Reigning BRDC Formula 4 champion Jake Hughes has race wins in his sights as he prepares for the opening rounds of his maiden Formula Renault 2.0 Northern European Cup campaign at Monza this weekend (12/13 April).
The 19 year old has completed an intensive pre-season testing programme with Mark Burdett Motorsport over recent months, including two official FR NEC tests at Hockenheim and Assen.
Hughes is now set to embark on his European racing debut in only his second season of car-racing, and the Birmingham-based racer is feeling confident of challenging at the front after some positive running.
“We’re looking good. The aim has been to test on as many as possible of the tracks we’ll be racing on,” said Hughes.
“We’ve done a lot of mileage. Much of it was on the old tyres before we got the new construction of Michelins at the official tests. That meant that we had to work on finalising the set-up of the car for the new tyres, but at least I got experience of the circuits on the older rubber.
“At Hockenheim we were purely working on understanding how the car reacts on the new tyres, but we took what we learned and went fastest on the first day at Assen, so overall it looks very promising.”
Hughes is particularly looking forward to competing at Monza, the home of the Italian Grand Prix. As well as fighting his NEC rivals, the weekend will give Hughes the chance to pit himself against a number of contenders from the FR Eurocup, who will be using the weekend as a warm-up before their main campaign begins later this month.
“I loved the track!” he enthused. “I think it’s just going to grow on me more and more – it’s completely different to anything I’ve ever driven in England. We’ve been very quick there in both the wet and the dry, and I’m sure that the NEC runners will be mixing it at the front with the Eurocup boys.”
After Monza, the NEC circus heads to Hughes’ only home race of the year at Silverstone in May 24/25, before visiting Hockenheim, Spa, Assen, Most and the Nurburging.
Alongside his NEC exploits, Hughes is also planning a couple of ‘wildcard’ appearances in the Eurocup at Spa and Nurburgring, both times to gain extra knowledge of the circuits ahead of his visits with the NEC.