McConnell ends on a high note

McConnell ends on a high note

BY BRIAN BONITTO
Associate Editor —
Auto & Entertainment
bonittob@jamaicaobserver.com

Friday, September 18, 2020

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JAMAICA'S racing calendar has come to a screeching halt due to COVID-19. But race car driver Fraser McConnell believes rally could be first off the mark given its 'socially distant' nature.

“The rallies are very spread out. Spectators can do social distance spectating on the stage itself. There are a lot of kilometres per stage, which will allow spectators to spread out. I don't see why this won't be able to take place,” McConnell, 22, told Jamaica Observer's weekly Auto magazine yesterday.

As for circuit racing, he feels that would be more challenging to pull off.

“When Dover [Raceway] is packed with 20,000 it's hard to keep those people separated. It's a nice atmosphere when it's packed with 20,000 people but I don't think it will happen any time soon,” he said.

“Racing is a spectator sport and once we can wrap our heads around making spectators the priority, then the racing will be able to come back. And the only way for that to come back is livestreaming. If the racing committees can find the budget to come with a livesteam system or something to that effect, then the racing can come back,” he continued.

McConnell is currently back in Jamaica after establishing himself as a serious contender in the 2020 RallyX Nordic Supercar Championship held in Denmark, on August 7-8.

He overcame a broken driveshaft to complete his debut year in the supercar class by securing his first podium finish to claim second overall in the championship.

“Well, the season started off with just being a one-off event. Just getting in the supercar for the first time ever in July and that was meant to get some experience and see what the supercar is just like. And then we came off that with decent points in the championship standing, so we decided to go to the second event and, by the end of that, we were fighting for a podium spot on the championship standing. That led us to Denmark for the final event of the series and we were able to get enough points to finish second in the championship, which for my debut season in supercars, I'm pleased with that result,” he said.

McConnell was part of the Swedish-based Olsbergs MSE auto racing team, which he hails as super professional due to their analytic approach to the discipline.

“They actually make and build all the cars for the class I was running for the last two years... And working with them in that class was, I couldn't ask for any better than them... It's one big family. They analysed the data off-track... so when you take it in to the fine details that where you check a lot of the speed... we have a GPS tracking system inside the car and it can tell us the exact speed we're going at the any given point in time around the track and we're able to look at that and analyse that and figure out the best way to get around the track,” he said.

Olsbergs MSE was founded by Swedish former rally champion Andréas Eriksson as Motorsport Evolution (MSE) in 2005. The team has been competing in rallycross since its creation, and was backed by Ford Performance until 2015, and again in 2018.

McConnell said he harbours ambitions of racing in the Electric RallyX series.

“That's the whole drive for me. I'm competing at the highest level that I possibly can, to get noticed and try and secure a seat because electric is the way of the future,” he added.

McConnell has made an impact on the international scene taking the 2019 ARX2 championship, fourth place in RX2 and winning the WorldRX fan favourite award.

In 2017, he received the FIA Americas Award for being top driver in Jamaica.

The FIA (Federation Internationale de l'Automobile) is the governing body of international motorsports.


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