Determined and decisive Oscar Joyce achieves podium in Radical ‘flyaway’ at Circuit Paul Ricard

09 July 2024 | adminleveridge

A calculated and determined performance by Richmond racer Oscar Joyce yielded a podium in Round 4 of the 2024 Hagerty Radical Cup UK at Circuit Paul Ricard in the South of France (6-7 July).

In sizzling temperatures, Joyce climbed all the way from eighth to third in the first of three double points races, and the “professional doodler” has taken plenty of lessons away from what was a trying and enlightening weekend on the Cote d’Azur.

Oscar said:

I learned quite a few things about myself as a racing driver in Round 4 of the 2024 Hagerty Radical Cup UK at Circuit Paul Ricard in the sun-baked South of France (6-7 July).

The fates had conspired against me in the opening two instalments of the season at Donington Park and Snetterton, but I had turned my fortunes around and arrived in the Cote d’Azur in high spirits, off the back of a super consistent weekend at Oulton Park.

However, with no prior experience of Circuit Paul Ricard, I had a lot of learning to do while my DW Racing team optimised the setup of my graffitied SR3 XXR in Friday’s 60-minute test and Saturday’s free practice sessions.

We were up against it, especially when you consider some of the opposition had completed countless laps during full days of in-season testing in Le Castellet.

I was satisfied with my rate of progress, having gained a full second in lap time during practice, but I was unable to replicate my 2m10s lap times later in the day and qualified a deeply disappointing eighth.

Out of position on the grid, achieving truly representative results in the races would be significantly harder, especially against a broader field of competitors from Radical’s national championships in the UK, Europe and the United Arab Emirates.

However, with double points available to all, I pulled off what was perhaps my most measured and determined performance of the year.

I took a more aggressive stance and had forward momentum from the very first racing lap, working my way up from eighth into the podium places with some awesome overtakes as other cars fell by the wayside.

Highlights included decisive passes on RSR’s John Macleod and Radical France’s Adrien Giraud as we swept through the North Chicane, and then came a big push after second-placed Chris Preen.

I took tenths out of the Valour Racing driver on each tour of Circuit Paul Ricard and, although I ultimately ran out of time to mount a meaningful attack, I was immensely satisfied with my performance.

I believed in the car and deployed more aggression than ever before to go all the way from P8 to P3 in the 30-minute contest, and that inspired confidence for the remaining races.

However, the second-fastest qualifying times determined the starting order for race two and I had work to do from a lowly P10.

Frustratingly, my race was severely hampered by a very eventful first lap; I was firstly pushed wide while wheel-to-wheel with 360 Competition’s Jason Rishover and then lost touch with the main pack while dodging my DW Racing teammate Peter Tyler, who was tipped into a high-speed spin.

I was only able to recover to P9 with a high downforce setup that impaired my overtaking ability, but I remained optimistic about my prospects from fifth on the race three grid.

Boxed in as the Radical field surged towards Turn 1, I tumbled to ninth. All was not lost, though, because I had reverted back to a lower downforce rear-wing setting that enabled me to scythe past Macleod and home in on a four-way battle for P4 involving Preen, Rishover, Giraud and Valour Racing’s Jack Yang.

A mistake by Rishover and an on-track overtake on Yang meant I was seventh on the road at the chequered flag, but a batch of track limits penalties impacted 360 Competition’s Alim Geshev and elevated me to sixth in the final classification.

It was a respectable end to a challenging weekend on the Cote d’Azur, but I was clearly the second quickest driver on-track in that third race and I’m left wondering what could have been achieved if my races hadn’t been affected by other drivers’ incidents.

Nevertheless, I’ve gained a lot from racing an ‘aero car’ on what is a very wide grand prix track with a lot of long, high-speed corners, and I’ve found myself to be a more aggressive and decisive racer.

On our current trajectory, I believe we will be in a good place at Silverstone (27-28 July), where seven-time Formula One World Champion Lewis Hamilton took a famous and emotional ninth British Grand Prix victory at the weekend. I’m certainly feeling inspired.