Masters of F3 Debut with Signature
Martin Plowman delivered a solid performance in his first ever Zandvoort Masters of F3 race at the Belgium circuit of Zolder to finish 14th out of a bumper field of 37 top drivers from the British F3 International Series and Formula 3 Euro Series, on Sunday 10 August. With Plowman’s Formula 3 Euro Series team RC Motorsport electing not to take part, the Tamworth driver raced with sister Volkswagen-powered team Signature Plus for the first time.
The 20 year-old got his first outing in the Signature Plus car during practice on Friday morning, which was also his first time at Zolder in a Formula 3 car. By the second session, Plowman had consistently improved to set an impressive 10th fastest time in wet conditions.
A dry day on Saturday, however, meant that Plowman experienced his first outing on a dry set-up in the Signature Plus Volkswagen in qualifying but managed 17th and 15th in the respective sessions. That left the Brit with a grid slot of 35th for the prestigious annual non-championship event, with regular Signature drivers Jean-Karl Vernay (FRA) qualifying 30th and Franck Mailleux (FRA) 36th.
Noted for his impressive starts Plowman did not disappoint for Sunday’s race, which started in wet conditions, to take five or so places in the opening laps. Despite battling on a dry set up, Plowey continued to pick up the pace to lie 20th on lap 15, by which point the track was beginning to dry, playing into Plowman’s favour.
It wasn’t long before Plowman was lapping on par with the leaders and improving his personal best time virtually lap after lap, a pace he did not relent until the chequered flag. Approaching the final stages of the 45-minute race, Plowman was up to 15th place and had reduced Henry Arundel’s (GBR) nine second advantage to just over six seconds when he set his fastest time on lap 25.
All the while, Arundel and Plowman were together catching 13th-placed Edoardo Mortara (ITA) and Arundel found a way past on lap 26. With just two laps remaining, the BRDC Rising Star followed suit and took Mortara at turn one on lap 27, to take the chequered flag on lap 29 in a respectable 14th place.
“I can hold my head up high after my first Masters of F3 race,” said Plowey. “To experience a steep learning curve in a car I’ve never driven before and finish 14th has given me a confidence boost. Like many others, I had a tricky qualifying session while also trying to learn the Signature Plus car in dry conditions. I got a good start and from there just kept pushing and, as the track dried, I was able to post lap times comparable with the leaders. The way things were going, if I had three more laps to play with, I am confident that I could have finished in the top ten.”