11th September 2015

Donington – two days of learning

By gredwood In Race Prep

In preparation for the last weekend of racing GRDC+ racing, I booked a track day on the GP circuit at Donington Park and some tuition with Tom Oliphant. This was my first day out in the car since the car had been repaired after my accident at Brands Hatch. This is Tom’s favourite track and the weather was good. Hopes were high for setting some pace.

Ginetta G40R on the trailer for DoningtonThe briefing by the Track day organiser, Book-a-Track was harsh. Race licence holders (80% of the room) were warned that if they came off the track, they’d be banned for half a day. This seemed unfair as the track day was well supported by people racing at the weekend, who I assume the track day was organised to attract.

The weather was perfect but the morning had a high number of red flags. The overtaking by consent rules were being flaunted by a few – and I managed about 8 laps in total.

Tom’s tuition was awesome. Once again reminded that I’m very lucky to have Tom teaching me. He’s one of the best up-and-coming pro drivers on the circuit at the moment. In 8 laps I’d got my time under 2 minutes with two in the car and the afternoon mission was to get well below this.

Unfortunately, I was black flagged on the outward lap after lunch. So we headed back into the pits.

The marshals had spotted something hanging off my car. This turned out to be my radiator fan.

I decided to call it a day and trailer the car back home, not wanting to do any damage to the car.

I returned on the Friday for a pre-race weekend, day of testing with new fans fitted. Instructors were not allowed, so it was down to me using vbox data and mental notes from Tom in my head.

My pace in the morning was hunting around 2 minutes. I had lots of excuses.

The car needed a fuse replacing due to having two fans now – which the Ginetta gang sorted.

After a post lunch sit down and chat to myself, I got my time down.

I focused on the areas Tom told me to and it paid dividends. My 1:57 laps improved. At the end of the day I managed three 1:56 laps in succession. My ideal time was lower…. But apparently we don’t talk about ideal times?

My day of testing was done; very pleased with my times. I was in a mischievously happy mood all evening.

Here’s the video of the first of those 1:56 laps. 4 seconds faster than my fastest lap here, last year.

And it’s far from perfect so there’s a few extra seconds to be had in it?

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