Melbourne racing driver, Dylan Young began his 2016/2017 season in the MRF Challenge, an FIA sanctioned Formula 3 category featuring 4 rounds and 16 races across the Middle East and India, last weekend with teammate Mick Schumacher.
Amongst the 17 drivers in the hotly contested MRF field, which kicked off on the Bahrain Formula 1 GP circuit, were Harrison Newey (son of Adrian Newey OBE, Chief Technical Officer, Red Bull Racing Formula One team), German F4 champion Joey Mawson, 2015 Italian F4 champion Ralf Aron, Japanese F3 champion Yoshiaki Katayama and Manuel Maldonado (cousin of former-F1 driver Pastor Maldonado) as well as Mick Schumacher (son of seven time F1 world Champion Michael Schumacher). Young's results across the weekend saw him finish with points in each of the four races, ahead of Maldonado and Katayama amongst others. His races were littered with great starts including Race 1, which saw him move up four places to finish 9th and Race 2, where he moved up to 7th place for his best finish of the weekend. Race 3 was full of potential with another great start but an accident ahead forced Young wide and the evasive action caused him to lose several places before he managed to pass his way back up to 8th. He ended the final race of the round in 9th place with really strong pace, lapping only 0.9s away from fastest lap and winner, Mick Schumacher.
"I was happy with how quickly I got back into the swing of it after a few months out of the car. To end up less than a second off the pace over a long lap against guys who have been racing all year long is a fantastic start. Mick is a great teammate and sets the benchmark, so I know looking at the data the little areas we need to work on. Overall I'm stoked to bag points in all four races and I'm really looking forward to the next round!" said Young.
The MRF series travels to Dubai (8 – 10 December), New Delhi (27-29 January) and concludes in Chennai (17-19 February). The aspiring F1 driver has been invited to test with Jenzer Motorsport GP3 team, who are connected with the Sauber F1 team, ahead of their 2017 season. Young has previously tested the GP3 car with the official junior team partner of Sahara Force India Formula 1 team and is fielding offers from other teams for the 2017 GP3 Series, which is a leading feeder category into Formula 1. He has also had offers in the Asian Le Mans Series and the Dunlop Series, the stepping-stone to the Virgin Supercars Championship. In preparation for the season, Young’s exercise program included weight training with a focus on upper body strength to cope with the steering and G force loads, building core and neck muscles as well High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) in preparation for the 180bpm+ heart rate he experiences in the car during the 30 minute races. To elevate performance levels even further, during the off season he underwent laser surgery with Dr Rick Wolfe from Vista Eyes in a bid to attain 20/20 vision and signed a sponsorship deal with Optalert, a company focused on fatigue management behind the wheel. Together they will monitor his sleep patterns ensuring that with all the international travel he undertakes, he is 100% alert when he gets into the car.
“I can’t wait for the rest of the Championship, flying the Aussie flag whilst racing against some of Europe’s biggest names. It’s a massive team effort though and I want to throw a huge thank you to the army of sponsors and the people I have batting for me behind the scenes. It just wouldn’t be possible to go racing without them. Having been out of the car for most of this year I thought it would be tough but being so competitive in Round 1 has given me a huge confidence boost. I’ll be giving the rest of the season a massive crack!"