Liam Venter did exceptionally well last week on his maiden outing in a Formula Renault 3.5 Series car at Motorland Aragon.
Liam, who has been racing in the 2013 European Formula 3 Open championship this season and who tested an Auto GP last month, ran on the morning of the second day, after a late-call to get behind the wheel of the SMP Racing by Comtec car.
Despite that though, the Proudly South African, Top Red Media and powered by Scala youngster made good progress and continually improved his lap times, managing over 30 tours in total as he got use to a machine roughly equivalent to GP2 - and only one level down from F1, the pinnacle of the sport.
“I think the amount I learned was massive,” said Liam, who is only 18-years-old. “I really did enjoy it and the team did a fantastic job easing me into it and focusing on the things that matter to get me up to pace.
“There was a lot to learn and compared to the Auto GP car, the FR3.5 Series machine is very different - it has DRS, carbon brakes and massive amounts of downforce. But we did 33 quality laps and progressed rapidly. It went really well and was definitely worth it. I am glad we did it,” continued Liam, who unfortunately had an off near the end of his run.
“Overall it has given me a good goal and something to focus on over the winter now and I will push hard until I get another chance. I'd like to thank everyone for giving me the opportunity,” added the Accelerate Driver Development Ltd (ADD)-affiliated youngster.
Craig Dolby, Liam's driver coach, meanwhile felt Liam did a 'great job' during his time on track: “When we arrived at Motorland it was always going to be a very steep learning curve as the deal to drive was a late one,” Craig explained. “But I have to say it was the most relaxed I have seen Liam. He was super excited, the 'prep' work with the Comtec team went very well and when Liam hit the track he did a great job, doing what the engineers and myself asked him to do.
“He was improving all the time, looking comfortable with the car and the track. Unfortunately the tricky track conditions just caught us out with a gust of wind – but it could have happened to anyone.
“All-in-all I am very happy with the progress Liam is making. His work rate on and away from the track is more than ever, and second to none.”