It was a hot weekend for Team West-Tec F3 in more ways than one as the cream of the world’s elite young drivers congregated in Macau for the 62nd Macau Grand Prix in generally scorching conditions.
The Team West-Tec duo of Sam Macleod and Ryan Tveter were well prepared and it showed with both drivers showing good pace in the free practice sessions. Sam followed that up with a brilliant fifth on the grid for Saturday’s Qualification Race, with Ryan back in 17th – after a trip up a escape road on his best lap – although that was still an impressive performance from the Macau Rookie, Saturday’s race serves to set the grid for the Grand Prix itself and Sam drove fairly conservatively to finish fourth, giving himself a superb second-row grid slot for Sunday. Ryan made a rocket-like start from 17th to run 12th into Lisboa, before being caught out and unsighted, and hitting the stricken car of Dani Juncadella – ending his race immediately with significant damage to his car.
For Sunday’s Grand Prix, Sam made a good start and moved up to third first time out, drawing admiring cheers from the crowd. Ryan unfortunately had another eventful first lap from lower down and was caught out passing a slower car and unluckily hit the stopped car of Gustavo Menezes – incredibly putting him out again on the very first lap, and causing the race to be red-flagged.
After the restart Sam again made a super-impressive move, to pass Charles Leclerc and move up to second – a position he held for several laps. Eventually Leclerc drafted back past but Sam was still the quickest driver on the track and was primed to attack the two leaders again over the final laps, as he had been preserving his tyres, before a slight slide knocked him into the wall, possibly with a puncture, and he had to stop in pits for remedial work. This was a disaster after all of his great hard work, and speed, though he was still the fastest driver on the track and set a lap record for the Macau circuit with just a few laps remaining, although re-catching the leaders was an impossible task.
Sam Macleod: We worked hard all week and it so nearly paid off. We saved ourselves for the Grand Prix and it was all going really well until I touched the wall. But we had a very fast car and I think we proved a lot over the weekend.
Ryan Tveter: Macau is just the best track in the world. We had a really good car but were very unlucky. I still learned a lot and I must thank the Team West-Tec crew for the job they did preparing a great car for me.
John Miller, Team West-Tec F3: Both drivers had a lot of speed, which was a pleasure to see. Ryan was unlucky but I am sure he still learned a lot, and we are going to see him challenging in the future.
Sam was mightily impressive from the first laps of the weekend and was consistently one of the top drivers the whole weekend. If the cards had fallen just a little differently he could have won it as we had the pace together, but it wasn’t to be. I am still really happy with him and proud of what we achieved together, which I know has really made a lot of people sit up and take notice.
Team West-Tec F3 is a leading FIA Formula 3 team, working with HWA-Mercedes as engine partner.
Team West-Tec F3 also enjoys team support from Nielsen Chemicals, Columbia, Eibach, B-G Racing, Mechanix, MIS Locktons and Freem Racewear.