Circuit Ricardo Tormo, Valencia
4th-7th May 2023
May marks the beginning of a new journey for our sponsored athlete Jack Davidson. Previously racing in the QUAIFE Mini Challenge, Jack has taken a big step into Europe for 2023 to compete in the Euro Nascar Championship.
Round 1 was a trip to Valencia, Spain to compete around Circuit Ricardo Tormo and it would be only Jack’s second time in the car, EVER!
Our journey started with a 6am wake-up for the trip to Prestwick Airport. Chris arrived first, followed an hour later by Joshua after he may have gone to Glasgow Airport instead…
"The mission: to follow Jack on his journey through Euro NASCAR"
By the time check-in & security was complete, it was time for breakfast at the delicious Par + Eagle bar then boarding for the flight! 3 hours in the air and we landed in Alicante. A short drive up to Valencia in our hired car from Wiber, a Burgundy Red Opel Crossland, capturing the Spanish countryside as we pass through. The anticipation starts to grow as we get closer. Thursday is an open practice day and our time of arrival coincided with the final open practice of the afternoon.
We checked in to the hotel then went to our room to understand what our situation would be for the weekend. When we opened the window, we were treated to the delight of V8 engines roaring in the near distance from the ongoing practice session.
In the evening, we drove over to the track to meet the team and prepare the first steps of our documentary. The mission: to follow Jack on his journey through Euro NASCAR. This turned out to be a productive evening, getting pitlane and track walk interviews as well as sorting our press pass access for the weekend ahead.
Another early rise was required for the team. The plus side of this, being treated to a beautiful Spanish sunrise. With a long day ahead we fuelled up with a delicious breakfast & set on our way to the track
In the morning, we followed Jack around for several important meetings that provided us with great insight into the expectations that the event has for drivers. The professionalism to run the event & the openness in which NASCAR expresses the desire for Drivers to mingle and engage with track spectators is clear to see. This included a Spotters & Rookie Drivers Briefing and a general Drivers, Managers & Spotters Briefing.
It provided us with a sneak peak into the upcoming weekend and built up some anticipation ahead of the practice sessions.
It was then back to the garage where we arrived for Practice 1 & 2. Jack and the team had a hard time finding a balance that he was happy with for the car setup, always fighting both ends whilst trying to push the limits. This was an issue that Jack would struggle with heading into the first race of the season. Clearly frustrated, Jack was talking back and forth with his engineers, mechanics and strategists to try to convey his issues with the aims of resolving the problems faced.
As practice reached the end for Friday, it was clear that the car was heading in the right direction but still a long way off what Jack was ultimately wanting. A long night of work awaited the mechanics as they aimed to try and correct what issues he faced.
Between practice sessions, Jack had his official EuroNASCAR Drivers Photoshoot. This gave him a fantastic opportunity to meet people behind the scenes of the championship and develop friendly relations in the process.
The final task of the night was to sit down with Jack and chat about the practice, and what he was expecting ahead of qualifying. He had a deep conversation with team manager, Chris, that included some fascinating insights into Jack's mentality heading into the Qualifying ahead.
Clearly tired, Jack & the family set off from track around 9:30pm to unwind ahead of a big Saturday.
Wakey Wakey! Qualifying Day & Round 1 of the championship.
Qualifying Day started off with a quick supermarket trip on the way to track. This, however, didn’t go to plan as our main supermarket was closed. As a result, we had to find another shop to fuel up ahead of the day at the track.
Nonetheless, we got what we required as well as some great video footage of the trip. When we arrived at the track we got to sit in with Jack in his Pre-Practice meeting with his engineer to go over things like racing lines, braking points etc.
As mid-morning quickly arrived, Jack set off onto track for his first ever official EuroNASCAR 2 qualifying. There was excitement in the air and Joshua & Chris got to work setting off around the track to capture footage of Jack roaring around the circuit. It was a session that showcased Jack’s potential however, a mistake with track limits on a hotlap meant his fastest lap was invalidated.
This small mistake put Jack in a starting position for the weekend of P14. With a lot of ground to make up, a plan was set to go aggressive on the start to try to gain positions
It would be another 6 & a half hours until Jack would be on the grid for his first EuroNASCAR 2 race, so what better way to pass some time than to have some lunch? We sat down with Jack for some food, Chris & Joshua opted for burritos with Jack going for a pizza. This in itself however created a little buzz for the pizza stand, who had never had a driver come for food at the circuit. This gave Jack his moment in the limelight and he duly obliged by taking some photos with the staff. The pizza must have been great with Jack giving it a raving 10/10!
In the run-up to Round 1 we watched a lot of the support races. Jack spoke with some fans, took part in the EuroNASCAR Pro Grid Walk & sat witness to multiple strategy meetings with race engineer Marcelo.
There was also a welcome few hours of rest for us to take in the event, the atmosphere and in general the opportunity we had in front of us.
Roll around Race 1, it was time for Jack's Grid Walk! Jack got his moment on the grid giving us a great opportunity to capture ontrack images ahead of the live action beginning. When it all began…Jack got an explosive start! 5 positions gained in his first few corners putting him up to P9. This was going to be a position he valiantly battled to keep for several laps until on Lap 5 Jack unfortunately got heavily hit off the track at turn 8 by car number 9 (Caso).
From this incident Jack dropped back to P15, recovering to finish the race P11 after penalties were applied through-out the field. Importantly for the Rookie championship, he recovered to finish 3rd Place in class, giving him his first ever EuroNASCAR podium!
The podium was a deserved one. After leading the Rookie class in those early stages before the incident. This was Jack's time to go up to the podium and despite being very frustrated at the missed points and missing out on winning the Rookie class race, he put a smile on, soaked in the atmosphere and lived in the moment, showing clear joy and realisation as to where he was standing.
Moving through the rest of the afternoon into evening, Jack was signing autographs, taking photos and debriefing with ourselves & the race team as to how things went.
Not only this but Jack’s Spotter, Simon, and Dad, John, sat down with the mechanics team to resolve an ongoing issue around how the car is set up. The team managed to come to an understanding that allowed them to speak about car setup on the same wavelength, leading to a breakthrough on Sunday!
Our night ended with a trip to a nearby restaurant at the Hotel Restaurante La Carreta, where we filled our bellies with some delicious grub, travelled back to the hotel to start packing our bags for check-out in the morning and recharging the batteries and packs we needed for the final day of the event.
Final day in Valencia, and now Round 2 of the championship
We picked Jack up for some Carpool Karaoke, however the initial conversation turned into a more casual drive and chat about the weekend, how it has gone and what Jack's approach for the day would be.
The morning at track was a busy one for Jack, arriving at 8.15am, he had a 10 minute practice session at 9am. This was a delight for the team as they got to get direct feedback from Jack about how the setup changes overnight felt as they had made some adjustment to the toe and camber to try get some better feel to the car into the corners. It was a resounding success!
Feeling much more comfortable in the car, Jack had an increased spike in confidence and with Round 2 looming at 10:45am we had a sense that the race ahead could be a good one should all things fall into place.
When the starting lights went out, Jack had the same success as in race 1, gaining 5 positions off the start to move up to 9th place. This time, a Safety Car was called due to a car beached in the gravel after a tyre puncture…so a good start, with another rolling start coming so once again an opportunity to make strides upwards.
Unfortunately for Jack, the start wasn’t as he had hoped, despite another great launch, and being on the inside to move 2 spots up to 7th. The fact that it was 3 wide meant the middle car turned into Jack which resulted in Jack having to control that car not spinning on his bumper, and ultimately dropping him down the order a little to 10th as he recovered onto track.
Beyond here, it was a lot of battling but tyre management played a huge factor with tyre performance falling off after 4 laps meaning for the race Jack was just focused on getting the tyres to the end of the race puncture free.