FARNHAM, England – It’s been awhile since I have been home in America. From the beginning of February I have resided primarily in England, and this past week I had the opportunity to go home to the U.S. for a few days. It was a very nice stay, especially after the intensity of my first race weekend in the BRDC British F3 Championship at Brands Hatch.
After months of testing and assessing who was who, the first round of racing was something I welcomed with open arms. Excitement, worry and nerves all littered my thoughts as I approached the first practice on Friday. The entire week leading up to the race I was pumped, ready to climb into the cockpit. The step up to British F3 was a rather large one from Formula Ford and has shown to be a big learning experience since my arrival back to England after last year’s Walter Hayes Trophy. A lot of hard work went into my pre-season program, many hours on the team’s simulator, in the gym, and with my engineer Jimmy. As nervous as I may have been, I was ready.
The first race weekend went well and we managed to secure some good points. I was happy to have a solid start to the season especially considering Brand Hatch is my engineer’s home track – in fact his family’s house is almost visible from the track. Throughout the race weekend I began to get more and more comfortable. Before the first race I felt as if my heart was going to explode, it didn’t hit me until then that I was actually racing in British F3.
In qualifying I felt my nerves a lot and made a few mistakes but I bounced back in the races and, even better, improved my confidence with each session. By the end of the weekend I felt completely at home making aggressive moves and finishing fourth in race three, in the largest field the series has seen since 2016. It was a great learning weekend and one that I enjoyed a lot. Sometimes I put way too much pressure on myself and forget to enjoy the experience.
One of the most beneficial aspects of living in the UK is that I have been able to spend a lot of time with my fellow Carlin team members. A lot of time has passed since my
arrival in February and I have naturally gotten closer with the team. Recently I played football (soccer as it’s known to most Americans) in a Carlin versus Carlin match. It was the BRDC British F3 team versus a mix of mechanics from the other Carlin Teams (EuroFormula, FIA F3, British F4, and FIA F2). Although my football skills may be considered subpar by British standards I had a blast – well, besides when a ball was blasted into my face, but overall it was very enjoyable. After my time last year I began to truly understand how important it was to feel at home within a team. The more comfortable I begin to feel the calmer I become, a very good combination at a race weekend.
My trip home to America allowed me to see friends and family who I hadn’t been able to visit in a while. Also, the day before I returned to England, I was able to visit Road America for the NTT INDYCAR SERIES and Road to Indy Presented by Cooper Tires event. It was great to be at America’s temple of speed where I saw some old friends including Team USA Scholarship teammate Jackson Lee. I also had a brief conversation and selfie with Colton Herta, who himself drove for Carlin in British F3 a few years ago. Along with seeing old friends I got to finally see Indy cars in action. Nothing beats the sound of race cars thundering by at 180+ mph!
Next up for me is a race at Silverstone and I can’t wait. Nerves and excitement will be in the system once again as I plunge into the unknown. Whatever happens I’ll learn from it and continue my journey of bettering myself not only as a racing driver but as a complete person. Until next time. – Bryce Aron