Petr Ptacek is eager to return to Formula Renault Eurocup action at the iconic Spa Francorchamps circuit in Belgium this weekend – after eight weeks out of the cockpit.
Due to the single-seater championship’s 2019 schedule, the rising Czech star hasn’t raced his BhaiTech Racing-prepared Tatuus T-318 chassis since the beginning of June.
“I’m desperate to get back out on the race track,” the 16-year-old said. “I’ve been doing lots of work in the simulator to keep myself sharp but it’s not the same as driving a car for real. I’m really excited to get to Spa.”
Recognising the big gap between rounds four and five in the Formula Renault Eurocup calendar, Parmigiani Fleurier-supported Petr travelled to Suzuka in Japan to contest the third round of the F3 Asian Championship mid-way through June.
It proved to be a successful trip, with the highly-rated youngster taking a pole position and a podium from his first-ever event in the F3 category.
He hopes the track time he enjoyed in Asia will benefit him when he arrives at the famous 7.04km Spa Francorchamps circuit – the longest circuit on the current F1 calendar – for the first time this weekend.
“Suzuka was a fast and flowing circuit that I’d never driven before and, just like Silverstone earlier this season, I adjusted well and showed what’s needed to be fast,” Petr explained. “I’m hoping it will be a similar situation with Spa which is one of the best circuits in the world and the type that I really enjoy.
“It’s like Suzuka in that you don’t need to think about your driving too much. It’s a circuit where you primarily need to believe in your car 100 percent and be brave. The extra adrenaline that brings is cool for me.”
Petr’s BhaiTech Racing team will arrive in Belgium fresh from a pair of official Formula Renault Eurocup in-season tests that allow teams to gather additional data from their new-for-2019 cars. Unfortunately, none of the teams’ regular drivers – including Petr – were permitted to drive during the tests.
“The team has worked quite a lot since the last round,” Petr said. “I’m not saying we’ll make an enormous jump at Spa but we should have a better understanding of how the car works.
“I feel I have the speed to be racing at the front and it’s great to have my guys supporting me every step. I think we’re all working super hard for the good results and I hope we can collect some at Spa.”
Petr’s first qualifying session at Spa will get underway on Thursday at 16.10 (local time GMT+2), while second qualifying starts at 10.30 on Friday. Race 1 goes green at 14.35 on Friday afternoon and Race 2 starts at 10.50 on Saturday.