Douglas Motorsport’s Callan O’Keeffe is busy getting ready for the upcoming 2017 BRDC British Formula 3 season which gets underway at Oulton Park in just under one month, after enjoying a productive two-day test at Spa-Francorchamps in Belgium last week.
The 20-year-old believes his pre-season preparations have gone well thus far and thinks that the 2017 British Formula 3 season is going to be “an incredibly competitive year with any number of drivers able to win races.”
“I’ve always loved Spa and on the Thursday we were very quick out of the box and everything was going well,” O’Keeffe stated when asked how the test in Belgium, which saw the majority of the 2017 grid attend, went. “The last day didn’t go to plan and we were missing quite a lot. That is something we need to do this week and work out what went wrong. The other test have been going well though and we’ve been at the front so hopefully we can find out what the problem was and fix it pretty quickly,” O’Keeffe stated confidently.
Despite not being at the top of the timesheets by the end of Friday at Spa, the South African was pleased with his and Douglas Motorsport’s progress across the two days of running. “Testing is always a difficult one. As a racing driver, you always want to be quickest on every lap. It is easy to fall into that trap but in testing, you don’t know what everyone else is doing and you don’t know tyre mileage. For us, it was about maximising the two days we had there and making sure we left knowing more than we did when we arrived,” he said.
“I think we did that and that was more important than being right at the front in terms of pace. We know where we are, what we need to do to move forward and the key thing is taking steps towards that as that is going to give us the best chance of winning. That is the key thing and the focus for the next few tests up until the first race at Oulton Park.”
Given the high-quality nature of the 2017 British F3 field, O’Keeffe believes it is impossible to name one driver to watch out for and thinks it could be one of the most competitive years in British F3 history. He said: “The one thing that is really clear this year is that it is going to be an incredibly competitive year with one of several drivers able to win races. To pick one person or one team that surprised me would be wrong but the thing that did surprise me is just how close everyone was. It is always good to get that feeling that you are in for a tough year as it makes you better prepared. Hopefully I can now push past the limits and be ready for a hard fight at Oulton Park.”
His preparations continue apace ahead of the first round on Easter Weekend in Cheshire and O’Keeffe is making sure he has covered every angle before the lights go out to start race one at Oulton Park. “It is kind of scary to think of only having one month until the first race as it sounds like a lot but it is really not! We have the Media Day on the 28th which will be pretty cool. That will be the first time that it will feel real that the championship is fast approaching. From my side, I am spending as much time as I can with the team and my engineer to make sure that we are maximising as much as we can off-track. Physically I will be training hard with AW Performance so that I am as ready as possible when jumping in the car.”
The 2017 BRDC British Formula 3 season gets underway at Oulton Park on Easter Weekend (15-17 April).
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