Australian Formula Ford Championship leader Tom Sargent is refusing to be over-confident heading into the second round of the season at Queensland Raceway this weekend.
The Ipswich circuit is the only venue on the calendar where Sargent hasn’t driven before, and the Year 12 student says it will be critical to learn it quickly.
“When you’re the championship leader, all of a sudden you become the one that everyone is trying to beat,” Sargent said.
“A lot of my main rivals have raced at the track before, so they will start the weekend with an advantage, and it will definitely be important for me to get on top of the track in practice on Friday, so I can be competitive in qualifying and racing.”
While Sargent might be new to the venue, his team has plenty of experience at the racetrack often described as “the Paperclip” – team manager Cameron Hill won the round there in 2015, while Sargent’s CHE Racing team-mate Lachlan Mineeff competed at the circuit last year.
“Cameron and Lachlan have lots of experience at the track, so I’ll be leaning on their knowledge to help speed up my learning process,” Sargent said.
Sargent, along with Mineeff, claimed a piece of history by becoming the youngest driver combination to finish an endurance race at Bathurst in the recent 6 Hour, and Sargent said lessons learned from that campaign will be valuable for the rest of the season.
“While it’s a very different style of racing, the 6 Hour certainly helped sharpen up my race-craft, sharing the track with so many other cars,” he said.
“From a team perspective, the other important thing we took away from that weekend was to never give up, no matter how bad things might seem. We had some setbacks and we had to work hard to resolve them, but we made it to the finish line.”
This weekend’s Formula Ford round at Queensland Raceway will consist of three races which, unusually, will commence with rolling starts due to the circuit’s unique regulations.