One of two programs, the Radical SR1 cup was a big change in terms of the car and the team, with the team being completely student lead and the car as this was Tom’s first taste of open cockpit with downforce.
Two test days were completed before the first round at Tom’s home circuit of Donington Park.
Tom was upbeat following testing;
"Testing has gone really well. A lot to learn in not a lot of time, with myself learning about the car every lap I do with my team in the same boat.”
At the end of the final day of testing, Tom and the team were quietly confident going into qualifying on Saturday morning.
Qualifying conditions were perfect as Tom went out midway through the session to optimise the track space and temperature. 3 drivers at the top put in good times of 1min 10.1 all separated by only 0.05 sec. Tom went purple in all 3 sectors on his first lap out and claimed provisional pole by a mighty gap of 0.2s. With the tyres over heating for all cars, no one would challenge Tom as he executed the perfect start to his weekend.
The main race of the weekend was to have a rolling start, with Tom setting the pace. As the lights went green Tom got a great launch on his rivals and quickly built a gap over the first lap. With some storming times on the board, he set the fastest lap of the race as the gap over P2 was 2.5 seconds with 15 of the 20 mins still to race. A mature drive meant that Tom settled into the rhythm and controlled the race from the front, maintaining the 2.5 sec gap with around 8 laps to go. With 6 mins on the clock there was to be a safety car as a stranded car needed to be recovered from the first corner. This meant the lead that Tom built up vanished and would have to fight for the win with just 4 laps of the race left to go. His pace proved to be too strong for his rivals as he crossed the line with a 1 second lead over his next rivals in P2 and P3 on the road; a perfectly executed race for him and the team.
Unfortunately, post-race, there was to be a controversial penalty applied for track limits dropping Tom to P2.
Tom Wood, reflecting on his Radical SR1 debut;
“What a great weekend. From myself and the team having never stepped foot in the championship, with other drivers and teams having a huge amount more experience than us. We showed resilience and dominance throughout and I couldn’t be prouder of the guys and girls that have put their heart and soul into giving me a race winning car.”
Tom’s next Radical race will be in June at the Silverstone Enduro cup, alongside other commitments in Germany in the GT4 class throughout the 2022 season.