2017 BRDC British Formula 3 champion Enaam Ahmed claimed his 13th victory of the year at the Donington Park season finale to surpass legendary F1 driver Ayrton Senna’s win record.
Triple F1 world champion Senna scored 12 wins en route to his own title-winning British F3 campaign in 1983, a tally that Ahmed has now beaten with his 13th victory of a dominant season, as he ended a record-breaking year in the same winning fashion he began it.
Results from Donington mean Enaam has created another piece of British F3 history, finishing the season with the highest amount of points ever-achieved in the series (654). The 17-year-old also enjoyed the biggest winning margin over second place with a mammoth 164-point gap.
Having wrapped up the title with three races to spare at the previous round at Snetterton, the Carlin driver headed to the 4.020km Leicestershire Grand Prix circuit determined to continue the superb form which has seen him pick up more than half of the race victories on offer this season and take at least one win at every single meeting of the year, barring Silverstone.
Ahmed, the youngest-ever British F3 champion – who has also been awarded the 2017 Jack Cavill pole position cup with a total of eight poles – was denied a fourth successive pole position in a qualifying session by a margin of just 0.044s.
A trademark fast start in Saturday’s opening race enabled Enaam to draw alongside pole-sitter Ben Hingeley on the run down to Redgate, but the BRDC Rising Star was elbowed out as he tried to snatch the lead. Ahmed harried Hingeley throughout, but ultimately had to settle for a comfortable second place.
Starting Sunday’s partially-reversed grid race from seventh, Enaam sacrificed one position to focus on setting a competitive lap time to seal a strong grid position for the weekend finale. Having posted a time good enough for a front-row spot in race three, the Briton profited from a last-lap collision between squabbling race-leaders Nicolai Kjaergaard and Callan O’Keefe to cross the line in sixth place.
Ahmed made another fast getaway in the final race to challenge Carlin teammate Cameron Das for the lead heading into Redgate, but backed out in order to avoid contact. Das had looked on course to take his second win of the year when he held a 1s lead at the half-way stage, but Enaam, determined to end the season on a winning note, set about cutting the gap.
Over the next two laps, Ahmed reduced Das’ advantage to just 0.4s – including setting his 13th fastest lap of 2017 – before launching a bold, late-braking manoeuvre from a long way back at the Melbourne Hairpin to dive past Das and move to the very front of the field. Enaam controlled proceedings during the final laps of the season to secure his 13th victory and 18th podium appearance of a remarkable campaign.
Following the 24th and final race of the year, Ahmed said: “I really wanted to end the year with a win so when I got close to Cameron [Das] I just threw it in and it stuck. We didn’t make any contact, I just about managed to stop the car. It was a really good move and ended with a win.
“I just want to say a massive thanks to everyone in the team at Carlin who gave me a really good car all year and now we can go and celebrate a little bit. It’s been a phenomenal year and now I need to focus on what I’m going to do next. It’s going to be an even tougher challenge, moving up the ladder is always going to be tough so now it’s all about getting ready for that.”
Press release by Lewis Larkam
Image: Sarah Warwick