Samuel Oram-Jones showed good pace and made good progress on his maiden outing in the 2014 Protyre Formula Renault Championship at Donington Park at the weekend (May 31-June 1).
The 16-year-old is making the step up from karts this season and despite very little experience, only half a day at Mallory Park and one day at Donington on the Thursday prior to the event - both outings taking place in the wet – he improved dramatically from qualifying 1 to qualifying 2 and was almost 1.5 seconds quicker in the second session. That was a brilliant performance given he had never driven his SWB Motorsport-run car in the dry before.
Sammy continued in the same vein in the races too, using the opening one to gain further mileage and notch up his first points’ finish, when he came home in twelfth, before upping the ante in the second. Indeed he not only brought it home in ninth in race two, but he was also managing to stay with the pack and in the end his fastest lap was around half a second up on that set in race 1.
Unfortunately, he couldn’t show further progress in the third race as he was taken out at the start, but it was still nevertheless a very encouraging weekend.
“It went extremely well and we were very happy with the end performance,” said The Webber Independence School* pupil, who is backed by E&S Consultants Ltd. “It was quite hard on Saturday as it was only my third day in the car and my first time ever being on a dry track. I had to learn the track in the qualifying sessions, which is not ideal. But we got up to speed and in second qualifying were a lot closer to the rest of the grid.
“Then in the second race we found another half a second and we consistently stayed within about three to four tenths off the mid-pack. We were very happy with that because that is what we were aiming to do and what we are aiming for as the season goes on.
“The third race we were just a bit unfortunate at the start as another car lost control and went into me and broke the steering column. But it was a racing incident.”
“Like I said, however, the weekend was good overall,” added the Milton Keynes-based teenager. “We moved forward from qualifying and we moved forward in the two races. We would have made further progress and would have gone even better in the third race too had we not been forced out.
“We are still happy though, and we will go faster at Brands next month. It will be awesome to go there.”
SWB Motorsport Team Manager Simon Baldry meanwhile said in his opinion Sammy had done a ‘mega job’.
“Sammy did really well over this weekend. We did some really good things with him and he has done a lot of learning, ticked a lot of boxes and done a lot of firsts. He was chucked straight into qualifying in nice sunny weather and on slicks and despite having only run in the wet he dealt with everything and quickly found his feet,” Baldry continued.
“We were not expecting him to be really trying to hold onto the pack in the races. But basically he came into the second race and he was with the pack. In his first weekend you cannot really ask for anything more than that.
“He has kept learning every time the car has moved and even when he hasn’t been in it, he has been looking at all the data and the video footage and we have been going through things with him. All the things that we ask of him he does. As a team we cannot ask for anymore.
“He has done a mega job.”
Sammy will now resume his campaign with SWB Motorsport in the 2014 Protyre Formula Renault Championship at the end of July (July 26-27), with rounds seven and eight taking place at the Brands Hatch Indy circuit. A number of unique sponsorship opportunities are still available with Sammy for 2014 and anyone interested should contact either The Sports PR Company on +44 (0)207 434 3392 or Sammy’s father, Emil on +44 (0)7950 584034.