Team USA Scholarships
Formula Palmer Audi Autumn Trophy Final Review
Blog Entry 5
Good Things Must Come to an End
November 6, 2007 - London, UK - Patrick Barrett
It's been two weeks since Joel and I first arrived in England to compete in this year's Formula Palmer Audi Autumn Trophy. During
that time we met some great people, learned about the European racing culture and competed against some of England's best junior formula
car drivers who were there to qualify for the sixth position in the prestigious McLaren Autosport BRDC Award Shootout. Though we didn't
get the results we had hoped for, the experience we gained was more than what we could have asked for.
Jeremy Shaw arranged for Joel and myself to visit the Spyker Formula One Team factory located next to the Silverstone Race Circuit
on our final day in England. Michael Gomme took the time to show us around and explain what goes on in nearly every room. From being
shown where new aerodynamic pieces are designed to walking around their two story transporters, it was an incredible experience seeing
how a Formula One team operates.
After the Spyker tour Joel and I went to visit the Alan Docking Racing team. ADR have been involved with the British F3 Championship
since 1983. Alan also contests the British Formula Ford Championship. ADR supplied F3 cars for the US Red Bull Driver Search for several
years and provides an engineering staff for Team Australia in A1-GP. After Alan showed us around his shop, Joel and I had lunch inside
the Silverstone Race Circuit.
After lunch, we walked up and down the pit lane during a motorcycle track day and noticed a group of people wearing Mercedes McLaren
F1 jackets, assembling temporary walls in a garage. We went in for a closer look and saw tire warmers on the ground with Fernando
Alonso's name on them. Recently hearing about Alonso's departure from the McLaren team, there were many rumors going around about who
would replace him in 2008. Seeing the team setting up for what looked like to be an up-coming test, Joel and I were disappointed knowing
that we weren't going to be able to see the 'mystery driver' test because of our flight home the next day.
We dropped by the gift shop and purchased some goodies and made the return trip to Palmer Audi at the Bedford Autodrome. We checked
our e-mail one last time before we drove to a hotel near the Heathrow airport. After we said our good-byes the rain began to fall as we
were running out to the carů must have been England's farewell gift to us.
As I reflect back on my two week stay in England, I sometimes wish that the experience would have been longer. The racing was
extremely challenging and enjoyable and I felt that this journey has shaped me into becoming a better race car driver. The competition
was unlike any other that I had experienced, and despite the tough results, the people I met and friends I made was more than what I
could have asked for.
I'm looking forward to taking what I learned from the last three months in being involved with the Team USA Scholarship. I know
that what ever I compete in for the following seasons to come, that my skills as a race car driver on and off the track will be far
from where they were at the beginning of this year. Like I tell myself everyday, "there's always something new to learn."
I want to thank everyone involved with the Team USA Scholarship Program for their fantastic support. Knowing that you have so many
people who believe in you and want to see you succeed is a great feeling and makes the experience that much more enjoyable. Jeremy
Shaw, who founded the Team USA Scholarship in 1990, has put together a fantastic program and I'm really happy that I could be a part of
his work in supporting young, talented American drivers. Every year more and more people become involved with the program and it's
exciting to see interest in Team USA grow.
Patrick Barrett at Snetterton
Photo: James Bearne
More information on the Team USA Scholarships can be found at www.TeamUSAScholarship.com. http://www.TeamUSAScholarship.org/