Howard Fuller - Hillspeed, ZandvoortReigning Protyre Formula Renault BARC champion squad Hillspeed is eyeing a potential expansion into the Formula Renault 2.0 Northern European Cup for 2012 after a successful debut at Zandvoort over the weekend, 13th/14th August, during the RTL GP Masters of Formula 3 support event.

Travelling to The Netherlands with all three of its regular BARC drivers, Howard Fuller, Zaamin Jaffer and Sean Walkinshaw, the Derbyshire team managed to outpace and out-perform a large number of category regulars.

Both races were affected by dreadful weather but it proved no barrier to Hillspeed’s trio – especially Walkinshaw for whom it marked his maiden run in the wet. In the first encounter on Saturday, Fuller climbed from 21st on the grid into an excellent 15th place finish before bettering that in race two by rising from 19th position into a superb 13th place – just 0.2 seconds shy of the top 12 at the flag.

Indian racer Jaffer qualified within 0.3 seconds of his team-mate to secure a place alongside Fuller on the 11th row of the grid for race one. Ending the opener 20th overall, Jaffer too had his strongest run in the second encounter when he scythed his way through fantastically into 14th position from the back of the grid – his lower than expected grid slot caused by an unfortunate excursion in second qualifying.

Car racing rookie Walkinshaw faced, by far, the toughest test of his maiden season in single-seaters but he gave a very good account of himself by finishing 22nd in the opener and a much improved 18th in race two. With it being the teenager’s maiden experience of a Formula Renault in wet conditions, his double finish was all the more impressive on his Zandvoort debut.

Making the most of the opportunity to enjoy some additional running as an invitational entry in the latest round of Formula Renault 2.0 NEC, Hillspeed is now seriously considering a full-time entry into the increasingly popular championship.

Team principal Richard Ollerenshaw said: “We’ve had an exceptional few days at Zandvoort, the NEC is a fantastic championship and a very attractive option for Hillspeed as we look ahead to next year and the opportunities available to us.

“Howard, Zaamin and Sean all did a great job this weekend and we’re delighted with the level of performance we were able to show. At this stage NEC is definitely on our radar for 2012, Zandvoort has been a great experience for us and we’d certainly like to hear from drivers considering the championship as an option for next year.”

Hillspeed’s single-seater trio will return to action in the Protyre Formula Renault BARC Championship three weeks from now on Saturday, 3rd September, at Thruxton Circuit in Hampshire. On the very same weekend, the team’s Ginetta Junior squad will travel to Knockhill in Scotland for the 13th and 14th rounds of its championship season.

Photo by Chris Schotanus / Essay Produkties