Archie Hamilton is looking to “win as many races as possible” on his return to the Formula Renault BARC Championship this season. The 20 year old student competed in the series in 2009, finishing ninth, and enters 2011 as one of the early championship favourites. TCF caught up with the Fortec Motorsport driver to see how testing has gone and find out his hopes for the season ahead.
With ambitions to compete in endurance sportscar racing in the future, Hamilton competed in the Porsche Carrera Cup GB, Britcar and British GT series during 2010, but found himself to be lacking the budget necessary to move up to the Le Mans Series. This meant he decided to move back to the single seater series, as it offered him the maximum track time available for his budget.
Once the decision was made to join the series, Hamilton began a long testing schedule with positive results: “Testing has gone really well. I was at Antel Motorsport, but Fortec then offered me there experience and they are the best at this level so I took the chance. We have been the pace setters everywhere we have been, in official testing I have never been below 2nd quickest so it's very encouraging.”
At the first official series pre-season test at Croft in early March, the Duncan Hamilton & Co Ltd-backed driver finished day one just 0.076s off the top, before dominating day two, finishing over half a second ahead of his closest rival. At the official series Media Day and Test at Silverstone ten days later, he impressed again, finishing second fastest, just 0.3s off the pace.
The Hampshire-based driver's success in testing means he has clear aims for the season ahead: “The ultimate goal is to win the championship, but it's a long season. I just want to win as many races as possible and score a lot of podiums.”
With the series attracting over twenty cars to the grid, this season is set to be one of the most competitive for many years, with Hamilton already eyeing up a couple of drivers he can see his main competition coming from: “My main rivals will be Dino Zamparelli and Josh Webster, they have both been in the championship before and are quick drivers. I’m looking forward to a close battle with them!”
Like Zamparelli and Webster, Hamilton goes into 2011 with previous experience in the championship, which he feels will give him a slight edge over some of his competitors: “Obviously a year in the championship in 2009 means I have been through the qualifying process before, and race starts etc. It also means my race pace is strong too and this will be a strong factor for us.”
Hamilton holds aspirations of taking part and winning the iconic Le Mans 24 Hour race in the future and believes his time in Formula Renault will help him towards this dream: “My goal has always been to reach Le Mans to emulate my Grandfather Duncan’s success. Formula Renault is a great step for this as the driving style is similar to the LMP2 car, though obviously just nowhere near as fast! I’m hoping to race at Le Mans soon, we are working on a few deals and there’s a very strong chance you’ll see me in the Le Mans Series this season!”
Throughout the season, Archie will be keeping you updated with his progress with his TCF Blog.