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.