Monday, 30 April 2012

First Race Weekend (Snetterton)

Our first race weekend was at the very wet Snetterton circuit in East Anglia on 28th & 29th April 2012. 
We arrived at 8am and had a pit garage to unload our kit into. 

After signing on at race control, adding the mandatory series decals, the car was safety scrutinised before we headed into the assembly area for qualifying. Our standard exhaust didn't trouble the noise tester!
From the assembly area we were let out onto the track for 20mins of qualifying.  Hitting a very wet first corner was mildly terrifying with a narrow wet racing line to following round the track surrounded by standing water. Going slightly off-line in the corners meant having to back off the power as you understeered towards the grass.  The rear of the car was twitching out of the corners fighting for grip as you bled the power on as gently as possible. I did improve lap by lap as my confidence grew.  I set the 19th fastest time out of 24 and was very happy to have made it round my first competitive track action.

After qualifying our car was weighed for the first time ever at 1373KG.  The minimum weight for the class is 1300KG for our 1st Gen 986 Boxster with 250BHP.

Race #1
The grid is adjusted in class order so I started from pos 12A (aka 13th).  I got away from the line well with no wheel spin but wasn't prepared for the lack of visibility in the spray and the close proximity of the other cars around me.  I got overtaken by both production spec Boxsters and 4 or 5 of the 924's at the first two hairpin corners.  It took the remainder of the race (8 laps) to get back past each of the 924's as I was sandwiched in the middle of great battle for their class lead.I finished 15th of 24 starters.
Race #2
On Sunday morning we returned to a still wet Snetterton and softened the dampers significantly to cure the excessive understeer in the corners.  It worked - giving me confidence to stay ahead of the 924's from the start and set out catching the Boxsters in front of me. I managed to pass one into a hair-pin but missed a gear change at crucial points when lining up the next car for a pass. I finished 14th of 25 starters.
Race #3
During the lunch break it rained even heavier so we softened the front and rear dampers further.  I again got off the line well, loosing places only to the two production spec Boxsters and kept all of Porsche 924's behind me. Taking the confidence from the end of the previous race into the first lap I realised I could keep pace with the Boxsters in front of me and set out catching and overtaking 3 cars.  I was briefly up to 10th but a couple of mistakes let two cars plus a front-runner recovering from a 1st lap spin past.  I finished 13th.