After learning about Wexford-based up-and-comer Kris Wright, I've decided to work on an extended series covering the driver in and out of his race car. Catch up on the series here.
Wright's first weekend racing Formula 3 in England wasn't a debut that lived up to his success at the LMP3 or LMP2 level last season, or the start of this one respectively. But, that's not a knock on the driver himself. As Wright told me again and again after that weekend at Oulton Park, he's got a lot of ground to make up against a field of drivers who are more experienced in both British racing and with the cars they control.
Wright's goal isn't to "catch up" in a literal sense, in the standings. He's certainly not opposed to winning the series, but that's not the goal at the moment.
"I'm so far behind everybody else," Wright said. "They've been on these tracks for years, and years and years and this is my first rodeo. I'm just trying to play catch up."
Again, this wasn't something new. We talked very similarly just a month ago, but there was something different about this conversation. The car issues have been sorted, Wright's optimistic heading into a weekend of racing instead of coming out of the weekend analyzing what went wrong -- it just had a different feel.
This was just more matter-of-fact: Wright has ground to make up. He knows it. No excuses.
"The leaders are a full second ahead of me," Wright told me of the gap he needs to close. "Just have to focus on me. Focus on the car. I've never driven on these tires before and they're totally different than the Michelins at Daytona or the Continentals I drove last year."
Those tires are softer, provide more grip, feel on the road. The tires Wright's driving on in Britain are harder in compound, but also harder to get a feel for how the respond to you as a driver.
"You have to trust it more than you're used to," he went on. "We're getting there a quarter of a second by a quarter of a second ... Just chipping away at the time ever so slightly. It's a whole season, we've got a while."
Wright's next chance to "chip away" comes today and tomorrow when he races the Snetterton 300 as part of the Fortec Motorsports team. He's been there for a week now with two days of practice behind him, one official one Friday, and some extra driving time doing some testing in the car.
I'll catch up with him again after he returns stateside, and I'll be back with a recap of his time at Snetterton.