AT SILVERSTONE NATIONALHuddersfield’s Lee Dwyer made a dramatic impact on the established Formula Renault UK order during his maiden category test session with the Hillspeed team at Silverstone National Circuit, Tuesday, 24th March – the series rookie posting the fifth fastest time overall
Joining the Hathersage team’s regular Formula Renault UK driver Menasheh Idafar and 2007 Winter Champion Richard Singleton at the opening day of the final official test of the pre-season, 18-year-old Dwyer was in simply breathtaking form as he produced a career best effort to get among the pre-season title favourites.
Lapping with a quickest time of 54.090 seconds (109.08mph) during the fourth session, the former Formula Renault BARC competitor concluded the test just 0.282 seconds shy of the outright pace and he was also the fastest of the ‘Graduate Cup’ runners – a championship within a championship for young category newcomers.
Inside the top 10 throughout the day, Dwyer was never more than six 10ths of a second away from the outright pace. All in all, his first outing with the front-running Hillspeed squad proved to be a dream outing for both driver and team.
“It’s been a fantastic day for the whole team and a dream outing for Lee who performed superbly well”, said delighted Hillspeed team boss Richard Ollerenshaw, “We were always confident he would be strong today on the National Circuit but I think he surprised a lot of people here. To end up just a couple of 10ths of a second away from the top of the times speaks for itself, we’re all delighted.”
For 18-year-old Idafar, Silverstone National Circuit was also a very happy hunting ground as he lapped with the eighth quickest time overall of 54.245 seconds (108.77mph) to end the day just four 10ths of a second away from the top of the timesheets.
The British-born Bahraini was also the third fastest Graduate Cup runner to underline the great progress he has made during the official pre-season over the course of the last four weeks.
Singleton, who is still yet to decide his racing plans for 2009, joined back up with the Derbyshire team for the two sessions after lunch and using old tyres he managed to produce a quickest time of 54.654 seconds (107.95mph). With the benefit of new rubber on his car, the Welshman could realistically have made it all three Hillspeed cars inside the top eight.
Ollerenshaw added: “I’ve been absolutely delighted with the effort of all three drivers. Obviously Lee’s performance was special but Menasheh wasn’t far away at all and he certainly proved the work we’ve been doing over the last month is now paying off. We’ve come a long way and he’s certainly improving as a driver all the time, his true pace is there for everyone to see.
“Richard just completed the two afternoon sessions and ran on old tyres the whole time. Even so, he was lapping just four 10ths of a second outside the top eight and with fresh rubber on the car there’s no question he’d have been a candidate for a top six placing. We hope he’ll be back out in the car on the Grand Prix layout tomorrow as he has good experience of the full track.”
Silverstone’s full Grand Prix Circuit will host the second day of the final official Formula Renault UK test of the pre-season tomorrow, Wednesday, 25th March. Idafar and Dwyer will both be taking part in the test with the likelihood Singleton will also join them.