LONDON/OHIO: British-Pakistani racer Enaam Ahmed earned another top 10 result this past weekend in the IndyNXT by Firestone race, battling against top drivers and a treacherously wet track in the process.
The seventh round of the 2023 season took place from the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, and the track, which has so many elevation changes that it resembles a roller coaster, was lined with many American fans camping in their tents and trailers cheering on the action.
Ahmed started the Mid-Ohio Grand Prix in 11th, and immediately began fighting his way towards the front of the field. Before the first lap was even completed, the Pakistani Panther had moved his way into the top 10 and was looking for more.
The track had received a heavy rain just hours before the race began, and the track was not yet dry when Ahmed was fighting for position at 180 miles per hour. To make thing even more difficult, light mist began falling in the middle of the race and made the track surface slicker still.
The 23-year-old Ahmed was not daunted by the challenge, and continued to attack for position at every opportunity. At one point he was nearly pushed into the wet grass by Rasmus Lindh, and smartly backed out of the encounter.
If he would have so much as touched the wet grass lining the track, his purpose-built race car would have become stuck and his race would have been over immediately. Ahmed regrouped and was able to pass Lindh a few laps later, using his unmatched pace on a restart to gain another position.
Track conditions worsened near the end of the race, and multiple other drivers slid off into the grass even though they are all the most talented racers in America.
Ahmed was more than happy to take the positions given up by those that crashed, taking care to keep his Cape Motorsports car on the racing surface. As a British Formula F3 champion, Ahmed has learned a lot about how to race in cool and rainy conditions, and it showed this weekend.
“I capitalised on the first laps of the restarts,” said Ahmed, describing the strategy he used to gain positions. “Every time there was a restart I was overtaking, so that was good. It was very, very slick out there.
“The team are making good improvements on the car, it’s just that we get there too late in the weekend. But that’s just because of our lack of experience. The Cape Motorsport guys, it’s their first year doing IndyNXT, and we’re against teams that have been doing this for 10-20 years.
“It’s only a matter of time before we get it right, and once we’re at the front I know we can win.”
This weekend was the third time Ahmed has scored a finish in the top eight, even though he’s just a rookie himself. There is still half of the 2023 season left for him to show what he’s capable of.