Paul Ricard features on the British F3 calendar for the first time this season and Jaafar is keen to have experience of the track prior to the Series’ visit in July. His race weekend will also be valuable as a coaching session, as Jaafar will partner with his regular driver coach, Bruce Jouanny, in the Lanan Racing Ligier JS51 Speed EuroSeries car, the first time that the pairing have driven together in a race event.
Jaafar says of his first race weekend of the year, “The chance to race in the Speed EuroSeries at Paul Ricard was a last-minute opportunity which I jumped at, as I haven’t been to Paul Ricard and track knowledge is so valuable in British F3. Racing with Bruce is a real bonus; not only will we be very competitive with each other, we’ll also be able to discuss the car from a shared experience and I’ll be able to gain Bruce’s perspective on all the elements which he usually can only advise on from my feedback alone.”
The race weekend will offer Jaafar plenty of track time, with the Speed EuroSeries, a sports prototype racing series, featuring a mix of sprint and endurance two-driver races and a total of five and a quarter hours running shared between Jaafar and Jouanny. A one hour free practice session on the first morning precedes a 45 minutes qualifying session on Friday (1st April), two 90 minutes races on Saturday then follow, with a 30 minutes sprint race rounding off the weekend on Sunday morning.
“It’s going to be a great opportunity for me to learn the track with so much running,” says Jaafar. “The primary reason for us to be doing this event is to know the track as well as I can and I hope that by the end of the weekend I’ll have a good grasp of it. We have very limited track time during an F3 weekend, so you want to be using it all for car development, rather than learning the configuration, which eats into the time you have available to work on car set up. It’s fortunate that Lanan Racing had a car available to us and we’re grateful to them for this opportunity.”
“The Series itself is very competitive, with some highly experienced drivers such as Robbie Kerr – one of our team mates –, Warren Hughes and Alex Caffi among the field. There are also a couple of other British F3 drivers doing the event as a one-off, so no doubt we’ll also be measuring our performance against these guys. Bruce and I are both looking forward to the weekend.”
Jaafar and Jouanny’s car will have a special livery for their one-off Speed EuroSeries outing, with the two drivers deciding that it was an opportunity to mark their respects for the casualties of the recent earthquake disaster in Japan. Both drivers have close ties with the country, with Jaafar driving alongside many Japanese racers during his career and Jouanny having raced in the country in the Japanese F3 championship. The car will sport the logo of SAVE JAPAN, a motorsport linked charity founded by Japanese racing driver, Juichi Wakisaka.
Jaafar says, “I have many close friends who live in Japan and have been affected by this natural disaster and Bruce also has many friends there, so when we heard that we had the chance to tailor our car livery for this event, we just wanted to make a small gesture which just shows that we are thinking of them.”
Jaafar and Jouanny will contest the Speed EuroSeries Paul Ricard event from 1-3 April. Further information can be found at www.speedeuroseries.com.