Will Palmer successfully completed his run in a McLaren Formula 1 car at Silverstone as part of his prize for winning last year’s McLaren Autosport BRDC Award and declared it something that he will remember “for the rest of his life.”
The 19-year-old took to the circuit at the British Grand Prix Circuit venue in Jenson Button’s 2011 Canadian Grand Prix-winning McLaren MP4-26 and completed a trio of five-lap runs on slick Pirelli show tyres.
Speaking to Autosport, the Southwater racer said: “The nerves were pretty high. It was absolutely incredible, like nothing I’ve ever done before. The power, the brakes, the downforce - and just how together the car seemed. It’s unbelievable how much of a step up it was.
“There was a bit of a worry over the weather and if the track would be fully dry but luckily it was and I thought I’d better make the most of it.
“A McLaren at Silverstone is an amazing combination. It will be a massive memory for the rest of my life.
The 2015 BRDC Formula 4 Champion impressed the title-winning F1 outfit, McLaren simulator test engineer Alice Rowlands commenting that Will should be “very happy” with his maiden run in a Grand Prix car.
“It’s not easy,” she added, “he doesn’t know anyone and it’s a step up from anything he’s done before, working with this many engineers.
“Looking at the data it was clearly someone driving a Formula 1 car properly - not someone that was out for a little afternoon drive around.”
Whilst elder brother Jolyon could not be at Silverstone as he prepares for the upcoming Mexican Grand Prix, father Jonathan was on hand to offer support and advice. Will’s test has echoes of Jonathan’s first F1 run, which also came with McLaren at Silverstone as a prize for winning the 1981 British Formula 3 Championship.
The BRDC Superstar, who recently scored his maiden win in European racing by claiming victory in the penultimate round of the 2016 Eurocup Formula Renault 2.0 season at Estoril, saw off five other rivals to win the prestigious MABA last year, after being selected as a finalist following his BRDC F4 title success.
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