"Summer Camp" for Carlin's Alberico
 July 17, 2016| 
  • Team News

Over Independence Day weekend when most people were ringing in the holiday with cookouts and fireworks, Carlin driver Neil Alberico found out you’re never too old to go to summer camp – even if it’s in England.  

Alberico traveled across the pond to visit Carlin’s headquarters in Farnham, Surrey, where cars are prepared to compete in the F4 British Championship, BRDC Formula 3, EuroFormula Open, the FIA Formula 3 European Championship and the GP2 Series. 

“I think bringing me over as an American driver was their way of showing me what they’re really made of, and how many resources they truly have,” Alberico said. “Everything is pristine. Their plan is to model their US headquarters for American racing after the UK location. If they continue on that plan, it’s going to be awesome. They have a simulator and all of their old cars. It’s like walking into a museum.” 

The Los Gatos, Calif.-native spent an entire day on the simulator with Carlin’s F3 engineer, mostly working on the Toronto street circuit. Now past the halfway point of the 2016 Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires season, Alberico felt refocused after returning to the US. 

“It was good for me to get away from America and feel like I could start fresh coming back,” he said. “It’s easy to have your head down racing here and then all of a sudden look up and see that the season is over. To go there for racing but also have some free time to spend with my engineer gave me a new head of steam.” 

When he wasn’t at Carlin’s headquarters or at their workout facility, Alberico explored the area with his engineer Mark Owen. 

“Mark has two teenage sons, and one of them is really into horseback riding,” he said. “We went to a polo match one day, and got to explore the countryside a lot too.” 

Alberico drove and lived in England for a year in 2011, but staying in Winchester with his engineer’s family allowed him to explore an area that was new to him. 

“Mark worked for McLaren in the ‘80s in F1, so he had a lot of old mechanic friends in the area that we caught up with one day in a pub called the Duke of Cumberland,” he said. “The pub was 700 years old, but that’s normal over there! They don’t have hurricanes or earthquakes like we do, so the buildings stay up forever.” 

He also took time to sample the local cuisine. 

“I think people like to give England a bad reputation for food,” Alberico said. “But if you’re actually there, the average restaurant is way better than in the US. There are fewer chain restaurants, and there’s a ton of small pubs that have been around forever and make great food. In the US you have to spend a bit of money to get good food, but that’s not the case in England.” 

After his trip to “summer camp” Alberico returned home to the sunshine and waves of Southern California, but his work at Carlin’s headquarters and taste of English life are sure to stick with him. He returned to racing action last weekend with two Indy Lights races in the Streets of Toronto. 

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