But there’s a big prize for the top student
Bloemfontein racing sensation Stuart White is back in Europe this week as he takes to Circuit Paul Ricard as one of 18 drivers honoured to participate in the Winfield Racing School, one of whom will win a full race seat in the 2018 French Formula 4 Championship. White, who raced and won in that series last year, is delighted to just benefit from all he will learn in the three-day school that has launched the careers of the likes of Alain Prost, Damon Hill, Jean Alesi to name but a few famous F1 careers launched by the school.
“I am so stoked to be at the Winfield Racing School,” Stuart admitted. “It’s three days of hard work with the chance of winning a full season driving in the French Formula 4 championship at the same time as learning at the most famous driving school in the world — I am one of 18 drivers chasing the dream from nine countries, but there will only be one winner!”
“Tuesday was the second day, where we spent the day on track in Winfield Formula 4 cars and I enjoyed every moment of it — we were being trained at the same time as competing against each other as we chase the 2018 Volant Winfield - part of which prize is that French Formula 4 drive this year.”
Stuart enjoyed a great week in France, impressing in the off-track disciplines and starring on track to easily move into the top three shootout against Frenchman Pierre-Louis Chovet and Brazilian Caio Collet, where he once again impressed, regularly improving his best lap time only to be beaten by Collet by just 0.06 seconds over six laps.
The judges admitted that their decision was exceptionally difficulty, especially as White and Collet both benefited from the best marks for the off-track evaluations, with 15 year old Collet's lesser age eventually tipping the scales. "It was pretty hard to lose out on the prize drive, but it's in good hands - Caio is a great driver and he will dor the school proud," Stuart concluded. "I will still be racing in the Formula 1600 championship back home - we will be giving that our all this year and I look forward to racing in front of my South African fans in 2018."
The Winfield Race School was run by a group of experts in the various fields of motorsport, who on Monday mentored the drivers on all aspects of a professional racer’s job, including modules by the likes of Alfa Romeo Sauber F1 Team Senior Race Engineer Julien Simon-Chautemps and Pirelli F1 engineer Gregory Thomas, physical and mental guru Florent Audat and Laurent Sauriat, an expert in mental techniques for fighter pilots in the French Special Air Force.
Tuesday saw candidates take to the track in new Winfield F4 Mygale-Renaults prepared to guarantee a level playing field between all candidates through four practice sessions followed by individual debriefs, video analysis and data acquisition focussed on areas for improvement. Valentine’s Day was a special one with qualifying sessions in the morning before three finalists were selected by a jury of motorsport personalities and sent out for flying laps on new tyres, with the driver who best impressed the judges winning that prize drive…