This year, Mark Burdett Motorsport competed in its first full season in the Formula Renault Eurocup. In one of the most competitive categories around, the British team gained a ton of experience with Julia Pankiewicz and Presley Martono. After an encouraging campaign, the goal is to return stronger in 2018!
Created in 1994 by Mark Burdett, the team took part in Formula Renault in 2000, where it gradually moved up the hierarchy to compete at the top of the order before joining the Formula Renault NEC in 2012. After seeing Jack Hawksworh move on to the IndyCar Series, and Andrés Mendéz and Raoul Owens standout in the Renault Sport Trophy, or Jake Hughes win in European F3 and the GP3 Series, the team took the final step this year by participating in the Formula Renault Eurocup full-time
Development as a watchword
For his first season in the Eurocup, Mark Burdett put its trust in Poland’s Julia Pankiewicz, who had already done a year in NEC and Indonesia’s Presley Martono, who won the SEA F4 championship. Two drivers who had nearly everything to learn in 2017…
“Entering two rookies was a challenge for sure, but not one we shy away from”, affirms Mark Burdett. “Our biggest strength as a team is the development of inexperienced drivers.”
In fact, the team is regularly contacted by drivers in search of track time. For instance, Lando Norris prepared his championship winning campaign in putting in several test sessions with the team.
This year, the chore was larger, but both drivers finished consisently in the top 15. From the second meeting of the year, Presley Martono broke his duck in taking the final point on offer at the team’s home round.
“The main highlight was probably Prez’s Top 10 at Silverstone. To have the best result of the year at our home circuit, with a rookie driver and so early in the season was incredible rewarding. Also Monaco is always a bit of a treat!”
While the rest of the season would be harder. Sometimes unlucky, Mark Burdett’s guys nonetheless found the resources to return to the front-half of the field at Monaco, Spa-Francorchamps and Barcelona.
“The low point would be all the ’nearly’ moments, such as last lap at Spa where Prez went for P10 into turn 1 but finished the lap 17th! It was disappointing but, this is racing and it shows just how close Eurocup is.”
With just one point at the end of this inaugural season, where the team’s goals achieved?
“In many ways, yes! With rookies, your focus shifts from pole positions and race wins to satisfaction in progress with an area they struggle with. Our target is always to have a driver end the season with a better set of skills than at the start and we achieved that and much more. We took Prez to a level where top 10 finishes are a reality, and Julia is unrecognisable both as a person and a driver from 12 months ago.”
Assemble the puzzle
“From a Team perspective we did an excellent job”, boasts Mark Burdett. “We had zero failures throughout all ten rounds apart from a failed ECU at R1 Monza, which was incredibly frustrating but we really stepped up the presentation of the team to a level above and beyond what people expected and we have plans to progress again in 2018.”
“We will again be stepping up the image and promotion side of the team, always with the aim to improve results on track”, he concludes. “We will be running three cars in 2018 and continue to push to surpass what we achieved in 2017! We know we work well as a team and the car is good, it’s putting all the pieces of the puzzle together to start challenging for wins which is the interesting part.”