MOTOR RACING: Bassingham’s Harvey misses out on Indy Lights title in final race

Jack Harvey finished second in this year's American Indy Lights Championship.
Jack Harvey finished second in this year's American Indy Lights Championship.

Bassingham racing driver Jack Harvey endured a challenging race weekend at Laguna Seca which saw him miss out on the 2015 Indy Lights Championship by just 27 points.

Jack finished as runner-up to Spencer Pigot who just pipped him to the championship title in the final race of the season.

The 2015 season saw the Racing Steps Foundation-backed driver secure two race wins, including the prestigious Freedom 100 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, and record a further six second place finishes over the course of the 16 rounds of the championship.

Jack endured a challenging qualifying session on Saturday morning as he struggled with the balance of his car. A lap of 1min 14.9583sec around the 2.3-mile circuit saw him finish the session with the fifth fastest time.

On Saturday afternoon, the Schmidt Peterson Motorsports driver lined up on the third row of the grid for race one. There was an eventful start to the race with the top seven drivers jostling for position and all seven changing position on track.

On lap three, race leader Max Chilton clipped the apex of the corkscrew which resulted in a flat tyre, forcing him to pit, and Pigot was able to seize the race lead. Ed Jones and Sean Rayhall got up to P3 and P4 respectively, whilst Harvey was in P6.

The issues that Jack faced with car balance in qualifying were still there in race one which meant he was unable to get close enough to the cars in front to make a move for position.

However, with four laps to go, Jack moved up to fifth, which is where he stayed when the chequered flag fell, taking a further 17 championship points and securing the Schmidt Peterson team its second successive team championship.

For race two, and the final race of the 2015 championship, Jack lined up fourth on the grid. The young Brit made a flying start and went into turn one three abreast and in the lead of the race.

However, as the cars went around turn one, he was pushed wide and dropped back to P4.

Lap three saw a full course yellow brought out and Jack was then given a penalty for jumping the start, which saw him sent to the back of the field.

On lap five. the race went green again and Jack raced up to 10th by the end of the lap. Another full course caution was brought out a lap later after Ringel went off the track. It took five laps to clear Ringel’s car from the track and eventually on lap 16 the race went green again with Jack up to P9.

Struggling for grip, Jack fought off a chasing Kyle Kaiser, but was able to maintain his ninth position when the chequered flag fell after 38 laps of racing.

Jack said: “Despite the disappointment, we can look back at a very strong season where I secured two wins and six second place finishes. The highlight of the year was definitely winning the Freedom 100 – it was one of the best moments of my career to date. It’s also a great feeling to go away having secured the Team Championship for the second year.

“I want to say a massive thank you to everyone at the SPM team for all they have done this year. I also want to say a huge thank you to the Racing Steps Foundation, their support is what makes it possible for me to go out and race. And of course I want to thank my family and friends for their constant support. They are my rock and are there every step of the way for me.”