The penultimate Euroformula Open weekend of the 2019 championship took place on yet another Formula 1 track at Circuit de Catalunya in northern Spain.
The weekend started early with a full day of testing on Thursday, where Cam discovered the intricacies of the Motopark Euroformula Open car relative to the technical and demanding Spanish circuit. Friday was used mainly for tuning the car around the race setup rather than the performance laps for qualifying which had been developed on Thursday. In a series of unfortunate events on Friday, two red flags prevented Cam from using the fresher set of his tire allocation, and the day ended with the young American’s fastest time, 16th overall, not reflecting his outright pace potential.
Ready and eager to impress on Saturday morning, Cam was very happy to see the rain clouds gathering above the Formula 1 track, as he knows he is one of the quickest drivers in the championship in wet conditions. Unfortunately the rain quickly turned into a severe thunderstorm which resulted in the session being canceled altogether, and the grid positions were now determined by the Friday free practice times. This extremely rare and unfortunate situation put Cam in the last position on the grid for the race number 1, and he was not able to demonstrate his quali potential.
As the rain continued to pour, rumors in the paddock suggested that the race itself might be canceled. Rain still fell at the time of the race start, but the storm toned down considerably before the lights went out. Cam’s outright pace in the wet, together with his ability to navigate the “blind driving” due to the spray from the cars in front, allowed Cam to quickly overtake seven cars to finish in the 8th points scoring position. It was a very brave and impressive drive by the American F1 hopeful, where his pace was on par with that of the driver who ultimately won the race.
“The wet race was one of the most difficult races I’ve ever had to do. Visibility was treacherous, and I almost ran into the cars ahead several times because of exaggerated accordion effect going on. I managed to maximize the grip and complete some great overtakes. It’s a shame we had to start that far back as we would have brought the fight to the people in front, for sure!” said Cam.
The lack of driving on good age tires in the Friday free practice sessions, coupled with the very wet Saturday running meant Cam’s engineer, Niki Laa, decided to change the strategy for Sunday morning and run three sets of new tires rather than the usual 2 in quali. The ever changing grip level of the track made it difficult for Cam to find the right approach under the time limit of the short qualifying session. Three stints compounded the issue. The result was not as expected and Cam started 11th on Sunday. The team, however, walked away with valuable information for the future under the 3-tire strategy.
With a great launch, Cam quickly climbed 2 positions to 9th by the first corner but was then run wide off track in turn two by a competitor, and he found himself again at the bottom of the pack. With a brilliant drive, Cam managed not only to match the best outright speed of the race, but was also the only driver to successfully overtake in the race. With two very spectacular moves “around the outside”, Cam climbed to 12th.
The final race of the season will take place at the legendary F1 circuit in Monza, Italy on the 12th and 13th of October. Cam and his partners Wildlife, Opticoat, FREEDOM by Data Federal, Druck & Visceral, Hunt Valley Horsepower, Racing DNA and Sportline Management will be trying to end the season on a high, putting the Team Motopark car on top of the field.