Well it was a cracking end to the season. Donny as I like to call it, is my favourite track and a real pleasure to drive. In qually it was wet all the way. Half the grid went for slix and the other half including me went for the wets. That was the right call as Donnington is very slippery with jet fuel from the airplanes and stays wet for a long time. My team decided that for the final race they would join the public and just spectate , which was fine by me as all they have seen of car 77 has been from pit wall, it was a great chance for them to see some racing action and they watched from Redgate corner .This meant I had no pit board to tell me where I was at , so I steadily increased speed aware of my wet track record. The car felt planted and strong so I pushed on but well within what the car could do. I did well, when I pulled into the pit I was told I had Quallied in second place and I was well chuffed with that being as I had driven safely to get round and not for once fallen off track.That’s not to say I didn’t have my moments. The down shift auto blip was turned on for the first time and it worked really well from the start. We will have to do some fine tuning but all in, it was about there from the start. We missed pole position by a tenth so front row was very good.
The race was dry and slix were the order of the day. It was a great feeling lining up on the front row. I have been on the front row a few times this season but it’s always a blast. Little was I to know that plans for a race win would be thwarted by a new fuel map we were trying out that was to flood a plug and give us less power than we are used to. We were testing a few bits and pieces out in race conditions for next year so were not to disappointed with the power drop in fact it bodes good for next years car. I had a good launch off the line and lead into Redgate the first corner but it was clear I was not going to hold off Tim Davis or Dean Cook who were flying, for very long.Once I had them in front of me half a lap later, I steadily pulled away from the chasing pack and enjoyed my drive in third place immensely, overtaking the tail markers and generally having some good fun playing with my car, especially the gear box which is now working perfectly. It was really good to see my friends in the Challenge and it is always a great pleasure to be in a grid of TVR Tuscan’s.
Many Many Thanx to all the team that has helped this year with car 77 you know who you are. Beer is on me.
Great weekend of racing despite no points in round 7.Hot or what in the Combe Pits 32 degrees to be precise. Phil & I had a great race in Future Classic’s with the rover car getting on the podium with a third in class after putting car second on grid next to a very quick 308 Ferrari. We won our GT race and got fastest lap. So maximum points on Saturday . Sunday however saw a repeat of a blocked injector in qually which put us second in class on the grid , no problem though as we were only 4 tenths off class pole. Fixed for the race we were hoping for a repeat performance . 14 and three quarter laps later with a 40 second lead a bearing failed while I coasted to a halt a stones throw from the line so instead of 8 points I came away with one point for fastest lap. We now have edged away in the overall Championship now 4 in front.
Race Report Castle Combe May 6th
As the paddock stirred at 6.30 I poked my head out of the tent flap to be greeted with a glorious view of the paddock and the sun shining at the begining of what would turn out to be my most enjoyable race day to date,well almost the best anyway.
Great the scene was set for two qually’s and two races all on the same day,so plenty of driving and to add to the excitement we were having the two races broadcast live on Sky TV. To add to the slight pressure I was feeling we had the company of a representative from the cars sponsors Crowthorne.com and it was good to meet up with Andrew and Luke who I met last at Silverstone last year. They were up for a good days racing and hopefully to see their car perform at the top of the class as it did last time out in the championship where we won and now lead class “D”.
So on with the day and qually one was for the Championship race so I really needed to get a shuffle on and get up the front of our class. So at 9.39 I gunned the Tuscan out of the pit lane to start getting myself and the car upto temperature and also I had to bed new brake pads in so I would have to treat the braking a little less aggressive than I normally do. I always have in my mind that I need to do three laps to get a qually time so I use those first three safe laps wisely then I can start to get my head down to the fast laps. I have on a well used set of slix that I need to last the days racing before I can change them for some slightly better used slix that I am saving for the next round. The car felt really good and was quick from the off,I was rewarded with a cracking time of 1:10.229 on lap 6 of 10 with an average speed of 94.83mph this is my personal best time round Combe and was my second class pole position.
Qualifying two was at 11.42 for a fun race for the GT cars and another chance to shine in front of the cameras. This started as normal and we built up to a great lap on 6 of 7 a 1:11.392 giving us class pole again and 12th on the grid. That was a really good result and I was all set for two cracking races in the afternoon. The temperature was climbing.
RACE ONE COMBE GT
This was the big one that I really wanted to do well in , not only for the points in the championship but for the sponsors Crowthorne.com who have been very patient last year and have not enjoyed all the success that they deserve. So to say I was a little nervous would sum up the feeling as they held us on the grid. The next thing to happen was quite unusual for me. As the lights started to come on and the rev’s were climbing ,my brain decided to over heat and I jumped on the gas as all the red lights came on and not as I should have done, when they went out. School boy error. I,m really embarrassed about this error and the down side to a false start was a mandatory 10 second penalty putting me back to second place at the race finish. Just to rub some salt in the wound the winners time was 14:49.064 and my time was 14:49.640 with my penalty taken off my time so as you can see not even a cigarette paper between us. That leaves me after being awarded the fastest lap point as well extending my lead in Class “D” but a race I will not forget in a hurry because of jumping the start.Still looking on the bright side Crowthorne did get a large chunk of TV time as a consequence.
It has been a really hot afternoon and as we rolled out for the grid to form up at 18.16 the heat shimmers were still coming from the track. I would not repeat my false start again and did set off a few seconds slower than I normally would have done. I steadily pulled away from the rest of the Class “D” cars and spent a steady race lapping in the 1:13′s to give me a race win,fastest lap and pole for a clean sweep. All in all a great days racing and to have lowered my lap time again means I hope to get into back of the quicker radicals in the next couple of races once we get some new slix on the car.