Jamie Chadwick hailed her first Formula Ford 1600 experience as “mega” after making her debut with Graham Brunton Racing at the Walter Hayes Trophy last weekend.
The 19-year-old, who raced for Double R in this season’s BRDC British Formula 3 Championship, secured a late deal with Scottish FF1600’s leading team to take part in the Silverstone meeting.
Chadwick scored an impressive third place in her heat behind Jordan Dempsey and Joey Foster, after qualifying fourth.
The Bath local made it to the final on Sunday, but engine issues – a stall on the dummy grid and a misfire during the race – meant she finished last of the classified runners.
Nonetheless, Chadwick was content with her performance over the weekend, despite limited time in the Ray GR15 car previously driven in the Walter Hayes by Bas Leinders in 2016.
“I’ve had a great time this weekend, both in the car and out of it. The team has been really welcoming and I’ve had a lot of fun,” Chadwick said.
“Formula Ford racing is so much different to what I’m used to in F3. I’m used to a lot of aero and downforce, whereas here it’s the complete opposite.
“Even in eight laps in my heat, there was more racing than I’ve had all year!
“It’s just a shame the final ended the way it did. I sat on the grid with virtually no revs. It was dipping below 1000rpm then it just died. Then once I got going I had a misfire and couldn’t catch anyone up.”
Chadwick’s performance was perhaps made all the more impressive considering the lateness of the deal, which was concluded a mere 24 hours before official testing began and came about via social media.
“I just sent out a tweet saying something like: ‘oh that’s my season over, I’ve nothing to do now’, and then suddenly I got a lot of people replying to me,” said Chadwick.
“So I had a think about it and asked Jonny Adam, who I know, for advice.
“He told me he wanted to do Walter Hayes but couldn’t because he was going to be in Shanghai [competing for Aston Martin in the World Endurance Championship].
“But he put me in contact with Graham [Brunton] and we sorted out the drive.”
GBR team boss Brunton was equally satisfied with Chadwick’s FF1600 debut.
“I’ve been really impressed by Jamie this whole week,” he said.
“I think it takes a certain amount of guts for someone like that, who’s in F3, to take the step down to FF1600.
“But she’s proven that she can be competitive straight out of the box, and I hope that encourages more drivers to do the same in the future.”
While she was quick to get to grips with a new discipline, Chadwick admitted to struggling with the abundance of Scottish accents in the GBR garage over the course of the weekend.
“It’s been a really good weekend, but I’ve spent much of it barely understanding a word to be honest!” she joked.