James Harding is now a Formula Virtual pole sitter, has joined the list of drivers on the podium in Formula Virtual, and has now confirmed he will race in the 2017 season following his and Lopez's best result to date. Following the Chinese V-Prix Lopez and Harding greeted the media indoors after showers hit Shanghai following the race.
Harding: "It's been the best 3 days of my career. Our maiden pole and converting it into 2nd place. It's really what dreams are made of. I've never been so satisfied with how the car performed today. We were quick in the rain on Friday and Saturday, and with no dry running we were still the fastest car behind Simon, so I can't thank the team enough for the hard work they put into this car. It's the best I've ever driven in this series. I'd like to thank my family more than anyone for supporting me through all the tricky times in my career, none more substantial than Sepang 2014. The support from them as well as the community was second to none and they motivate and inspire me to keep pursuing my dream every day, I'd also like to thank the team, Downton for their fantastic engines, the fans, and all the other drivers who visited me in hospital and showed their support in the aftermath of my accident, most notably Michal Kubat, who is the friendliest person you could come across, and we still share a good relationship to this day.
Big shout-out to van Snelheid today as well from 15th to 4th. He's going to be a star of the sport and I love working with him at the factory and the circuit. I'll have to share with him the tips to the trade of wet weather qualifying, and some further English lessons.
To come from where we were in 2104 to where we are now is something I would have laughed at whilst lying in my hospital bed. To announce my commitment to 2017 following a weekend featuring our maiden pole and podium for the team is a dream come true for us all. I hope this is the first of many for the team and I hope Jochem can mimic me too."
Lopez: "James... you stole my lines.
As team manager I am over the moon with what we achieved this weekend. First pole, first podium, so we felt announcing Harding's 2017 drive felt like a fitting way to end the best weekend for our team. James threw the kitchen sink at qualifying and I believe he is among the best wet weather drivers in Formula Virtual.
We took a gamble on setup given we had no dry running, and to only be beaten by the DS of Simon shows how sweetly our gamble paid off for Harding. We took a similar approach for Jochem and he cruised all the way from 15th to 4th, where as our rivals at Meteor struggled, which just showed the difference between getting it right and getting enough as I viewed it.
Both of our drivers I believe are in the elite class of Formula Virtual. Harding is the most liked figure given what he went through in 2014 after his horrific crash. To come back from that and now say he has a pole position and podium to his name after 3 seasons of hard knocks gives me all the confidence that younger drivers can look at him as an inspiration back home in Australia, and across the world. Jochem and Harding are building a really strong relationship between themselves and the rest of the team, so we hope we can really continue to make ourselves the 'complete' racing team we want to become here in FV. Today's result is the first step in that direction this season, and it's all in our hands now to get ourselves toward the top of Formula Virtual."