The British F4 Snetterton Test earlier this week marked the last test Olli would have before he becomes the youngest driver in the World to race an F4 car. Turning 15 next Sunday (11th June), Olli will be going off the back of the grid for races two and three to break a record likely to never be broken again.
Seventeen drivers took to the track in the opening session on Tuesday to get proceedings underway. Snetterton is a very tough circuit and is the longest on the British F4 Calendar. It is critical you are not losing time at any corners, lose half a tenth at each corner and you could lose over a second a lap!
As ever a number of yellow sectors and the occasional red flag halted proceedings over the two days, but on Olli’s fifth and final run in the opening session he got down to a 1:53.579, a time that put him in 10th place. As well as that he was just half a second behind the quickest Challenge Cup driver and 1.280 seconds off the top!
With 44 laps under his belt it was time for the afternoon session and as many drivers failed to improve on their time, Olli did improve and by some margin! On his 35th and last lap he got down to a 1:53.030, half a second quicker than the time he did in the morning! That brought the gap down to 0.7 seconds between him and his teammates who topped the morning sessions.
It was a hugely positive first day, 79 laps completed and two 10th place finishes with one more day to go.
Four drivers had opted out of day two, but for the 13 on track it was business as usual. In the morning session Olli completed a total of 28 laps, it wasn’t as many as some but he had been able to once again set a time of 1:53.038 to put himself in 8th place. He had also closed the gap to the leaders by three tenths as it now stood at 0.838 seconds.
There had been a clear sign of progress so far and Olli came very close to pushing that forward a whole lot further in the afternoon. On his third and final run, he was getting quicker and quicker each lap, but on what his fastest lap he took a spin which, looking back at the data, had cost him 5th place!
Despite that Olli still set a time good enough for 8th place, bettering the 9th place he had in the morning. The spin was unfortunate as it was caused by a miss-timed radio call, but nevertheless his pace was positive and it shows he was pushing the car, and himself, to its absolute limit.
Olli Caldwell: "The Snetterton test went really well for me! I developed lots and got much more confident in the car. I was particularly pleased with my race pace during the race simulations I did over the two days. This will help me hugely next weekend for my debut British F4 race. I’m really looking forward to it!"
The next stop for Olli is his first British F4 race in Croft next weekend! Watch out for a full preview here at ollicaldwell.com on Monday.
Full results (140 laps):
Tuesday AM – 10th (1.280s)
Tuesday PM – 10th (1.115s)
Wednesday AM – 9th (0.838s)
Wednesday PM – 8th (1.165s)