Thursday, 23 August 2012

Rockingham Race Event

After a very early start on Saturday we arrived at Rockingham Motor Speedway in Corby an hour before scrutineering. The US Style Oval track is dominated by the huge wrap-around grandstand seating on one side, with the paddock and in-field track section in the middle.  This is where we setup.
I had never been to the track before, so initially I had to let some slower cars past whilst I got used to the track layout. Watching YouTube on-board videos can only help so much!
As my confidence and speed increased, I tagged onto the back of some front running cars for the last couple of laps and set what I considered a respectable time.  I was still 2+ seconds slower than the main pack of Class-A Boxsters and slower than the Class-B (Production) front runners too.

Race 1
The outside temperature soared as the day went on, and the inside of a race car was not the ideal place to be at 2pm on the hottest day of the year so far.  We were held in the assembly for what seemed an eternity, before going out onto the track.  

I got a poor start off the line, but made up 3 places going round outside of the 1st hairpin turn. I just about kept pace with the pack of cars I was in, but within 2-3 laps they had re-past me. 


Half way into the 20 minute race my pace dropped as the car was sliding more in the corners and braking from 125mph down to 40mph at the end of the banked-straight took its toll on the brakes and tyres. The last few laps couldn't come soon enough as I was tiring rapidly and overheating inside the car.  I finished where I qualified 14th of 22.     

Race 2
On Sunday the temperature was again in the high 20's and we dropped our tyre pressures significantly to prevent the over-heating that happened in Race 1. I also drank several litres of water to prevent me overheating this time too!  When the lights went out - I got a better start off the line, but was tentative through the banked 1st corner and lost 3 places.

I managed to stay within a second of the cars in front of me for the whole of the race.  This time my lap times were more consistent and even improving despite the temperatures outside and inside the car.  On the last lap I overtook the Boxster in front, however made a big mistake into the next corner, running very wide and almost going off, giving the place back. 

Whilst I finished in the same overall place as Race 1 - I was happy given the continuing improvements and the fact we'd never even seen the circuit before qualifying.