- Russell Soto
Lucas Oil - Moving on to Formula Racing
The holiday season was great, as it afforded some quality time with friends and family. It also allowed me to really think about my goals for 2018 and beyond. My dad and I decided it really was time to put me in a formula car, and the best way to do this was the Lucas Oil School of Racing.
The cars are Ray Formula Cars GR11s, which is a popular Formula 1600 chassis. These cars, however, are equipped with a 2.0 liter Mazda engine, and a paddle shift sequential transmission system with rev matching. As you can see, the School uses Cooper tires grooved, street tires instead of racing slicks.
The track was Palm beach International Raceway in Jupiter, Florida, where this car was capable of 120 MPH at the end of the long straight. I have to say I had been waiting a very long time for this, and my first weekend at the wheel of a formula car did not disappoint.
Those two of the best days of my racing career, as I was able to receive excellent instruction from the people at Lucas Oil. My biggest question was how I would adapt to being at the wheel of a full-blooded racing machine - and I was really surprised at myself, adapting super quickly and feeling right at home in the car from the first session. Overall, I ended up being fastest over a race distance, able to lap at qualifying pace lap after lap!
I missed having the absolute fastest lap of the weekend by 2/10ths of a second, but the difference in my driving is that I could keep that up like clockwork, while other people's lap times would vary greatly over the course of a session. Over the course of a half hour, I would end up overtaking the field.
Check out the following video for a taste:
It was a great two days, after which the instructors told me I could go ahead and race already if I wanted to, and be competitive - not everyone gets told that! Unfortunately, it's a matter of budget, of which we have none. Nevertheless, this gives me a lot of motivation, as well as a lot of to think about in terms of what my next step will be. Stay tuned!