Petr Ptacek Jr continued his development as one of Europe’s brightest single-seater racing prospects last week when he impressed during a test in a Formula V8 3.5 car.
The 16-year-old, who won this season’s Italian Formula 4 Championship’s Rookie Cup with a round to spare, is keen to get as much experience as possible as he continues to plot his next move up the motor racing ladder.
As a reward for his standout first year in single-seater racing, he joined the Charouz Racing System team, a race winner in the FIA Formula 2 Championship, to test one of the V8-powered cars that the Czech-based team guided to the Formula V8 3.5 teams’ and drivers’ titles in 2017.
The Dallara-built chassis was the fastest car that Petr has ever driven, but he adjusted quickly during the one-day test and impressed as he set a fastest time of 1m 19.5sec lap around the Most Circuit in his homeland.
“It was my first test in a big formula car and I wanted to learn as much as I could,” the Corum Watches-backed driver explained. “The day went pretty well. I’ve never driven something so fast and it was a beautiful feeling.
“It was a strange attack on your senses and so different to the other formula cars I’ve driven. It was amazing to experience the aero grip and the power of the brakes. Once I believed in what the car could do, I felt I could use its full potential and push.”
Petr was joined at the test by experienced racer, Rene Binder. The Austrian picked up four race wins with Charouz during the final Formula V8 3.5 season in 2017 and his input was something Petr found useful as he drove his first laps in a car that produces 530hp.
“Rene was my point of reference during the test because he has massive experience in the category,” Petr said. “His advice was really helpful and it was also great to work with the Charouz Racing System team and to see their professional approach to everything at a test. I felt really comfortable working with them.”
With the final Italian F4 round at Mugello scheduled to take place next weekend (25-27 October), Petr had to quickly switch his attention back to his core racing activity after his inaugural Formula V8 3.5 test. But he agreed the experience he gained at Most had been hugely beneficial and enjoyable.
He said: “It’s great to experience different cars and tracks at my age because I can learn so much. I firmly believe a test like this will help me to continue developing my skills as a driver and to shape the direction my career takes.”