Cameron Das has enjoyed a solid weekend of racing as he made his competitive debut at iconic British circuit, Silverstone. Rising American star Das, who after four rounds of the season sits joint third overall, used the three races this weekend to learn a new track, produce some absolutely stunning overtaking manoeuvres and gain points to keep him in the 2017 BRDC British Formula Three Championship hunt.
Once again a new challenge awaited the reigning US Formula Four Champion as he readied himself for a weekend of action at Silverstone; a track at which he would be making his racing debut. As a result the four test sessions on Friday would prove valuable track time for Das, despite having other open wheel cars on track with the British F3 field. The 17 year old American made the most of the sessions working with his engineer to get up to speed in the Tatuus-Cosworth Carlin car before qualifying on Saturday morning.
As it was qualifying got underway on Saturday with Das in full confidence of a fast car underneath him. Pushing hard throughout the duration of the 30 minute session Das, who has already secured two pole positions this season, looked to work his way up to speed and start the weekend well. On his new tyre run he hooked together some great sectors and set the fifth quickest time to secure his grid slot for the opening race of the weekend later in the day.
Das had a challenging start to the first race of the weekend in which he dropped positions after finding himself pushed wide and having to take avoiding action to miss one of the high sausage kerbs. As a result, he lost momentum however enjoyed some extremely exciting racing with those around him. Das said of the race, “I had a really strong start however I got pushed wide and had to back off to avoid a sausage kerb which meant I lost positons. After that I had a pretty good battle out there which was fun and it put us in a strong position for the reverse grid race.”
A new day on Sunday dawned with two races to look forward to in relatively short succession. The reverse grid race started with Das lining up on the second row of the grid and coming home to take seventh overall after a race full of battles up and down the grid.
However it was the third race of the weekend that proved by far the most exciting. With the grid set using the fastest laps from the previous two races Das lined up eighth having raced in close combat for most the weekend and unable to get a representative fast race lap on the board as a result. This in turn left him in the perfect position to truly hone his race craft around the British circuit.
Immediately gaining two spots on the first lap, Das was soon up behind Douglas Motorsport driver Jordan Cane who he set in his sights. In arguably one of the best overtaking moves of the weekend, the talented American drew close behind Cane, reeled him in and ran side by side – making his overtake stick incredibly well Das secured fifth position as the flag fell.
Reflecting on the race he said, “I think that race provided the highlight of the weekend for me! I really enjoyed the move on Jordan [Cane] and when it was happening I didn’t quite think that the move would stick but I had a lot of confidence in the car so I went for it. It’s also good to have made a move like because I have the confidence to do it again when I’m in a situation like that later in the season and have the opportunity presented to me. It was a little hard but good fun this weekend overall. Silverstone has a lot of chances for overtaking so that leads to great racing and I love the high speed nature of the track.”
Das once again used the weekend to continue his strong, consistent performance which has already seen him secure fantastic points and finishes in the Championship. At the mid-point of the 2017 season the reigning US Formula Four Champion now sits in joint third place – securing a brilliant position for the second half of the year.
“Coming in to the weekend we only had one day of testing compared to some of the other tracks where we have had two; so we knew that it would mean getting up to speed quicker both in the car and around the track,” said Das. “I had to rely on my memory of the track from tests a while ago and the simulator work that we had done to try and get on the pace straight away because it’s such a big track with lots of high speed exciting corners.
“I think that third overall in the championship is a good result for the mid-point. So far this season I’ve learnt a lot when it comes to race starts and technique – and it was the race experience that I really wanted to gain this season. I wanted to be in a really competitive championship and get that wheel to wheel action and I’m experiencing that right here in the BRDC British F3 Championship. It’s all great for learning and I certainly feel like the first half has delivered and I look forward to the second half of the season. We take the weekend as a learning experience knowing that we continue to pick up good points consistently in the races.”