Fresh from a campaign in British Formula 3, 18 year old Swedish racing driver Lucas Petersson is the latest driver to be confirmed for the 2020 Castrol Toyota racing Series in New Zealand in 2020 – and will race for new-look team Mtec Motorsport engineered by R-Ace GP.
Petersson – who was based in Dubai before moving to the United Kingdom – began his racing career in karting in 2008. After multiple wins over several seasons, he was crowned Junior Max class champion of the United Arab Emirates Rotax Max Challenge in 2017. He then decided to step up to single seater racing cars, moving into the FIA F4 UAE championship.
He adapted to cars quickly, taking two wins, a pole position, five podiums and three fastest laps in his first season and ended 2018 fourth in the championship standings. For 2019 he moved to the hugely successful Carlin Motorsport team and a campaign in the BRDC British Formula 3 championship. During a highly competitive championship season he took one win and a fastest lap at the second round at Snetterton.
Looking forward to continuing his development in the junior formulae and the forthcoming New Zealand championship, he explained: What a great way to start a new year! Really happy to be heading to New Zealand for the 2020 Toyota Racing Series and joining M Tech Motorsport. The new partnership they have entered into with R-ace is very exciting and I hope will give us a competitive edge going into the season. Like all new series, there are a lot of things which I’m going to have to get on top of, such as new circuits and a new car but I can’t wait to get going and give it my best effort.
Team Principal Bruin Beasley said, “having Lucas on board for our 2020 campaign is exciting for Mtec. We have worked hard to put a strong programme together and Lucas’s ability and dedication to the task is just another positive part of it. We look forward to working with Lucas and his team to achieve podiums come January.”
With its new Tatuus-based 280 horsepower turbocharged FT-60 chassis, there has been plenty of early interest in next year’s TRS series, with drivers signing up months earlier than normal. It is expected a full grid of 20 of the new cars will be on the grid when the five weekend championship gets underway.
The 2020 championship will begin at Highlands Motorsport Park in Cromwell in New Zealand’s South Island over the weekend of January 17-19. It stays in the South Island for the second round a week later, moving to Teretonga Park near Invercargill for round two.
The series then heads to the North Island for the remaining three weekends of racing. That will include the Denny Hulme Memorial Trophy at Hampton Downs Motorsport Park, the New Zealand Motor Cup which is set to be confirmed for Pukekohe Park and the final round, the New Zealand Grand Prix meeting over the weekend of February 14-16 at Manfeild – Circuit Chris Amon in Feilding.
Round 6 – Brands Hatch
Following Spa, practice here was abnormal too. We had one day of practice the day before on the Indy Circuit although we would race on the main circuit. Therefore, we would all have a day to practice the first 3 corners, up to Surtees. Disregarding the remaining last corner on the Indy Circuit, I was relatively on the pace for the first few corners.
Qualifying here went from a simple, straight forward plan to a complete mess very quickly. The original plan was to do a two stop strategy to maximize track positioning, as this track is super difficult to overtake on, but closer to the start my Engineer and I decided to put on one new set and wait for the track to improve (5 extra minutes). And we did so. But on my second tyre warming lap, there was a red flag caused my a crash through Dingle Bell. At this point I slowed, and conserved tyre life. At this point, most had already set a time and were going onto their second set of new tyres. Again, my engineer and I wanted to stay on these tyres as they weren’t too used, but to my dismay, we were right in the middle of the queue for the restart. Either I would start in the front of the queue and pull away from all the new tyre cars, or start at the back with a gap. So since we were stuck in the middle we made a decision to go when there was a gap.
Once qualifying was over I knew that I wouldn’t have done well. The first problem being that I only set one competitive time, because all the other times I would have made a mistake. So once knowing I had qualified P9 and P12 I wasn’t surprised.
The plan for the races were quite straight forward. Try to gain positions on the start and don’t take any more unnecessary risks. Therefore from lights out to the chequered flag I stayed in 9th, tucked in behind Verhagen.
Race 2 on the other hand was a little more dramatic. Right off the start I lost 3 positions, since I got too much wheel spin. The track being an inclined and declining circuit made it harder to control clutch slip in comparison to other tracks like Silverstone. But during the race, the two leaders collided on the first lap and my teammate collided with De Pauw, placing me in 8th as Simmons got a time penalty.
Race 3 was most exciting at the start. Starting 12th, I wanted to make up as many positions as possible. From the line to the first corner I passed one and then overtook 2 others around the outside into Surtees. From then on I would stay in my position of P9.
Round 5 – Spa
This weekend was special. There were only three practice sessions on the Friday followed by Qualifying at 5pm. But this change didn’t faze me as I had endured a lot of training in preparation for this overseas weekend.
In FP1, the track was damp and I opted to go with wets which turned out to be faster, placing me in a comfortable P7. But since the second practice was going to be more representative of qualifying, a lot rested on each lap. By the end of the dry run, I was in P9 with a lot more to give. In the final practice of the day, I tweaked my driving in some areas and treated it as a qualifying session. By the end of it I rested in P7 once more, with still some small things to improve on for Qualifying.
A lot of pressure was on for Qualifying as it was mandatory to gain a tow, but if I thought about it too much it would ruin qualifying altogether. Therefore, I stayed behind my teammate who too stayed behind another teammate, therefore like this, I could gain a tow. After a few mediocre laps, I was going my fastest on the in lap. Due to this I chose to stay out and finish the lap, as my teammates pitted. Once crossing the line I was satisfied by my lap but didn’t think at all that it would give me a podium position. It turns out that the decision to stay out was what gave me my first P3 qualification result.
A bit in shock, I didn’t believe those around me that I had done that good, beating my teammates as well. But it turned out that the lap was as good as it was all along.
Approaching Race 1, I wasn’t nervous at all as I knew the speed was there and I was where I was for a reason. On the formation lap, rain started falling in the middle sector, especially near the Campus section. After a decent start, I lost position to my teammate who ran wide in corner 1. But the problem started on the Kemmel Straight where I got overtaken by three cars at once, and finally conceded the forth to my teammate who didn’t want to battle with me. Every position after that was lost on the same straight. Final position, P10.
Though it wasn’t the result that I had hoped for, I stayed true to myself and knew there wasn’t much more I could do.
Race 2 was expected to be tough. Starting in 18th I was aiming to be in the top 10. Through overtaking several cars, getting stuck behind others and avoiding collisions I found myself in 12th at the finish line. Though it isn’t a terrible result, I felt encaged in trains which I was a lot faster than.
By the time it was Race 3, I had analyzed potential reasons for why I could’ve lost time on the Kemmel Straight. Starting in 4th I had a mediocre start and immediately regained it through Eau Rouge, at the same time, my teammate Kaylen lost his front wing and pulled to the side, releasing me in 3rd position. But my brief excitement came to a quick end as 3 cars (including my teammate) went around the outside. In 6th, I was forced to defend for position but eventually got overtaken by the fastest driver of the race (Kiern Jewiss) on Kemmel once again.
In conclusion, the weekend was a step up from previous ones. But still, the results aren’t quite satisfactory yet.
Round 3 – Silverstone GP
Leading up to the race weekend, I and the Carlin team had completed several test days at Silverstone. Therefore I was not too worried about learning many new things in this large circuit. The Thursday test day consisted of multiple 45-minute sessions which were utilized to their entirety. At the end of the first day, I saw myself in the mid-pack but had the potential to be higher up the order. As the rainy second day had completed, I found myself relearning the track in order to maximize lap time. And since it was going to rain for Qualifying, everyone knew that the fastest drivers will be those who take the greatest risks.
Because rain poured down onto the tarmac, a lot of standing water was found. Therefore it was crucial that we follow the drying wheel tracks when on track. The mindset Mike and I had was to go out and do as many laps as possible, as I would continuously improve along with the track. So as soon as the green flag was waved, I started on my warmup. My mindset coming into this session was to treat it as it was practice, which relaxed my nerves.
By the end of the session, I finished in 9th, just beaten for 8th as the other car did an extra lap in the drying conditions.
The track for Race 1 was half wet and drying up fast as the sun was out. As drivers, we knew that the faster we adapted the faster we would be. Therefore, from the warmup lap, we were all searching for the grip. When the lights went out I had a mediocre start and took it safely into the first corner. From that, I lost 1 position and was quickly attacked by those in my slipstream. Eventually, I would lose a number of positions but claw back a few more, placing me in 11th place.
Race 2, being the reverse grid race, showed promise in my eyes as I could potentially make a break for a podium position. But that dream was cut short when after the first lap I went from 8th to 10th, and shortly after to 11th after my teammate passed me. Although the pace was good, it was apparent that I had to improve my start-of-the-race race craft.
Race 3 was similar to Race 2, but this time it seemed like I had more fight in me. Off the line and into the first few laps I hadn’t lost any positions until a group of six cars from 5th all the way to where I was 9th and onwards. Because of this, my strong suit of having fast pace was halted, and I had to battle my way for position. Through some bad decision-making, I lost one place and for the majority of the race, I was battling with this one car. After many failed attempts, I went up the inside into Stowe and collided with Nazim. This collision ruined my race as I had to limp the car over the line with a sideways steering wheel. The collision was later pronounced as Nazim’s fault. Although instances like these do occur in racing, it was somewhat the cherry on top of the cake, being this mediocre race weekend.
Round 2 – Snetterton
Before the start to the race weekend, I had already done a few laps around this track. This meant that my teammates and I wouldn’t be on the back foot at the start of practice. Throughout the next two days, I would see myself comfortably in the mid-pack (roughly 7th). Which meant that as a team and as a driver I was improving, motivating us for positive results in Qualifying and in the races.
Overnight, the temperature had dropped and no sun was visible on that gloomy morning. As a team, we were not sure what the track would be like, so we ran identical setups to the day before. Once underway I noticed that grip levels were lower and the wind direction had changed dramatically, causing snaps under brakes in corners 8 and 12. Furthermore, there was a dramatic understeer in corner 7. Although it is easy now to realize these changes while driving it wasn’t crystal clear. As a result, I moved the braking bias towards the back in hopes of less snap in turns 8 and 12. But later I would figure out that it had induced more oversteer instead of helping. As a result, my laps were quite inconsistent (as were many others’), placing me in P9, a direct reflection of Oulton Park. Though I was disappointed with the result we knew that I was faster than that position.
With similar conditions to Qualifying, everyone knew that the track would be slow and lap times would be dramatically less to yesterday’s lap times. Build up to the green flag was fairly stress-free as I was behind where I should’ve been. And after a poor start I was near the back of the grid towards the run up to corner 1. With cars all around me and partly up the inside, I decided to go deep into the fast right. But due to cold tyres and a slower track, I lacked the stopping speed and ended up in the grass. A silly mistake waiting to happen which caught me off guard. Once out of the slippery grass, I was 16 seconds behind the last car. And with 13 laps or so left, I was sure that this was going to be a boring race. But nonetheless I pushed to the finish line and ended roughly a second behind the last car. Still distraught after the mistake, Carlin was proud of my comeback and determination. And it turned out that my pace was good enough for 6th place which was very promising.
Once everything had dialed down, the realization came that for tomorrow’s race I would start in 1st position. This would be the first time I would be above 9th position an outright 8 positions behind where I was now.
Throughout the night and the next morning I couldn’t help feel nervous as I new that my career needed this more than ever. Going over start multiple tiomes in my car before the race helped as it formulated muscle memory in my feet. Because those who were fast were at the back of the grid everyone knew that if I could get a good start I would be gone. Attempting to get into the zone prior to the race, something I rarely do, I got into the car, started the engine and began the formation lap. Approaching the last marked line before the long run to the first corner I remember feeling numb and weak. Then the adrenaline kicked in as I watched the cars behind me line up. I felt as if everything had instantly tightened, my belts, my helmet – I knew that the next ten seconds would decide the race. As the lights turned on I focused all my energy to getting off the line. I placed my right foot where I think it should have been, and found the biting point. Lights off. My insticts took over and I made my best start yet. I remember saying to myself before Turn 1, “Thank god!”. From there I controlled the pace and managed to get a hefty gap half way through the first lap. From there I focused on my driving and reminded myself to stay calm by repeating “Calm” to myself a few times a lap. But to my dismay, the gap I had built meant nothing, because the safety car was out. Since it had been the first time I would lead a field under the safety car, I focused on two things. To keep the tyres warm and to focus on myself, not the others behind me. Once the safety car’s lights turned off (fairly late in the lap), I took it nice and slow in order to get a proficient run towards corner 1. With the restart under way we were all bunched up and the car behind me had was catching down the main straight and was just about close enough to make a move. Therefore, I turned early to corner 1 closing the gap before he fully commit for the move. Through his failed attempt he had to focus on the car behind him as I charged away and increased my lead. As I rounded the final corner I was ecstatic, and raised my hand in the air as I passed the jubilant Carlin team. It took about 3 corners for my conscious mind to take over again, and that’s when I wrapped my head around the fact that I had won. Getting out the car I cheered and ran towards Chris who I could see was happy for me too. Hugging and shaking hands with my engineer (Mike) and mechanic (Dan) had sealed the deal on the fact that I had won my first race in BRDC F3. On top of that I had produced the fastest lap of the weekend which was resembled through the Sunoco Trophy that was given to me.
Once things had settled from race 2, race 3 had approached my mind. I wanted this race to mimic the success I had in Race 2, and knew that in order to replicate the last race I was to get a good start again (from P9). But to my disappointment I had reacted late to the lights and lost a place off the start and was swamped once again. For the next lap I focused on the car ahead while defending for position from those behind. But then there was another Safety Car due to the crash in corner 2 off the start which happened with some of the leaders. On the restart I collided with another car, flicking him into the air and damaging my right front. I would later get disqualified for this incident because it was made prior to the Safety Car line which was on the main straight. With this damage I was under attack from the car behind over the course of 4 laps. Eventually he would get a good run towards turn 8 and attempted to brake around the outside. Despite his attempt I was still there and made contact with my front wing. Because of this, he went off the track and I continued to the finish constantly losing positions with my broken front wing. Since it was a pretty straight forward race, all we could extract from it was the need to improve my starts.
Round 1 – Oulton Park
Prior to the race weekend, I had no goals. The only thing that I wished to get out of my first race weekend was knowledge and experience. Apart from trying my best I aimed to be in the midpack and not at the back of the 16 car grid. The first test day (Thursday), I showed promising pace in the tricky narrow circuit. Always being able to utilize my teamates’ data (Kaylen and Clement) I was able to consistently improve and learn new driving techniques. After the 4 session test day, I saw myself comfortably in the midpack – still needing to improve in the low speed second sector.
Pumped up for the second day, Giacomo and I made our way to the track listening to our usual morning playlist. The second day was an evolution of the first, being able to sniff out my fastest competitors while showing what I am capable of too. By the end of the day each driver was able to evaluate their speed (me being a few tenths off my teamates), trying to fantasize what qualifying could be like. And like the first day, I was still in the mid pack, but knew racing conditions would present different opportunities to move up the field.
The rule of a set order qualifying would make things less complicated. For a first European round in formula cars, whatever could make life easier would help me loads. Therefore, knowing that I wouldn’t have to stress upon the idea of finding a fast car allowed me to keep a clear head. But as soon as my tyres were warm, I caught up to a slower car which at the time I thought would be okay (because of slipstream), therefore I stayed behind him for the entirety of the qualifying session. What I didn’t know on the other hand was that my brakes did not cool and my front tyres were overheating. Once back at the truck my engineer (Mike) and I analysed that I had more speed potential than the respective P9, P10 that I qualified for. Somewhat disappointed, I rested upon the fact that I had my work cut out for me.
The clear skies and hot temperatures allowed for light tyre warming on the formation laps. Despite this, off the line I struggled for traction and lost 2 positions, having to go defensive into the first couple of corners, which was relatively normal at a track like this. Stuck in P11 I relied on those ahead of me to make a mistake, but on lap 3 Maldonado and Jewiss collided in the first chicane, spitting Maldonado across the grass and onto the middle of the track ahead – facing the wrong way. Unable to avoid him, I clipped his nose which broke up my front left tyre and wing. Seconds later, those behind me were unable to avoid us and flew over my rear, destroying my rear wing. This simple crash took me out of the race along with two others. The feeling of letting down my family and fans on my first appearance was extremely but I knew that the only way forwards was to forget about the race.
Since the last two races were two days later, Carlin was able to piece together the car without much stress. After a day off in Chester with Giacomo I was anxious to prove myself on the last day in front of the thousands of spectators both online and in person. With very little data to review I was determined to make a better start and move up the field from last. Both Mike and Giacomo both informed me that due to the reverse grid there would be crashes up ahead which would reward me free positions. Off the line I followed Pavan into corner 2 where I got a good run and drove around him before the breaking zone in corner 3. From there I would claimed more positions when other would crash out or get penalties. By the end of the race I finished in P12 from P16 which wasn’t too bad at all, and this time with plenty of data.
Electricity in the air, it was the last race of the weekend. Everyone’s hard work would pay off in this 30 minute race. This time on the other-hand, I started in P10 because the last race of the weekend is based on your second best qualifying lap. Heart pumping, the lights turned on and remained for a randomized amount of time. Eyes on the lights, I relaxed my breathing, trying to counteract the strong force of the seatbelts. And as soon as they turned on, they disappeared, announcing the start to race three. Feet on the gas and clutch I managed my start better and defended into the first corner. But due to a narrow entry I had to carry less speed which allowed Pedersen to hang around the outside and position himself ahead of me. Meanwhile, Kaylen was forced off the track and was in the grass attempting to rejoin. Safely past him, I focused on Pedersen who struggled in corner 2 throughout the whole race. Although I knew that I was faster than those ahead of me, I couldn’t afford to take any risks. Therefore, for the next 12 laps the pack of cars I was in were stuck behind one another. But on lap 13, Pedersen drove too close to those ahead and which compromised his exit through druids (a fast corner), allowing me to get a good run on him towards the braking zone of the last corner. Prior to the corner I knew that this was my last chance to get ahead and had already, mentally, committed to the move. As he positioned to defend before return to the racing line for braking, I pointed my car towards the corner and lunged up the inside, pushing him wide, releasing me of the trap called dirty air. For the next lap I drove as fast as possible, dropping the two behind me, until I caught up to the next train ahead of me, where I would stay for the remainder of the race (2 laps). Crossing the line, waving to my team, I was for the first time in the whole weekend 100% happy with my drive.
But once again, I didn’t treat this weekend as the defining point of my career. I approached it with open arms and learned the most I could for the next weekend, which I don’t doubt will be much more rewarding!
Carlin is pleased to confirm that Lucas Petersson will drive for the team in the 2019 BRDC British Formula Three Championship. Swedish racer Petersson joins Carlin on the back of a highly successful karting career in the United Arab Emirates, where he was crowned the 2017 Junior Rotax Champion. Petersson will now make the move to Europe as he joins the highly competitive British Formula Three Championship.
On the back of his junior national karting success, Petersson made the switch to cars in the 2017/2018 F4 United Arab Emirates Championship, claiming two race wins, five podiums and three fastest laps on his way to fourth place in the championship.
In preparation for his European motorsport debut in 2019, 17-year-old Petersson has already been testing with Carlin and excited for the opening round of the championship in April at Oulton Park.
Petersson said of the upcoming season…
“I’m really looking forward to racing in a championship and country that has such a rich heritage in motorsport. Being a young driver, I’ve always aspired to take part in this championship and to do it with such as successful team like Carlin is very humbling. I have no expectations apart from giving it all I’ve got.”
Team Principal Trevor Carlin added, “We are pleased to welcome Lucas to the team for upcoming 2019 season. Lucas has already been testing with us and has made a good impression on the team. He’s already had good results in other championships he’s competed in so we’re looking forward to seeing what he can achieve in the BRDC British Formula Three Championship when it all kicks off again in April.”
Once again, Round 4 was being hosted at Yas Marina Circuit but this time, we were using the GP track! It is essentially the same layout used in F1. With the weather said to be clear and my experience being ahead of most other drivers, I was already in a good state of mind.
Already by the first practice session, my competitors were as fast as me or faster which came by surprise. But one thing I realized, later on, was that the general competition level was much higher as we were constantly setting new lap records. Eventually, after the last session, I came to notice that I wasn’t in the front-running spots but in contention for the top 5. Although this was a bit disheartening, it was really close which meant that anyone could take the top spot.
Jumping into qualifying after official practice number 3, I knew it had to be a good one, as there were 12 cars on the grid. If it wasn’t good, I would suffer catching up in every race. Again, classic Lucas, it took me over half the session to get into my rhythm, but by the time I did I was within the top 5 spots. Up to the chequered flag, I was constantly improving but frankly didn’t have time to give it my all which meant that I would finish in a solid 4th position.
After getting off to a good start I stayed in P4 for half the lap, right behind Schumacher. But after he defended I was forced to go around the outside in corner 8 and had a narrow run into 9. But on the exit, I completely spun around which costed me 20 seconds and 8 positions (essentially last). Although feeling a bit distraught, I continued through the 30-minute race and worked myself up in positions with some help from penalties plus crashes. At the end of the race, this put me in 7th position, only 3 places behind my initial position.
Unlucky, if I were only 1 place higher I would have started pole. But since I finished 7th, the reverse grid had no effect on me. As the lights went off for the second time, I maintained my position and even started to attack Weertz, but he managed to fend me off. Eventually, I caught up to Lucas Roy and overtook him for 6th position. A few laps later, I passed Beckhauser too! But to my surprise, on the last few laps, my teammate Taofik ran out of fuel which promoted me to 4th.
Race 3s start was based on our second best lap times, which kept me in 4th place for the start. Maintaining the position for half of lap one, I was shunted by C0rdeel (T7) which damaged my steering which caused me to have a 50-meter lockup the next corner. With this huge block with no rubber (down to metal) rotating on my front left, I was forced to suffer for the rest of the race. Constantly being 3 seconds off the leader I dropped to 6th but stayed in that spot for the latter half of the race.
Again being affected by the reverse grid, I was going to start first for the final night race. Off the line, I was neck and neck with Schumacher but maintained my lead until corner 8. Halfway around the corner I was collected by my teammate Taofik and suffered a puncture. This meant that after stopping I was 2 laps down and still with minor damages. As expected I finished last but still collected points, which is crucial for the championship.
Although it was an up and down weekend and also due to my lack of speed I remain hopeful that more great things will come!
This weekend’s race was held at the Dubai Autodrome. Being my home track, I was familiar with the majority of the corners, only this time it was a different layout. Additionally, I only attended half of Thursday’s practice sessions as I had other school commitments. This meant that I was already behind my competitors, as they would have practiced Wednesday too.
Jumping straight into qualifying, I wasn’t expecting a top 5 finished but just wanted to use it as more track time before the race. After going for a few hot laps I could only put myself in 9th, 8 tenths off pole position.
Again knowing that I wasn’t fast enough to compete for podium positions, I was prepared for a 7th or higher place finish. But to my surprise, I overtook Lucas Roy, while my championship contestant (Weertz) and Cordeel retired from the race. This put me in a final position of 6th place, which I thought wasn’t too bad, weighing the odds.
Finishing in 6th place meant that I would start on pole for this race. I felt that I was fast enough to at least put up a fight, but after a gigantic lockup in turn () and losing my wing while being in a train, meant that I had to retire, soon to realize that I could have come in and changed the wing.
Again starting in 9th place, because it was based on the second-best lap time of qualifying, this time I was ready to move up as soon as the lights went off. By the first lap, Sami (teammate) spun, collecting Lucas Roy with him. Midway through the race, being at some sort of stalemate with absolutely nothing going on, I started to persuade myself that this was the position I was going to finish in. But as each car got closer to one another, battles started to erupt. Eventually Schumacher, then Charles Weertz dropped far behind me and would stay so until the end of the race, putting me in 5th position overall, which I was pretty content with.
Race 4 was canceled due to a death in the Superbike category, eventually leading to the forbidding of Superbike racing at the Dubai Autodrome.