RACE REPORT SILVESTONE
We had good dry weather on Friday,Saturday & Sunday for what should have been a wet weekend. I had tested on Friday and the car was on top form pulling some very interesting lap times. We decided to put the front splitter on and the rear wing to have a play. I have never driven a car with aero aids on so I was really looking forward to finding out what the car would feel like bearing in mind it is a very quick car anyway. Answer is it was amazing. The grip levels are far in front of a non aero car in the braking zones and turn in area,I have yet to explore mid corner speeds where I think the big gains are to be found and as I like fast long sweeping corners I shall have to attack turn one at Rockingham in three weeks.
This took place at 10am and it was dry and warm so I was in for a good one. The car had been running really strong and we expected to get near the front. I was at the back of the holding area and came onto the track with quite a few cars in front to get through before I would be able to find space to turn on a good clear lap. I came through the traffic warming the car and tyres until on lap 9 I came through into an open track the car was really on song although a little down on my usual speed which I think is down to the drag induced by the splitter and rear wing. On lap ten I recorded a time of 1:01.345 an average of 96.26 MPH come on that was good enough for third on the grid just behind Dean Cook and Michael Saunders who was on pole with a 59.991.So that was fantastic only 1.354 sec off pole position. We are definatly getting to grips with this Crowthorne Tuscan. Sadly that would be the start of an electrical issue that was cutting the engine periodically and was to stay unresolved all weekend.
Race one :
We had a cracking start and was up to second ahead of Saunders into turn one but two miss attempts to get into fourth meant we exited in fifth. We came passed clegg who was having cold tyre issues and was on the back of Dean cook in second place. As we crossed the line to start lap two dean left a gap into turn one and I took him in the turn in faze and thought we were going to get to fight with dean and his sequential gearbox which is worth about a couple of seconds a lap. That was not to be as the cutting out problem was still unfixed and we dropped back until lap 7 when I had no choice but to retire the car with a best lap of 1:01.883
Race two :
Placed on row 8 out of 9 was not ideal after our DNF in race one. Itt did however excite me as I would have the chance to see how far I could get to the front in 20 minsstrangelyy that wasexciting. II would prefer to have been at the front end as the Crowthorne Tuscan usually is but we were confident we had the pace to make the podium and my driving had been good all weekend. The team had spent into the wee hours of Saturday night getting to the bottom of my electrical issues which we thought was injector problems with cylinder one and seven,also a faulty crank sensor. My thanks to Steve Howard who went literally out of his way to his work shop to get a crank sensor for us. It was as it turns out a futile effort as the car continued to cut out all race long. We did cross the line in 9th place from the 14 finishers with a best lap time of 1:02.417 and completed the 19 laps. The Crowthorne Tuscan has shown me that we will be on the podium at Rockingham in three weeks time. I was on pole position for last years race. We shall find out what step we take shortly.
If I’m being honest I thought it might be race weekend over but all my thanks and praise goes to the Crowthorne team as they were starting to strip the engine down straight away and I knew they were going to make every effort to get it fixed! Not to hinder them I left them to it saying “I would see them in the morning and would keep my fingers crossed”
Start of race day 2 I got to the track feeling ok with whatever outcome would be from the teams monster efforts, I got to the garage with Perry saying they couldn’t promise any good news until the car was out on track performing as it should, but they had found both head gaskets had blown and with the new ones in place it was looking promising. fortunately we had a free 20 mins practice session on Sunday morning and I took the car out on track and it felt great and even with my balaclava and helmet on I was grinning ear to ear and set about improving my times, I managed to find the extra lap time that would have put me in 3rd in Class B so I had renewed confidence for race 2.
Race 2 was my first ever Wet tyre / Slick tyre call and with the circuit fully wet 1 hour before our race was due to start it was a difficult call, after some advice from the team especially Phil and yes the flick of a coin I decided on the dry / slick setup which turned out to be definitely the right call! Going round onto the grid I was side by side with my team mate and team owner Perry so the pressure was on to get a good start in front of the boss! Had another good start but got boxed in a little by a Class A car who had lit up the rear tyures on the start line, I managed to get inside 2 cars on the first corner again. I felt I could push on really well early on as the tyres seemed to have plenty of grip and I managed to get the guys running 2nd and 3rd in Class B in my sights and I couldn’t believe it I was actually catching them on braking, I was trying to brake later and later but unfortunately I had a big lock up and flat spotted the tyre and found it really hard to pull the car up after that so ended up dropping back off the 2rd & 3rd place guys. After a few more laps the braking didn’t seem to judder as much so I was able to push on again and then I saw the car in Class B P3 had spun I went by and managed to keep putting in consistent times to finish 3rd best Class B car and 8th overall which is definitely better than I had dreamed of at the start of the weekend!
It felt so good to be on the podium again spraying Champagne and coming away with 2 Trophies is unbelievable, so best go out and see if I can find some money to do it all over again!