Saturday, 27 September 2014

Brands Hatch Festival of Porsche

Last weekend we attended the Festival of Porsche at Brands Hatch.   

Whilst the event was primarily a Porsche Club GB event for their members, it was well advertised and open to the public.  We were invited to race as part of the on-track action in addition to a lot of static Porsche displays. 

We arrived on Saturday and did some testing as I hadn't driven the car for several months.  We also changed the setup to suit the slower corners of the Brands Indy circuit.  A more over-steer prone approach was tried to help the acute under-steer out of the last corner.  This comes with a greater risk of spinning and took a reasonable amount of time to get used, and is a not the normal way I set the car up. 

Sunday AM Qualifying:
As the several thousand spectators started to arrive we headed out for qualifying.  Some crazy antics were the talk initially with several cars holding up the pack to create an area of empty track in front.  It came to nothing other than a great photo opportunity (below) and in end there was plenty of room for 26 cars on track in the 20 minute session.
Photo Chris Valentine -
Right at the end of the session I managed to string my fastest lap together, over 1 sec faster than last year.  This bettered my testing time from the day before and we less than 1 second off the front row.  However the series is close, and that's only good enough for 9th on the grid.  

Race 1
Unfortunately my fuel gauge had stuck on zero leading up to the race I somehow convinced myself I was marginal on fuel.  I then messed up my start, reacting to the red lights coming on instead of going off, and having to jump on the brakes to avoid a jump-start.  The lights then went out immediately and I was left stranded with no revs.  I lost five places, including to slower Class-B cars.

Once I had gathered by thoughts and set about passing them back the main pack of Boxsters were 10 seconds up the track.  My fuel garage came back to life and I had plenty so needn't have worried.  

In my mirrors I had a fast approaching race spec Boxster which started from the pit lane. With 5 laps remaining he was on me and we swapped places four times in the space of two laps, until sadly for me, on the last lap I over cooked it into paddock hill, sliding wide gifting the place.  

Race 2
I got a much better start, but didn't gain any places.  Three laps of safety car, then ensued to clear two Class-B Boxsters who tangled right behind me on the first lap and ended up in the gravel.

Once racing resumed, the three cars in front (8th to 10th places) were battling and holding each other up, but I wasn't able to overtake.  I also didn't want to get involved with what looked like some robust defending of position. One car eventually overshot into the gravel at Druids and I was closing in fast on 9th place as the chequered flag came out. 

On retuning to the paddock my family and friends told me I was classified in 20th place and the commentators were announcing me as last and a lap down!  After a long walk back to race control and a discussion with the tsl-timing reps they agreed my transponder had missed a lap at the end of the safety car period and they hadn't noticed. 

Once the laps were corrected and the car in front disqualified for some over zealous defending of position, the race result was re-issued with me 9th.  

Not the results that I wanted over the weekend, my target was 7th position. ( I actually get points for 7th due to guest drivers finishing in grant of me.)

It was the first time we have setup the car to have much more over-steer as opposed to my usual safer under-steer style. I managed to avoid any damage or spins and improved my best lap by over 1 second from last year. 

Plenty of positives and only a few weeks until the final triple race meeting at Donington Park.