As the team and drivers return home after the test at Lausitzring, we sat down with W Series Racing Director, Dave Ryan to review the event and to find out how it all went.
How did the recent W Series test at the Lausitzring go?
It went very well. It was only the second time that our drivers had driven our W Series Tatuus T-318 Formula 3 cars, and by and large they coped very well. The conditions were decidedly tricky – cold and wet at first and then dry but still chilly thereafter – and as a result it wasn’t always easy to optimise the performance of the tyres. That isn’t a reflection on Hankook by the way – the Hankook personnel did a great job – but it’s merely an unavoidable consequence of the low track surface temperatures.
Even so, over the three days, our drivers made progress, some of them very good progress in fact, all of them gaining confidence as their knowledge base and skill set ramped up with miles driven. Some of them have a reasonable level of prior experience in single-seaters; some of them have have less. But practice makes perfect and that’s what the Lausitzring test was all about – practice – building as it did on the first time our drivers had driven the W Series Tatuus T-318 Formula 3 car in Almeria a few weeks ago.
Why did you not reveal each driver’s lap times at the Lausitzring?
Our Lausitzring test wasn’t really about lap times. Rather, it was about giving each driver the best possible opportunity to learn as much as she possibly could as well as she possibly could, getting a feel for her car, and understanding how best to work with her engineer. Even so, all the lap times were posted live, on a lap-by-lap basis, in the Lausitzring media centre, on all three days, and the media centre was pretty full of journalists and TV crews when I went there, so the info was freely available to plenty of attending media. I gather that some of that info has been shared by a few journalists on social media. That’s inevitable – people are always curious to know about lap times – it’s human nature among racing media and racing fans alike and understandably so – but we didn’t proactively reveal our drivers’ lap times in our end-of-day press releases or on our own social media channels simply because posting superfast lap times wasn’t really the purpose of the test.
But at Hockenheim it will be – correct?
Of course it will, yes. Hockenheim will stage the first ever W Series race meeting, on May 3rd and 4th, and it’ll consist of free practice sessions, a qualifying session and a race, and I can tell you for certain that our drivers will all be super-keen to do well. On the Thursday they’ll be working as hard as they can with their engineers on the simulators we’ll be taking to every race, making sure they’re as well prepared as they possibly can be for when they actually drive the car on track the following day, and they’ll have plenty of free practice time before tackling quali and the race. Quali is always going to be excitingly frenetic – every driver pushing her car at ten-tenths in an effort to bag the pole – and all our races will be of a half-hour’s duration plus one lap, so they’ll be pretty flat-out too.
Who do you expect to win that first race?
Even if I knew, I wouldn’t tell you. But, actually, I really don’t know. No-one does. Besides, sport is supposed to be suspenseful, so the fact that no-one can predict the result of the first W Series race is a good thing. Indeed, Formula 1 is often criticised for the fact that it’s sometimes a bit too predictable in terms of who wins and who doesn’t, so all I’ll say is: watch all 30-odd minutes of the Hockenheim W Series race, enjoy it, and cheer the winner home when she crosses the line first, whoever she is.
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