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'Big step up' for simulator driver Jake Dennis in real-life test

Jake Dennis (GBR) Red Bull Racing Test Driver
© XPB 

Jake Dennis had been behind the wheel of the Red Bull RB14 hundreds of times before. But Wednesday's outing was a very different experience for the 22-year-old Briton, as he made his real-world début behind the steering wheel of the F1 car.

Dennis is Red Bull's simulator development driver, but he's not had the chance to drive the current car on an actual track before. The Blancpain GT Series racer was finally handed his maiden F1 appearance by the team on the second day of in-season testing at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya.

"My first day in the RB14 went really well," Dennis said after the end of the day's track time.

"Obviously it’s a big step up from what I’m used to in GT racing," he acknowledged. "But I got used to the speed and the grip quite quickly and we managed to get through the whole run plan in the end.

"The morning session went pretty smoothly and then in the afternoon I managed to get quite a few laps under my belt, which was good."

The purpose of the way's track time was to provide useful correlation for the work that Dennis conducts for the team back in the simulator at Red Bull's factory.

"It was nice to change a few things to give me a proper representation of the difference between the simulator and real life," he said.

"We have a few things to work on back in Milton Keynes to help Max and Daniel and make it even more realistic for them.

"But overall super happy. A big thanks to the team for giving me the opportunity, and hopefully I’ll be back in the RB14 soon!"

Senior projects engineer Jeff Calam agreed that Dennis had acquitted himself admirably with his real world début in the car.

"It was very useful day for Jake," he said. "He was able to get a good feeling for the car and provided us with good feedback throughout.

"In all I’d say he did a very good job and did everything that we asked of him.

"No headlines for us today but the work we did and the data gathered will be of great value going forward," Calam continued. "Today was very much an engineering biased day.

"We didn’t expect to rack up the kind of mileage we amassed yesterday, or to target any kind of meaningful lap time.

"In the morning we were focused on aero mapping," he explained. "After that we had quite a long stop over lunch to make some changes to the car.

"The downtime ended up being a bit longer due to red flags this afternoon," he added. "But while we lost about an hour and a half it didn’t affect the programme we were running and we got through all the test items on the agenda."

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