While the Richardson Racing team from Lincolnshire had been testing with a number of drivers over the course of the winter, Louise hadn’t had a chance to set foot in her car until Friday testing at the Kent circuit, meaning she was on the back foot from the start.
Despite her lack of experience in the car she was quickly on the pace and an impressive performance in qualifying put her Ford EcoBoost-powered car sixth on the nineteen car grid for the first race of the weekend on Saturday.
As the race, which was late on Saturday afternoon, got underway Louise got a great start but disaster struck on paddock hill bend when she spun due to lack of grip from her cold tyres. Her lack of time in the car had showed up with an uncharacteristic mistake. She was beached in the gravel and that was the end of her first race.
The second race, held on Sunday morning was more successful although Louise was delayed avoiding a spinning car on the first lap. She managed her first finish although down in twelfth after the early delay. It was valuable track time in a car she is still learning though.
She went in to race three, on Sunday afternoon with a lot more confidence now she had some more experience in the car and hoped to get a good result. Unfortunately it seemed luck was not on her side for the first weekend as she had an accident near the end of a safety car period. As the safety car was heading in, she was caught out by an unexpectedly slow rival and the resulting front end damage left her with no option other than retirement from the race.
Now she has gained some track time in the car, Louise heads to the next rounds at Donington in less than two weeks time hoping for some better luck and some good results. She spoke about her first weekend of the season;
“It’s been a bit of a mixed weekend if I’m being honest,” she said. “I’ve improved my pace throughout the weekend as I got more used to the car and in race three I was really hoping we could get a strong result but it wasn’t to be. What happened on track was really unfortunate and at first, I thought I’d made a mistake. However, having had chance to watch it back, the driver in front started to go with the rest of the field and then suddenly slowed – leaving me with nowhere to go. Despite that, I feel quite happy with how I’ve got to grips with the car considering I didn’t get to do any pre-season testing and I think it suits me more than the Formula Ford car I raced last year. It meant I was quite close to the pace straight away, and there is still plenty more to come.”
“The mixed conditions we’ve faced on track haven’t been ideal for me this weekend, but I’m hopeful we can take a step forwards when we go to Donington Park. We’ve got people interested in our second car and all being well, I’ll have a team-mate alongside me when we head there in a few weeks.” By Marc Waller