JHR Developments’ James Hedley is pleased with his return to pre-season testing as he prepares to make his F4 British Championship certified by FIA – powered by Ford EcoBoost debut at Donington Park later this month.
The reigning Ginetta Junior champion will switch tin-tops for single seaters with Steven Hunter’s multiple race-winning outfit in 2020, and will partner new team mates Abbi Pulling and Mikkel Grundtvig.
The 16-year old was among the first back out testing after the COVID-19 lockdown in the UK was eased, and reported back with positive progress as the clock ticks nearer to the start of the new season.
“The tests went really well,” said Hedley.
“The first one was just dusting off the cobwebs, it felt a bit weird to be back. We were quick straight away, so it’s good to know we can still do it after all that time.
“So far, so good, testing is going well.”
Reflecting on the enforced break for motorsport worldwide, Hedley echoed the competition in explaining how the extra four months to prepare should pay dividends, both physically and mentally.
“Mentally and physically, I’m more prepared than ever and I think this lockdown has definitely helped because of that. I’ve definitely improved on my fitness.
“It was nice to have a break at the start, but as lockdown continued I just wanted to get back in the race car.
“Getting a simulator just made me miss the real thing even more, so that didn’t really help.”
The calendar has also been amended as a result, with an intense run of four events in the opening five weeks of the season, and with several challenging circuits such as Brands Hatch GP and Knockhill now brought forward.
Hedley sees that preparation playing an even more crucial role as he aims to hit the ground running from the off.
“I see that being pretty important,” he explains.
“It’s going to be intense, you’re going to have to keep the right mindset throughout the whole thing, so doing this intense training whilst getting prepared is perfect, really.”
He also has an unchanged mindset going into the races themselves, and is mindful that a race-by-race approach over a long season should pay off rather than taking any unnecessary risks from the get-go.
“I don’t see it as any different, really. I’m just going to treat it normally. It’s obviously good to get the championship lead to start with and maintain it, but I’ll take it race by race.”
“I’m just going to pretend that everyone is good, and there’s another ‘me’ out there, and I’ve got to try and beat them. Luke Browning has done a year before, he should know what he’s doing, but we’ll see when it comes to the first qualifying session.”
The new season begins at Donington Park, Leicestershire, over the weekend of 01-02 August.