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First win feelings

Horatio Fitz-Simon on his debut win

Horatio Fitz-Simon scored his first win the Historic Formula Ford championship at Silverstone two weeks ago. Vintage Formula Ford caught up with him that weekend, before his third-race disappointments, to talk to him about what the victory meant for him.

The win was actually the second of the day for Fitz-Simon; he piloted a Lotus 22 for the first time to win his debut Formula Junior race. He had support from both family and friends trackside.

“I’m glad my father’s been able to come out here. He caught the last flight over a couple of nights ago,” he said. (His father lives in the USA.)

There was also another special guest looking on. New Zealand Formula One driver Howden Ganley has been mentoring Fitz-Simon for some time now.

“He’s here today. It’s the first time he’s ever watch me race. I’ve taken a lot of advice from him over the years.”

Fitz-Simon credits some guidance from Ganley for his Race 2 win, which was by a slender margin of 0.108s over Cam Jackson.

“One of the most important things is not to drive on the mirrors and to always watch what’s going on ahead of you. I didn’t even know what the margin of victory was at the end.”

He described himself as “over the moon” with his win, but had been confident all weekend.

“It was a difficult result in Race 1, because I felt I finally commanded it. It felt like every time someone would get past, I’d be able to just motor back past them. Especially under braking going into Brooklands.”

The Silverstone National circuit was the scene of his debut at the 2019 Walter Hayes Trophy and he is obviously fond of the track.

“It was quite good in Race 2 as well. Even when they got a tow on me, they get miles ahead and I’d be so much later on the brakes.”

A jubilant Fitz-Simon was on such a high after the chequered flag that he forgot to pick up his car’s nosecone, which had come off in a tangle with Tom McArthur’s car.

“It was at Becketts. I was too involved in enjoying the moment on the cooldown lap to stop and grab it. I could see it the whole time on the left.”

Despite dividing his time between Northamptonshire and California, US racing has never been Fitz-Simon’s goal.

“I wa always brought up on the impression that if you wanted to make a career in motor racing, you had to move to the UK, because it’s the most talented drivers in the world. The thing about America is it’s all American drivers, here, it’s international drivers.”

He has plans for next season, about which he is remaining tight-lipped, only admitting that he intends to be racing “serious and faster” modern single-seaters in the UK. Historics will still be part of this plan though, with more outings in the Junior expected.

By Rachel Harris-Gardiner

Rachel Harris-Gardiner is the editor of Vintage Formula Ford and former Historic editor for ff1600website.com. She is a regular contributor to Autosport and Motorsport News and writes her own blog about women in motorsport, Speedqueens.

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