Hector Hurst says that a Formula Two campaign is amongst his possibilities for 2012 after a competitive debut test showing at Barcelona.
The Lymington-based driver contested both days of the test, and had a good first day, quickly getting the hang of the car and the Catalan circuit – despite an engine fire forcing him out of action for two of the day's four sessions.
“In F2 there are no teams, everyone runs under one roof,” said Hurst. “I was unsure of this at first, but as soon as we got testing I really liked it. It meant me and Kieren [Clark, driver coach] could work together the whole time and meant I only needed to do little work with my engineer as the base set up was not too far away from where I wanted the car to be.
“The first session on day one went as I wanted, I was able to relax, learn the track, get used to the car and most of all enjoy it. The car and the track were surprisingly easy to get used to and I felt like I had been driving both for ages. Then the engine set itself on fire and I had to sit out the next two sessions, though I got out for the final one. We decided that even though we had only done sixteen laps in total, we would go straight for a new tyre run.
“The final session of each day is run like a qualifying session, so you are allowed to use your eight boosts in it. On lap three I got under the pole time from the race meeting previously, which was a nice end to the day considering out limited mileage.”
His laptime gave him the eighth quickest time of the afternoon – and put him 11th overall at the end of the day.
After doing setup work during the morning of the second day, Hurst shone in the third session of the day by posting the third quickest time – just two tenths shy of 2011 F2 runner-up Christopher Zanella. An error in the final session of the test left him down in 13th overall.
“The next day we spent the morning playing a little with the set up and saving tyres, before we went for a time in both afternoon sessions. In the first session in the afternoon, I ended up third, 0.2 seconds off first, which was okay as I knew immediately where the time was.
“In the final session I did a few laps on old tyres then came in for our final set of new rubber. Your key lap was vital for two reasons, you used five of your eight boosts on it and because tyres went off extremely fast, so you only had one go at getting P1.
“I set up the lap well and it was going nicely until the last corner, where I met a slow car. I knew I would not have another chance at P1, so I kept it flat around the outside, where I was greeted by all the marbles in the world and eventually the gravel trap.
“Although frustrating not to have the time, it was okay because we still had the data for almost a full lap and due to the unique way F2 is run, I could compare it to the eventual P1 lap and find that mine was quite favorable which was promising. As on both days, we were either forced to or chose to do our new tyre runs in the afternoon, when the track was up to two seconds slower than the morning, our overall positions don't appear amazing, however I know otherwise and that's fine. The car was very enjoyable to drive, very comparable to the feel of a BARC Formula Renault, but with much more grip and power. It was a very useful two days.”
After making a strong debut in Formula Renault UK in the Finals Series, Hurst had been looking towards a campaign in the Eurocup in 2012, but a lack of testing has left him looking at alternatives – including F2.
“The way our off season has panned out meant that we didn't have the time to fit in enough testing to make winning the Eurocup the likely outcome of a campaign. Therefore my management wanted to see what would happen if they threw me in at the deep end with this test and the result was good. I now need to sit down with my manager to discuss our plans for 2012 and after the tests; F2 will be on our discussion list.”