Force India protege Jehan Daruvala got his first taste of Formula 3.5 V8 machinery as he took part in the post-season test at Jerez this week.
Daruvala made a successful transition to single-seaters this season, finishing runner-up among the rookies in Formula Renault 2.0 Northern European Cup (NEC).
Along with NEC, the Indian appeared in the sister Alps series, while also occasionally taking part in Eurocup Formula Renault 2.0 championship as a guest driver.
With the 2015 season over, Daruvala proceeded to participate in two major tests in Eurocup and renamed Formula 3.5 V8, to prepare himself better for his second season.
Quickest overall in Eurocup
Daruvala drove for the Fortec Motorsport squad in during the season. However, for the post-season test, the Indian switched to newly crowned Eurocup champions Josef Kaufmann Racing.
On Monday, Daruvala initially led the rain-sodden first session, before falling to eighth place in the standings. With the track rendered dry for the afternoon session, he found his feet, setting the fifth fastest time.
Things turned his way in the third session, with the 17-year-old setting a time of 1m40.642s, enough to propel him to the top of the timesheets.
With rain returning during the final hour of the day, Daruvala was third fastest in the final session but remained quickest overall, beating NEC foe Max Defourny by three-tenths of a second.
“To work with another team is a different experience,’’ Daruvala said after the day. “I had to get used to the car during the morning. It was good on new tyres and I am happy to have been the fastest. It was a strong day, we were consistently up front.”
Fruitful Formula 3.5 V8 test
After Eurocup testing on Monday, Daruvala got behind the Formula 3.5 V8 cars on Tuesday and Wednesday.
Driving for Comtec Racing – which only took part in a single round this season – Daruvala set his fastest time of 1m29.988s in the afternoon session to finish 15th overall at the end of the first day.
Times tumbled further on the second day for Daruvala as the Indian got used to a more powerful engine and a car with far better driving dynamics.
He improved to finish 14th overall at the end of the day, with a time of 1m28.886s in his maiden fruitful 3.5 testing.
Raghunathan also in action
European F3 regular Mahaveer Raghunathan was also in action at the post-season Formula 3.5 V8 test, driving for the same outfit as Daruvala.
After missing the last round of the F3 season last weekend, the Chennai-born driver was 18th on the first day of testing while 17th on the second day with a best time of 1m30.767s across the two-days of testing.