Chris Wootton heads to Malaysia – Mar 26 09

Date posted on March 26, 2009 · Published by Mark Goddard

As most of Australian motorsport has its attention to the Formula 1™ ING Australian Grand Prix this weekend, Australia’s Formula BMW Junior – Chris Wootton – heads to Malaysia to finalise preparations for his quest to become the Formula BMW Pacific Champion.

The 20-year-old will arrive in the humidity of Kuala Lumpur for final testing across the Australian Grand Prix weekend, with the first round of the Formula BMW Pacific Series to be held in conjunction with the Formula 1™ PETRONAS Malaysian Grand Prix the following weekend – April 2-5.
During March, the Formula BMW Junior has completed a successful bracket of testing with Eurasia Motorsport at Sepang. Chris set the quickest times in wet conditions and performed solidly in the dry as the team finalises its race setup for the spectacular circuit.
The test was used to familiarise Chris with the Eurasia Motorsport team and prime him for this first round. They will be aiming for outright pace from when he gets back in the car next week for the final official test.
He will link up with his race engineer for this season, Greg Wheeler, who will be fresh from engineering a V8 Supercar for Australian Television personality, Grant Denyer, at the Clipsal 500 in Adelaide last weekend.
Chris carries with him added status this year as the only second year Formula BMW Junior competing in the Formula BMW Pacific Series.
As a Formula BMW Junior, Chris will meet with Dr. Mario Thiessen and BMW Sauber F1 Team officials, drivers and sponsors at events that coincide with Formula 1™ Grands Prix.
“We’re very happy with where we are at,” Chris said. “We’ve been working through a variety of setups to get me comfortable in the car and get the team comfortable with me. We were approaching the pace we wanted in the dry at the end of the test, but our wet weather form was impressive.
“Sepang is just such a top facility. It is really technical and has some tough, high speed corners. It’s going to be awesome to have the first two events there.
“Being behind the wheel again was great, but testing and a race weekend are two completely different things – particularly at an F1 Grand Prix!
“Thinking back to last year when I raced at my first Grand Prix weekend, there is so much happening around you, it’s very difficult to focus.
“Naturally, there’s a lot of excitement associated with being at a Grand Prix, not to mention the lure of wanting to watch what’s happening on track, but you have to keep your mind on the job.
“I’m lucky that I have a few of those weekends under my belt now, whereas many of the guys coming into Formula BMW for the first time will be dealing with that additional pressure –let alone that for many of them, it will be their first race meeting out of karts.
“We’ve aimed to be quick from the first round and indications are that we will be. We know what we want to achieve from this season and we’re ready. Mark (Goddard) and the Eurasia guys have me in the best frame of mind possible to do the job.”