Hi everyone! Jackie Ding here again. For those who missed my first entry for Formula1Blog, I am an 18-year-old Chinese boy driving for Group-A Racing in the upcoming 2016 SCCA Pro Pirelli Formula Lites series. A couple of weeks ago, we completed our first 3-day preseason test, and I am happy to report that despite a number of changes, everything is in order. In other words, get ready for things to come.
Let’s start with the biggest change of them all: the car. Yes, it’s still much of the same Formula Lites FL15 that we ended the year with, but someone must had been hard (and I mean HARD) at work over the long winter/spring off-season because our current K24 engine has received a major remap. The result is a lot more horsepower. Over eighty of them, in fact. As we speed lovers know, when it comes to power, more is always better, but hold on for a second. If you give a GP3 car a lot more power, it could go as fast as a GP2 car on the straights, but through the corners, the rest of the package simply wouldn’t be up to task to handle that extra power. This leads to my next point about the upgraded FL15: somehow, it drives even better than it did last year. On the straights, it would easily blow past our previous top speeds, far beyond the 140 MPH mark, and continue to pull as if there’s no drag holding it back. But in the corners, even though suspension-wise nothing had been changed, the FL15 feels more agile, more responsive, more like a ballerina, tiptoeing her way along the absolute edge of the racing line. Once the FL15 gets to the apex, it then settles and fires out of the corner like a bolt of lightning while I, the lucky occupant, cling on to the steering wheel for dear life. Third, Fourth, Fifth, up to Sixth Gear, then another corner comes around and the fun begins all over again! Addicting? Oh yes. If you’re still not convinced, I have just the video for you to enjoy.
That said, I have to thank Group-A Racing for their hard work throughout the three days and 200+ laps of testing to ensure everything goes as smoothly as it did. I thoroughly believe we are the best team on the grid with the best engineers, but whether we have the best driver, that’ll be up to me to prove.
What else has changed? Well, the schedule. Unfortunately, the series decided it was best for everyone to receive the update rather than trying to rush it through, so their decision was to move the first couple of races around, so that the season will now begin somewhere around August. Yes, that’s not ideal, but then again, we will still get a full 16-race season and the schedule change gives everyone (specifically me) to prepare for the tough fight that will inevitably come. More testing please!
For now, that’s all I have to share with you all! For more updates between now and the first race, follow me on Facebook (TeamJackieD Racing), Twitter (@Jackie_J_Ding), Instagram (@JackieJDing), and YouTube (Jackie Ding).
Editor’s note: Jackie will be reporting on his progress with Group-A Racing in the SCCA Pro Pirelli Formula Lites Championship Series throughout the year. Check back often to see how his quest for the series title is going through the year. You can follow the team and the series through the following websites and social media outlets.
SCCA Pro Pirelli Formula Lites Championship Series: