Brands Hatch GP "up there with Spa" for Cross
26/07/13 - It’s been two rounds since Newcastle racer James Cross joined the F3 Cup grid, but the lure of the Brands Hatch Grand Prix proved too much to turn down.
It's been two rounds since Newcastle racer James Cross joined the F3 Cup grid, but the lure of the Brands Hatch Grand Prix proved too much to turn down.
The Kent circuit is held in high esteem by the AW Tracksport racer, and it also started Cross' love affair with single seaters. "Brands Hatch was where I got my first ever race win in my MR2, I remember where my lorry was parked and everything so well. I went on to win the championship so it was the start of an amazing season.
"That same season I rented an old '97 Formula Renault, it was a tiny little spaceframe thing I could barely squeeze in. I did the GP circuit in Monposto and thought "right, I need to buy a single-seater". Brands GP has a lot to answer for!"
When it comes to why the circuit is so good, Cross had no shortage of reasons. "The undulations, blind corners- after you've got the fast section you've got the two right handers and they're completely blind and you can muller the inside kerb. It's the combination of the undulations, an amazing array of fast and slow corners like Paddock Hill Bend then Druids.
"You go into the back part and then you've got fast corners and slow corners; it's just all over the place. You go through the trees, Silverstone's great but you're kind of just on this big track, whereas if you look up for a second here you're suddenly in the middle of the trees and it's like the Nurburgring. It's that sort of feel. I love the drama of the track, I really love it. The Indy makes more sense after the GP and I honestly think it's up there with Spa as a circuit. People go crazy over Spa but I love this track."
Cross was last in the car at round two at Silverstone back in April, so he's using previous experience and Friday's testing to get back in tune with the Dallara. He's also hoping the weather will play its part.
"I was actually thinking a week ago that I'd love it just chuck it down!" He joked. "I've been trying to watch old videos to try and remind myself what you do, where you might brake and just to get the perception of what the car might do again.
"They're just so quick, and trying to get the speed in the fast corners you've got to recalibrate your head again each time you drive it. You drive round Paddock Hill Bend and you think "that's quite quick" but you steer a bit more and it carries on so you think you go a bit quicker. Every time I go out I think "go quicker. Go quicker."
Cross will be hoping he can go quicker as F3 Cup takes to teh track three times this weekend. Qualifying starts at 11.15 on Saturday before race one at 16.00. Race two takes place on Sunday at 12.35.
Photo credit Jonathan Hatfield.