With just under five weeks before his first French Formula 4 race, Alex completed a very successful final test at Magny-Cours.
With the temperature gauge showing 41C, most people would be heading for the beach or a cooling dip in a pool. However, no such luxuries were on the cards for Alex as he prepared for his final French Formula 4 test before his first race, at the historic Magny-Cours race circuit.
After his first test just over two weeks ago at the famous Le Mans circuit, the MIS Motorsport supported driver now had to master the historic French Magny-Cours circuit, in four 30-minute test sessions.
The location of the old French Formula 1 Grand Prix, the very fast and technical circuit is made up of a selection of very challenging corners, which would test even an experienced driver, never mind a driver who had never driven the circuit before.
“Learning a new circuit is always a challenge but the Magny-Cours circuit does have a few corners which are similar to corners I have driven on UK circuits. This at least helped with finding suitable lines to start with. I walked the track the night before the test to work out the best lines and then used these for my first test session,” commented Alex.
Alex’s first test session was very impressive, considering it was the first time he had driven his MIS Motorsport supported car on the circuit. Running with the other championship drivers, who have had a lot more experience of the car and circuit, Alex ended the first session with the fourth fastest time. For the second session, all the drivers changed to new tyres. With the extra grip and confidence provided by new tyres, Alex set the sessions third fastest time just three tenths of a second off the best time.
“With new tyres I was able to push the car more and, in the faster flat-out corners, the car was more balanced which enabled me to maintain my speed. My fastest time was set towards the end of the session and with more laps I could have gone faster,” reflected Alex.
As the ambient temperature continued to climb during the day, the temperature of the track surface also rose, reducing grip levels and resulting in none of the drivers being able to improve on their times, in the remaining sessions.
“As the air temperature increases, the track surface heats up affecting the grip levels between the tyres and the track. Also, the higher air temperature reduces engine performance. Therefore, there was no chance of beating the time I set in the morning session. I came here from the test at Le Mans five tenths of a second off the fastest time and now I have reduced this to three tenths. I am sure when we return here to race, I can close the gap further, so I am really pleased with how the test has gone,” reflected Alex.
Alex now has chance to relax a little before he re-packs his race kit and heads back to Magny-Cours next month to compete in his first French Formula 4 race, with his partners MIS Motorsport and Driven Steering.