Laura Chapple has made a fantastic start to her single seater career with an excellent debut weekend in the Formula Jedi Championship at Silverstone. Coming into the meeting with little car racing experience, Laura excelled by finishing seventh and ninth in the two races whilst improving her lap times and pulling off a number of impressive overtakes. Chapple will be extremely pleased with her performances and will be looking to secure the budget required to compete full-time next season.
After a couple of short test sessions leading up to the weekend, Laura was excited for qualifying on Saturday morning where she would tackle the challenging Silverstone international circuit. Chapple took to the track early in the session and was immediately competitive, setting a faster time than a number of more experienced drivers. As the session progressed, Laura’s confidence grew as she improved her time to qualify a very respectable 10th on debut out of a strong 14 car grid with her best lap time just over two seconds away from pole position.
Laura’s opening single seater race began later that day with Chapple aiming to move forward and experience a problem-free race. Despite dropping to 12th after the first lap, it was clear that Laura’s pace was strong as she began to catch the drivers ahead of her. After closing the gap by setting the best lap of her race, Chapple made the move up to 10th on lap six and gained another position the following lap. Just passing the halfway mark, Laura was up to eighth and showing extremely consistent pace which was highly impressive considering this was her first ever single seater race. In the closing stages Chapple gained another position to finish in seventh and round off a fantastic debut Formula Jedi race.
Sunday morning brought a second qualifying session for the Formula Jedi drivers with challenging conditions facing Laura after heavy rain overnight. With Chapple experiencing very little track time in wet conditions, qualifying was going to be a learning process but she was determined to give her all. Despite spending the majority of the first half of the session in the pits, Laura improved significantly in the closing stages to set the 11th fastest time, an impressive effort in tricky conditions within touching distance of a top-7 starting spot.
Determined to make a better start than in the first race of the weekend, Laura held her position after the opening lap of the second race which was held in dry conditions. She immediately made progress on lap two by passing Fortune and starting to close in on the drivers ahead of her. Just starting to fall away from the lead pack as the halfway mark approached, Chapple knew she still had the chance to improve her position with a lengthy 20-minute total race distance. On lap 10 Laura moved into ninth place and continued to set a number of consistent lap times. Four laps later Chapple lost out to Dax Ward and slipped down to 10th, however on the penultimate lap Laura re-passed her rival to claim ninth position which she held for the final lap to end a very successful opening weekend in the Formula Jedi Championship.
Laura should be extremely satisfied with her first weekend of single seater racing and has proven her talents by competing with vastly experienced drivers on a level playing field. Her determined nature has been proved with a number of overtakes on the Silverstone International circuit with the aim of attracting potential sponsors hopefully being fulfilled. Chapple will look to work hard during the winter break in an attempt to be racing full-time next season and ensure she is competing at the highest level possible.