Geoff Uhrhane had a mixed campaign in the 2011 Dunlop MSA Formula Ford of Great Britain, the Australian showing strong pace throughout the year, however a host of bad luck restricted him to fifth in the championship. The Checkered Flag spoke with Uhrhane at the conclusion of the season to discuss his Formula Ford year and his Formula Renault UK debut.
Uhrhane headed into 2011 off the back of a strong 2010 campaign in Australian Formula Ford, where he took fifteen podiums in twenty-two races, including one win, on his way to second in the championship standings. Initially uncertain of where to continue his career, at the turn of the year Uhrhane made the decision to head over to the UK and race in the 'heart of motorsport'.
Uhrhane said: “I didn't really decide to come over until early this year, I was really uncertain on where to go after last year but I thought while I was still young and in the early stages of my career, it would be of best interests to come to the UK and have a go over here. It's the heart of motorsport, where there are so many good opportunities for young drivers with various different pathways.”
The decision to switch to the UK seemed to pay off as Uhrhane enjoyed a competitive 2011 season. The 20 year old ended fifth in the GB championship standings, with ten podiums including two wins, but with more mechanical reliability and some better luck, the Australian felt he could have finished much higher.
Geoff commented: “To be honest finishing fifth wasn't what I had expected especially after the first round, due to various mechanical issues and just general problems. Unfortunately it just didn't go my way this year, but that is racing, you take the good with the bad, it has been disappointing to have the speed to win but not be able to show it, but then again at least I have the speed to win.
“All the retirements definitely didn't help, especially when you're trying to fight for a championship .The reliability factor always plays in the back of your mind, which never helps and brings your confidence down, but I did my best to look beyond that and just focus on my driving.
“I wasn't as satisfied as I could be but it could have been a lot worse, I'm positive about next year I will have a good year and hopefully be in a championship challenging position.”
The Formula Ford GB season saw Scott Malvern totally dominate on his way to the 2011 title, the Jamun Racing driver taking eighteen wins in the twenty-four races. Uhrhane, running with the JTR team, felt Malvern wasn't unbeatable and is frustrated he couldn't have beaten him more often.
Uhrhane said: “I've been frustrated I haven't been able to challenge him more often and win more races, he wasn't unbeatable, it's just he had every little thing go his way that could of this year and in my favour I had no such luck, but in saying that you can't take anything away from Jamun and Scott.”
This season saw Uhrhane also compete in the new Formula Ford Eurocup, putting the GB runners up against the best Formula Ford racers in Europe on iconic circuits Spa Francorchamps, Zandvoort, Zolder and Brands Hatch. Uhrhane loved the experience, particularly enjoying taking a race win at the world famous Spa.
Uhrhane enthused: “The Eurocup was the highlight of the year for me, racing at the best tracks in the world and against the best drivers in your category there is. I definitely think they should continue to race over there next season because you just don't realise the experiences you get.
“Winning a race in that style was the highlight of my year, Spa is the best track I have ever driven on. All the corners are different and challenging let alone the speeds you reach. Eau Rouge is the best corner I have driven in my career so far and most challenging because it counts for so much of the lap.”
As the Formula Ford season drew to a close, Uhrhane made a guest appearance in the CERTINA Formula Renault 2.0 UK Championship at Brands Hatch, his first experience of 'slicks and wings' racing. Uhrhane found the step up to be a big one, taking two thirteenth place finishes in the races.
Uhrhane commented: “The experience was something different that's for sure, and my lack of time in the car definitely showed, as it's all about laps and time in the seat with wings and slicks. It was a bigger step than what I was expecting, not in straight line speed just on the entry speed into the corners, which is something I'm sure I will pick up with a few more test days. I have learnt a lot through my time in Formula Ford but now I have to step up to another level to continue on in my career and it's something I'm really looking forward to.”
Uhrhane, who comes from Gold Coast, Queensland, is now looking ahead to the winter and 2012. He will compete in the Formula Renault UK Winter Series in November, but has not yet decided what to compete in next year.
Uhrhane concluded: “I'm not too sure yet as I have a few different options so far. If I was to do Formula Renault it would only be in the Eurocup, for the winning prize they offer. I'm still not ruling out a move back to my home country Australia to race for next year, but I'll just have to wait and see what happens in the next couple of weeks. Until then I'm racing in the Formula Renault Winter Series with Atech and I'm really looking forward to that new challenge and step up.”