FARNHAM, England – Hello everybody it’s me again, Bryce, writing once again from the United Kingdom. That may come as a surprise to some as my time with the Team USA Scholarship ended last November but my business in the U.K. was not to be finished. I am happy to say I will be competing in 2021 with the Carlin team in BRDC British Formula 3. It is a very big jump from Formula Ford and there is a lot of learning to be done but I am extremely excited for the season to get started.
So far, I have tested at some of the most iconic tracks in the U.K., including Oulton Park, Silverstone and Donington Park. One of the great things about British motorsport is the relatively accessible track time, and happily for me I have been able to indulge in this. In my first test at Silverstone, it was a crazy experience traveling through Maggots and Becketts flat out in sixth gear! Even making the experience crazier was the fact that Lando Norris and Daniel Ricciardo were testing as well in some of the team’s EuroFormula cars. I can say with utmost confidence that it was one of my coolest experiences in racing to be sharing a track with Formula 1 legends. The transition into winged cars is not easy, especially at the British F3 level, where there is quite a lot of aero on the car and the competition is at an extremely high level, but I am determined to tackle the new beast in front of me.
So far life in the U.K. has been going great! Everyone at Carlin has been extremely helpful. From looking at years of video and data, to using their gym and their professional grade simulator, it has been an extremely productive few months of training. It is always neat to look at somebody like Colton Herta or Lando Norris’ data from years prior when they raced in British F3. Carlin had been around awhile and has helped countless drivers reach the top echelons of motorsport. Some of the most recent examples include Norris, Ricciardo, Yuki Tsunoda, Takuma Sato, Daniel Kyvat, Sebastian Vettel and Kevin Magnussen. Interestingly enough former Team USA Scholarship winner Josef Newgarden also drove for Carlin back in the GP3 days after competing in Formula Fords. The list of successful drivers associated with Carlin goes on and on and I am happy just to be involved. For me it is exciting to be part of such a successful group and learn from some of the best in the business.
As well as adjusting on track I have learned to adjust to my new lifestyle away from home. Currently I am living in a flat with my roommate, Richard, who also is a mechanic on the British F3 team. Our flat is 10 minutes away from the team’s shop, to which I bike to pretty much everyday. Thankfully for me, the team has allowed me to work on the cars on some of my off days which is something I really enjoy. Gaining any piece of knowledge is worth something as I have learned.
The shop and my flat are located in a bustling English town called Farnham. Unfortunately, the U.K. is still in lockdown so I cannot explore too much of the town’s activities but I have found some hobbies. After a trip around town I was able to purchase a basketball and a bicycle, both of which I have been using heavily. Also there is a basketball court just a block away from my flat where I can shoot some hoops. On the weekends I sometimes bike up to a military training ground with lots of terrain where I can ride and witness some stunning views. We are about 45 minutes southwest of London and not too far away from race tracks across the country. The furthest track we travel to, besides Spa-Francorchamps outside of the U.K., is Oulton Park which is about three and a half hours away – a relatively easy journey compared to the “normal” travel times in the United States.
Since I am here in the U.K. once again without family I have had to learn how to live on my own. It is a very different environment to last year where I had the comfort to move into the Dempsey household and enjoy Michelle’s daily cooking. All I had to do was bring my clothes, and life was good. Unfortunately I do not get to be that spoiled any longer. This year I had to build my furniture after buying it from IKEA – yet another new experience – and deal with a broken boiler. For a few weeks we had no hot water or central heating, which was not the most pleasant experience I must admit. Luckily in the end we have managed to get ourselves sorted and even acquire Sky F1 on our TV; the most important priority of course. Learning to cook for myself has proven to be an interesting process but I am happy to say I have improved quite a bit. In fact last night my roommate and I managed to make pizzas from scratch. We ended up very satisfied but with a kitchen covered in flour.
My Tatuus F3 car is nearly ready to go again.
Next up is another trip back to Silverstone to complete a few more days of testing. At the minute it looks like we may have some beautiful weather and I can’t wait to get back on track. The learning will continue and I’m buzzing to be back in the car. I would like to take this opportunity to thank everybody involved in my campaign this year including my longtime partners MPEC Napa Auto Parts and Imperial Motors Jaguar, along with everybody involved in last year’s Team USA Scholarship. Without the hard work of the many involved I would not be able to do what I love and to them I owe my gratitude. Until next time, – Bryce