Fresh from clinching the French Formula 4 title, Evan Giltaire got his first taste of Formula Regional Europe with ART Grand Prix at Zandvoort last weekend.
“I’m really excited to start with ART Grand Prix this season,” he told Formula Scout in the Dutch paddock. “We will do a lot of testing and the [last] two races.”
He has his sights set on the wider picture. “The goals are to get the experience, of course, to grow up as a human, as a driver and to get the best result as I can,” he said.
Giltaire impressed with his calmness and positive attitude, despite the challenge posed by the difficult weather conditions. “I never drove in the wet before in my life, so it’s interesting” he said.
He built up gradually through the weekend, qualifying sixth for the second race before bringing the car home in an excellent 11th place, when even keeping the car on the track in the pouring rain was a major achievement.
“It was a bit tricky,” he admitted, but felt that he had “managed to get experience and to get confidence with the car. So I’m getting better and better with the car and managed to get some good times.”
Discussions with ART started midway through the season, and “the decision [to come to FREC] was made before the last race at Le Castellet.”
As a result, it took some of the pressure off going into the French F4 finale, “knowing that I will drive in FREC for the end of the year.”
He is coy about his plans for 2024, only commenting that “I hope” to return to FREC with ART. However, the team indicated clearly that this is a long-term arrangement.
“I will take these races for experience for next year. And maybe we have good results too. I really see this weekend for just trying this new car,” he explained.
Prior to Zandvoort he had only driven a FRegional car for “two days at Valencia, so its my third time,” so how did he find the transition?
“It’s like Formula 1 and Formula 3. The difference is amazing between F4 and FREC,” he smiles.
“The aerodynamics are amazing and the speed a little bit but not as much as the aerodynamics. The speed into the corners in the wet is like in the dry, it’s amazing.”
The step away from the centrally-managed French F4 series brings an additional challenge; the increased freedom, and necessity, to work with the team’s engineers to properly set up the car.
“That changes a lot, so you have an engineer for yourself. You have a mechanic. You can change everything in the car. You can work with all the team.
“In French F4 you have only one engineer for five drivers and it is difficult to work. You can’t do anything in the car. And now I’m starting to work with a great team and to know how to work like an F1 or F3 driver, so it’s good.”