A top-flight structure in the feeder series, Arden Motorsport made its debut this year in the Formula Renault Eurocup. Spurred on by Daniel Ticktum, winner of the 2017 Macau Grand Prix, the British outfit finished fifth in the Teams classification, while showing great promise for the future. At the collective tests held at Circuit Paul Ricard we sat down with the Arden Motorsport Team Manager, Ben Salter.
Initially created in 1997 by Christian Horner and his father Garry to compete in F3000, Arden Motorsport experienced its ups and downs until it won its first team title in Italy in 2000, followed by five more in International F3000 between 2002 and 2004 !
The team became a reference in promotion formulas, taking Mitch Evans and Danill Kvyat to the GP3 Series title. Arden Motorsport has also won in the GP2 Series, the Formula Renault 3.5 Series, British F4 as well as in A1 GP.
Recognised for its work methods, Arden Motorsport is also associated with JOTA Sport in LMP2 and starting next year will be with AF Racing’s motor racing arm R-Motorsport in the Blancpain GT Endurance Series.
Building from scratch
Selected to participate in the 2017 Formula Renault Eurocup season, Arden Motorsport had to set up its entire operational structure. The Banbury management chose Ben Salter, who spent time at Fortec Motorsports as an engineer, to build the new team from the ground up.
“I think that one of the highlights of the year was being ready and prepared for the first collective tests at Magny-Cours in March”, says the Team Manager. “The entire team was really impatient to begin in the Formula Renault Eurocup, the step Arden was missing to cover the whole open-wheel ladder for the drivers and personnel. Now, the drivers can join Arden from karting via the Young Racing Driver Academy programme and progress in F4, Formula Renault, the GP3 Series and in Formula 2 !”
Victory and podiums
On the track, the hopes were put in Belgian Ghislain Cordeel, Australian Zane Goddard and England’s Daniel Ticktum, a driver in the Red Bull Junior Team.
Following a learning weekend at Monza, the team scored its first points at its home track. The next day at Silverstone, Daniel Ticktum collected his first podium result and maiden win in the rookie class !
Stringing together successes in the rookie class at Monaco, Dr. Helmut Marko’s protégé scored his first race win at the Hungaroring. Meanwhile, Zane Goddard scored his first points of the season. After a second place and two more rookies wins at the Nürburgring, Arden Motorsport could legitimately aim for a first title in its first season. While the team came up short, Ben Salter nonetheless had reasons to be pleased.
“We are really pleased with our first season in Formula Renault”, he declared. “We hit the ground running at the first test and kept building from there, achieving two podium finishes and one win in the Eurocup, as well as the two podiums in NEC. We mixed it up with the established teams on a regular basis.”
Do even better in 2018 !
Now without their lead driver who has moved on to the next rung on the motor racing ladder, Arden Motorsport doesn’t seem worried to reproduce the same level of performance next year.
During the winter collective tests at Circuit Paul Ricard, the team ran kart racer Sami Taoufik as well as Oscar Piastri and Alexander Vartanyan. Already with Arden for the Formula Renault NEC finale, the latter two kept Arden in the top ten in each of the four sessions.
“The outlook for 2018 is very positive on the back of a successful and positive first season competing in Eurocup”, assures Ben Salter. “We are planning to continue to run our three cars next year. Plus, you can always improve in every aspect and we will not stop improving even when we reach our target of winning !”