Michael Eastwell spent the recent weekend competing in the Walter Hayes Trophy. The Formula Ford driver was making his second appearance at the event, though with the help of the Kevin Mills Racing team had a secondary aim also in mind.
Eastwell was running Cancer Research UK logos on his car having already been an active fundraiser this season. The Checkered Flag asked about his season so far, the plans he had for 2018 as well as the connection that has led to him raising £1500 for a cause that many, including myself, have been affected by.
“It would be mega to win!” started Eastwell. “I stood on the podium here in August [at the Silverstone FF1600 National round.] I went from tenth to second that race. You just don’t know, but that was my first podium in cars.”
He made his racing debut at the WHT last year, finishing thirty-seventh in a field of 109. Jumping into the Spectrum 011 he has made an impact with an unusual branding on the car.
“We’ve been doing some work to fundraise for Cancer research. My mum had breast cancer twice, my best friends mum passed away a couple of years ago after losing the battle with lung cancer, so it’s something that sits very strongly with me.
“I wanted to do something good, to be honest it was nice to make a theme out of it on the car and raise a bit of awareness. We’d taken the car to Beaulieu and it’ll be an ongoing thing for years to come as I continue to fundraise for Cancer Research UK.
“I’ve got a few events planned for next year which I’m in the process of organising at the moment, so I look forward to announcing that at some point next year.”
After a year in the National Formula Ford 1600 Championship and the Castle Combe 1600 Championship, Eastwell and his Spectrum 011 arrived back at Silverstone with great expectations.
“It’s been good so far, we didn’t do so well in qualifying, but the heat race went much better, we went from eighth to fourth and had the fastest lap, so a really positive way to end the day yesterday.” he said during the chilly Sunday morning.
He knew he wasn’t against rookies though, with the young driver relishing the chance to prove himself against much more experienced competition.
“I’m enjoying it really and I’m learning all the time. That was half the reason for getting into Formula Ford, because the standard is so high, you’re up against guys who might have been doing it 10-15 years or more in some cases.
“Having Michael Moyers in the team is just great, when we’re comparing data or out together on the track I learn a great deal from him and at the end of the day that brings me on. We’ve already shown this year we can compete with the guys at the front, but I’m still learning all the time.”
Having come so close in previous years, Moyers would go on to win the WHT after a dramatic final lap overtake. Eastwell meanwhile ran into problem in the early laps, but still recovered to finish tenth in the Final.
He described Formula Ford as a “no-brainer” when looking for 2017, but in the future, does not see his path purely within the UK.
“It’s a great category to learn in and it was always going to be a two-year plan from the start. We’re probably going to do the British Nationals next year, that’s the plan. We’ll campaign that a little more aggressively. From there its electric racing, that’s what I’m looking towards, but next year it’s all about Formula Ford’s again.”
It may be some years off, but the Southampton driver has started his ascension at an early age, already finding friends within the Formula E paddock.
“In the background I’m working all the time to try to make connections, it’s all about networking at the end of the day. I’m trying to get to know people, show my face in the paddock. I’ll be going to the Hong Kong ePrix in the next month and it’s all about networking and saying, ‘I’m here, I’m interested’ and at some stage, ‘please give me a chance’.”
He’s recently been given the opportunity to test a car ahead of the developing Electric GT Championship, though admits that even he does not know the extent to which his test drive could lead to a full-time seat.
“Got something going on with the Electric GT series, I signed something in the last couple of weeks which would give me a test. I don’t know until I go over how much of a test that is. Time will tell.
“Even if it doesn’t develop [into something] it’s all about making people aware that its your ambition, passion, and at the end of the day, someone’s got to break into it.”
As the new developing industry within motor racing, Michael’s electric racing ambitions could yet open doors, but his solid result at Walter Hayes will ensure he’ll be a force to reckon with as the 2018 National Formula Ford 1600 series rolls around.
TCF wishes him luck as looks to build upon his success in 2018.