The first week of September marked the return to action for the Euroformula Open championship after the long summer break. Silverstone is the home of the British Formula 1 Grand Prix and is one of Cam Das’ favorite tracks. It features a series of fast flowing corner sequences which require technical precision and bravery.
Silverstone was an important and pivotal weekend for Cam. Transitioning to Team Motopark mid-season meant the American was on the back foot with a new car, different setup, and an unfamiliar track. After two race weekends, Silverstone would set the stage for how he adapted to the change and ultimately finish the season.
With limited time in the new team there was little “holiday” for the American, since most of his summer break was focused on returning to the front of the pack where he belongs. Besides preparing physically and mentally on his own, Cam traveled to Germany at the Team Motopark headquarters for pre-race preparations including simulator sessions and a test on the Oschersleben DTM track.
The effort in the workshop, on the sim, and on the track paid off as Cam and the team were “on the pace” straight away from the very first practice session at Silverstone. The limited track time on the Friday meant everything had to be fine-tuned very quickly- an exercise in which engineer Niki Laa proved to be proficient. Adding the input from expert driver coach Luca Persiani, Cam delivered an impressive third fastest lap time in the free practice sessions, a tenth off the fastest time.
The first qualifier of the weekend took place on Saturday morning. Again, Cam achieved a respectable third fastest time after the first set of tires. In response, Cam and his crew reacted with a slight change to improve the balance of the car. Unfortunately the track surface change dramatically before they fitted the second set of tires and Cam was forced to settle for fifth at the end of the session, a best result of the season, but not matching the potential Cam had demonstrated in free practice. Due to the nature of the Silverstone track, the young American led a processional race and held his position until the end, finishing where he started in 5th.
Sunday’s qualifying was supposed to be an uphill battle since Cam only had a single used set and a single new set of tires for the session compared to the other drivers who had two new sets. In a demonstration of skill, Cam managed to stay in the top 5 on the used set of tires, and he looked strong before putting on the set of new tires. Then, drama struck with only 3 minutes left in the session. Another driver went off the track causing a red flag and the session was cut short. All cars had to queue in the pit lane getting ready for a one lap shootout on new tires. It was Cam’s moment to shine and prove he was ready for the task. He faced the pressure with calm and clinical precision, orchestrating a great lap which saw him end the session with the second quickest lap time and his first front row start of the season.
Sunday’s race appeared to be another tedious affair with drivers unable to overtake on a track which offers little room for passing. Cam was holding strong his second position. Suddenly, on the penultimate lap, a driver behind him lunged in an ambitious attempt to overtake him, making contact with Cam’s car and forcing the American to finish in sixth. Cam did well to stay on the track and limp across the finish line with a broken front wing and suspension, but rather unfortunately lost out on a podium position.
“I am happy with the pace we had this weekend. We were fast from the very beginning, and I think we showed that we are back where we should be. Sunday’s race didn’t go our way, but that only makes me more determined to do well in the next rounds and to bring some trophies home! I’d like to thank all of our partners for affording me the opportunity to race. I simply couldn’t pursue my dream without their belief in me. Wildlife, Opti-Coat, FREEDOM ERM by Data Federal, Druck and Visceral as well as my friends in the Hunt Valley Horsepower community are responsible for making this dream come true. Also a big shout-out to Team Motopark for showing professionalism and great engineering skills and also to my coach Luca Persiani from Racing DNA. I’m very much looking forward to Barcelona in only two weeks!”
The next race in the Euroformula Open calendar will take place at the Formula 1 track from Barcelona on the 21st - 22nd of September.