Most days on the track are amazing; other days are more than amazing. Today was beyond all forms of amazing. It left me speechless, humbled, and in awe of how lucky I am.
This was my first trip out with the Ginetta on the trailer. I’d had to take the motorhome and trailer to work the day before because I was attending the Yorkshire Entrepreneur Awards evening as an alumni of the 42 under 42 awards. I didn’t arrive at Rockingham until 1:30am on Friday morning. It was really nice to just pull over in the paddock and climb into bed. 5 hours later, I was awake and unloading the car off the trailer. Weather was looking good, I signed on and met up with my instructor for the day, Steve Lewis. I’d spent 20 minutes with Steve at a previous track day at Rockingham and really liked his manner.
It was a test day on the International Super Sportscar Long circuit – so we had 4 time limited sessions on the track. Everybody almost missed the start of the first session due to a huge number of trucks arriving for British GT in the tunnel leading to the inner paddock.
Throughout the day we were battling with traffic on the track. The faster GT5 cars scuppered nearly all opportunities for a clean lap. I managed to get down to a 1:49 time with two in the car. Pif Paf was my party piece. My line was good through Kirby, giving me a potential advantage on the the Steel Straight in a race. Tarzan was getting better, and Brook chicane was providing faster entrance speed onto the bank. The Avon tyres really made this course enjoyable. Steve was enjoying the gains we were making. There’s no doubt that the Ginetta is an amazingly rewarding car to drive. If you get things right – the rewards are phenomenal.
A lot of things fell into place on this day. Steve covered a huge amount of stuff, both on and off the track. He showed me how to overtake – something I’d not really had any advice on before (nor the pace). He talked me through race prep and what to do when waiting in the holding areas. Previous track days had been all about just learning to drive and getting used to the environment. Today was about moving beyond that and learning to race. I hadn’t been ready to take all this detail on until now. I returned to the paddock after the last session feeling I’d matured into a different and better driver.
It could have all ended there.
Through out the the day, the new GRDC drivers were introducing themselves to me. Many of them said things like “oh, you’re Guy Redwood” and then would thank me for the videos I’d shared on Youtube. It seems they’d really appreciated my previous laps at Rockingham. One of the drivers even said my videos had inspired him to buy the car and sign up in the first place.
I’d also had a few missed calls from Kenton – who was keen for me to get my data reviewed. It’s just not good form to take a call when out on track….
As I was packing up for the day, I had an unplanned visitor. Ade Barwick, British GT driver, pulled up in a gorgeous Audi RS6, popped out and asked to review my VBox data. He also inspected my wet tyres and told me to replace them as I’ll need better rubber for the rain forecast for Sunday. Ade worked through my video slowly and gave me a load of advice for Rockingham in both wet and dry conditions, building on my day with Steve.
Ade gave me an important bit of advice twelve months ago about racing. He told me about how he’d learnt to race in the Caterham Academy, told me how he’d progressed and then just stated that there’s no substitute for track time and tuition. It’s the only way to progress. That bit of advice has inspired me the most to date – Ade came from the back to now race at the front, and win. He’s a bit of a motorsport idle for me. One of the nicest blokes in motorsport you’ll ever meet.
So the day ended there. Possibly the happiest I’ll ever be at a race track.