Elliott Budzinski: In pursuit of a championship in British FF
Last time I sent out an update I had just arrived in the UK and had just one test day in the car with my Ammonite Motorsport team. I’ve now been living here for two months and have finally had some time to just take everything in. I can honestly say that it has been everything and more than I’d expected.
While certainly every day hasn’t been the most exciting, it has been a nice change to be able to settle into a daily rhythm. I’m well into my training schedule at the local gym, and have enjoyed adding swimming into my routine. I find it nice to be able to switch off for a week and just enjoy this wild experience, however exciting or simple the day may be. I’ve spoken about this previously, but one thing that I struggled with last time was having solid ground to fall back on. Being able to have those breaks away from the rush of the world of motorsports at a place I can call “home” is certainly helping me come back more refreshed, ready to give it my all and keep pushing for more.
As I’ve been living in Brackley, one benefit of this wonderful town is I’m a short drive from Silverstone Circuit, 15 minutes to be exact. There’s always something going on there, maybe an old Formula 1 car testing, a vintage track day, or any number of interesting things to get a look at. Luckily, I’ve been able to take some trips to watch what’s going on for the day, which most recently took me to the opening round of the Bennetts British Superbikes. I can honestly say that it is unlike anything I’ve experienced. I’m not quite sure what I was expecting but certainly it wasn’t that! The violence and speed of them at 200 mph+ is something I don’t think I’ve ever seen in a car — insanely impressive to watch and hard to imagine doing it in a completely open environment.
On to what I’m really here for, the National Formula Ford Championship. The Ammonite team and I kicked off at Oulton Park April 20-21. At the end of testing things were looking very positive. We felt we had a very good car and had the possibility of a really good result. Qualifying Saturday morning I had a shoddy session and we missed a bit on setup. Come the checkered flag I was sixth, and 0.3s back. Oulton is a tight track and very difficult to pass, but I put my head down and managed to move up one position in the first race, while in Race 2 I managed to get another two spots to get onto the podium with a third-place finish.
Objectively P5 and P3 was a good points haul to start off the season. While admittedly I’m not the happiest with my first round of the National Championship I think there are a lot of positives, and I know the team is working hard with me to move a couple spots up the podium for the next Championship round. I have certainly learned a lot to take to Round 2 at Snetterton coming up May 27-28.
For now, I have a break to go be a spectator and explore some more of England and maybe even Europe. I’ll be at the British GT race at Silverstone this weekend and can’t wait to watch the great racing and cheer on some former Team USA Scholarship drivers. I can’t end this without saying a huge thank you to the people making this possible, Doug Mockett & Company, Ammonite Motorsport, MPG Motorsports, Team USA Scholarship, and of course my parents, family and friends and everyone that supports me.
Until the next time.