. Despite struggling with understeer throughout the race, Cam battled his way into second position and fought closely with the drivers around him in a masterful effort showing commitment and skill while facing adversity. In the end, the understeer progressively worsened and Cam saw himself sliding back to sixth position over the final few laps where he ultimately finished the race.
Determined to finish the season strong and to make Sunday’s event a memorable one, Cam went into qualifying charged and ready. Sadly, the tow-game took a strange twist and Cam was tangled up with some of the back markers, meaning he could never benefit from a strong enough slipstream. To compound the issue, Cam missed the start of his last flying lap by 60 milliseconds when the checkered flag came out; he was 3rd at that point. All of the drivers ahead of him made it through for one more flying lap, dropping Cam to eighth position on the grid for Race 2.
As the saying goes, “when it rains it pours.” Cam’s car stalled on the grid at launch putting the young American in last place on lap one of the race with a gap of nearly 10 seconds to the next car. What happened next was both spectacular and disappointing. With such a gap, Cam had to pursue the “train of cars” without a slipstream as the others were benefiting from. In theory, catching the pack was an impossible task. Putting his head down in a masterful effort, Cam managed to not only catch the cars in front at a spectacular rate, but he also set the quickest lap of the race in the meantime - a record which stands despite of what happened next. In fact, he closed the 10 second gap within 6 laps and overtook two cars immediately, but then disaster struck. Two cars fighting in front of Cam touched and generated a spectacular accident where one car spun mid-air before landing wheels-up in the gravel. The incident generated a safety car. As Cam approached the scene of the incident, a thick cloud of dust made debris invisible to the American driver who was then hit by a 5lbs flying driveshaft from one of the damaged cars which launched Cam into the gravel with significant damage to his car. The incident ended Cam’s race and season. Cam showed great pace, but was unfortunately unable to convert his talent and pace into a win.
Cam Das is very fortunate to be able to pursue his dream of becoming the next American F1 driver. He is thankful for the immense support of his partners for making this possible. The fantastic people at FREEDOM by Data Federal, Opticoat Racing, Wildlife, Druck + Visceral and Hunt Valley Horsepower are part of that endeavor, as are technical partners Team Motopark, Racing DNA and Sportline Management.
News about Cam’s future plans will follow shortly.