Hector Hurst is getting set for his car racing debut in the opening rounds of the 2011 Protyre Formula Renault BARC Championship. The 18 year old has spent the last few weeks making his final preparations ahead of his first two races at Donington Park on April 23/24.
Hampshire-based Hurst has continued to clock up the miles recently, heading to Brands Hatch, Oulton Park and Silverstone for more track time with Scorpio Motorsport. The testing has gone well, with the 18 year old regularly running in the top three, ahead of many of his more experienced rivals.
Commenting on the recent testing, Hurst said: “Brands was tricky, it was my first time at the track and there was a lot of traffic. We managed to learn the track which was good ahead of racing there, but only got a couple of clean laps all day. Then it was Oulton Park, though on the International circuit, not the Island circuit which we’ll race on, but it was still good.
“It was good practice, same with going to Silverstone again, because there were so many people running on Avon and other types of tyres, the track really transformed, which meant I got excellent experience of adapting to the surface, as opposed to running when it’s perfect. We set the pace at Brands Hatch and Silverstone, but there wasn’t much competition there.
“Over those days we’ve continued to get some really excellent running with Scorpio and the cars been perfect each time. Also at Silverstone I got to try my first few race starts, which is important before going to Donington for my first race weekend so I have a gauge of what to do, so I don’t stall.”
Hurst, who has a place studying Automotive Engineering at Oxford Brookes University from September, has also been working hard off track to ensure he’s at his peak for when the season begins: “I’ve continued to be in the gym three, four times a week, building up strength and using my bike about five times a week to get some really good levels of endurance and fitness. All of this is so that I can be just as comfortable in the car on the last lap of the last race as on the first lap of the first practice session.”
All the hard work is paying off now, with Hector feeling really confident ahead of his first BARC weekend: “I feel better now than I ever have done, every time we go to a test or every day I wake up I feel better prepared. I don’t feel nervous yet about the racing, maybe I will when I get strapped into the car but I feel pretty confident I can just get the job done.
“If we could go straight out onto a podium in the first weekend that would obviously be excellent, but as long as we’re top five and getting some good points, that’s a great starting point for the championship. It’s going to be a long year and everyone’s going to be very close, so scoring lots of points consistently will be the key.”