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How I Ended Up Driving for Magnussen’s Team in Danish F4

Photo by Brad Dias - Jan Magnussen sharing some words of encouragement before the race start
Jan Magnussen and Brad Dias -

For the 2018 racing season I’ve decided to head north, from my hometown Hong Kong all the way to Denmark to race in the Danish Formula 4 Championship.

I’d have never thought I’d be making such a move, but almost by chance in the middle of 2017 I met someone in Macau who introduced me to Magnussen Racing Experience.

It wasn’t long before I felt this was an opportunity I had to grab. One of my deciding factors to race with Magnussen Racing was because of the chance to work with a well renowned driver coach, Peter Collins. He’s run F1 teams and even helped a few World Champions along the way.

On top of that, there’s also the opportunity to learn from the master Jan Magnussen. Jan is one of the best sports car drivers in the world today and was a highly rated single seater driver in his early career. His skills on track led him to being signed by McLaren in Formula 1. Interestingly, his son Kevin also got signed by McLaren when he first entered F1.

It’s always good to take advice from people who’ve been or helped others reach where you want to go. I feel I’m with good company.

Moving to Europe

In early 2018, I made my first trip to Denmark to start preparing. The weeks until the season start had been very busy with training and preparation, but also enjoyable. I got to see a lot of Denmark and even a bit of Northern Italy when we went testing there.

Denmark is said to be one of the happiest countries in the world, and the people there definitely live up to this reputation. I felt very welcomed, despite the chilly weather.

If you’re on a European road trip, try to drive up here in summer. Denmark is a small country with a pristine countryside, seaside, and a surprisingly large motorsport following (which I found very cool). Italy is pretty awesome too.

The Championship

Apart from the team, another thing that drew me to race in Danish Formula 4 were the tracks on the calendar. Racing on old-school circuits without huge runoff areas add to the challenge. Making a tiny mistake can really cost you lap time or even more. You pay for your mistakes, and that’s a good thing for learning at this level I feel.

On top of that, I’ll be doing twice as many races this year. 24 compared to the 12 I did last year in Asian Formula Renault.

F4 Test at Padborg Park - Lurento.comFirst Formula 4 test at Padborg Park

Getting back in the driver’s seat

Over the long winter, I was out of a race car for over 6 months, but upon returning I adapted quickly to the car in testing, and then showed good pace in my first test in Denmark.

I kept sharp during the off-season by racing KZ shifter karts. These are karts fitted with a 6-speed sequential gearbox and a very punchy two-stroke engine. They weigh about 170kg and produce about 42hp, leading to mind-blowing acceleration, doing 0-100kmph in under 4s. Add very grippy tires to the mix, and you get a neck stretching 3Gs of lateral force in some corners.

2017 Macau Kart GP - Lurento.comRacing a KZ1 at the Macau International Kart Grand Prix

The First Race

Following a test at the track Padborg Park, the first round was very promising. I finished 3rd in the first race of the season. 6th in the reversed grid second race. Then in the third and final race, I qualified 4th, moved up to 3rd but got excluded mid-race due to a penalty I didn’t know I’d received, for an incident I didn’t know I caused. Which was pretty upsetting.

Danish F4 Race - Lurento.comOnto take a 3rd place finish in my first Danish F4 race

It’s just the start, but I feel good being with Magnussen Racing Experience in F4. I’ve progressed a lot and there’s still more to come.

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