|Record breaking Winslow headed for NASCAR|
DRIVER UPDATE : Formula V6 Asia : James Winslow
British racing driver James Winslow, who has already shown his versatility behind the wheel, is set to add another discipline to his résumé after inking a deal to contest the new NASCAR Europe series with Team FJ.
Having already had a brief racing spell in America, Winslow has returned to the Australian F3 Championship to chase a title series he won in 2008, and is already resetting series’ records in a fruitful partnership with R-Tek Motorsport.
Having dominated the opening rounds supporting the Clipsal 500 in Adelaide, where he claimed pole position and took three wins to break the all-time Australian F3 victory record, Winslow and R-Tek continued to set the pace at Symmons Plains in Tasmania, claiming another three wins along with a new lap record.
The six-victory start to the season was officially the most dominant start ever made to an Australian F3 season, but Winslow wasn’t about to start playing safe, particularly as the series made a famous debut at the Mount Panorama circuit at Bathurst. Although he went fastest in practice to establish an initial lap record benchmark, an electrical problem costing eight-tenths of a second denied the Briton a shot at pole position. Contact from another driver bent the rear wing and caused the R-Tek machine to fail post-session scrutineering, demoting Winslow to the rear of the grid despite the two-millimetre ‘modification’ not enhancing the car’s performance.
Undeterred, the multi-discipline champion set about proving a point by carving through the field in the weekend’s opening race, picking off his rivals one by one until he reached second place. Although time ran out before he could take the final spot he needed for another victory, Winslow’s drive was sufficiently fast to reset the outright lap record. From the front of the grid thereafter, he duly recorded another brace of victories, dominating race two and pulling enough of a gap in the third outing that he could cruise to the finish.
Eight wins from nine races have given Winslow a massive 42-point lead heading to round four at Darwin’s Hidden Valley Raceway in the middle of June. The run of success has also kept the Briton at the head of the prestigious BRDC Gold Star points table, ahead of such luminaries as F1 drivers Mark Webber, Jenson Button and Lewis Hamilton and World Touring Car Championship frontrunner Rob Huff.
“What a start to the season!” he enthused. “Winning eight races from the first nine, and only breaking the sweep through a penalty, is just unreal - we wouldn't have been able to plan this. The R-Tek team is doing such an unbelievable job this season, we can win races even with minor problems. That's a true winning team right there!”
The Briton has not just confined his winning ways to single-seaters, having also found the top step of the podium in GT and sportscars. His most recent victories came with the works West team in Australia’s new Sports Racer series for prototypes, which he currently leads overall, and takes his record for the season to twelve wins and two second places in 14 races in 2012.
With almost exactly two months until his next F3 engagement, however, Winslow’s attention will turn to his latest motorsport adventure, in the new NASCAR Europe series that could provide a stepping stone back to the United States.
With the champion landing a deal to race in one of the NASCAR disciplines in the USA in 2013, Winslow is hoping that his deal with Team FJ can replicate his success ‘down under’. Using stock-block V8-powered replicas of the behemoths used across the NASCAR spectrum, the series is on a par with the entry level class in America, and has been welcomed into the wider NASCAR fold as a step to the top flight Sprint Cup and Nationwide series.
Winslow has already had a chance to test one of the French-administered series’ cars at Brands Hatch and cannot wait to get started in a field that could number as many as 30 cars by the time he debuts in round two at the same circuit.
“I'm very happy to join the NASCAR series in Europe” he admitted. “It's going to be a very different discipline to what I have been used to, but I'm sure we will be battling for race wins from the start.”
Winslow will join the NASCAR Europe fray when the championship returns to Brands Hatch in support of the DTM touring car series over the weekend of 19-20 May.
Prepared by www.jameswinslow.com
Photo by Nathan Wong of www.speedshots.com.au