Monday, 31 August 2020

Race Day - British GT

We turned up at Brands Hatch not really sure how the day was going to run.    Access to the paddock was strict due to the high profile event and c-19 restrictions preventing the public having any access.  

The Porsche area was full so we grabbed space next to the biggest truck you have ever seen belonging to the F3 Double R Racing team.  A touch out of our league there just on the number of spare wheels and front wings carried.  

Sign on and scrutineering was done via electronic declaration before the event. We managed minor drama finding the fire extinguisher battery flat so needed a hasty trip to the nearest petrol station for a new 9v pp3. 

At the morning briefing we learned of a number change from 46 to 146 due to a clash with the 'cole trickle days of thunder replica nascar' so some 1s were hastily cut out and added to the car just before qualifying. 

Was busy with 46 cars starting from pit lane. I found some reasonable space to learn the track in to start with but never got a clean lap.  It was damp in places so needed some respect - especially up the back of the GP circuit amongst the tree lined track sections screened from the wind.  A mid session safety car was unhelpful, and I felt the car could have been pushed aside more quickly.  After 8 minutes slow lapping I did get clear track for 3 laps at the end of the session going 1s quicker each lap into the 1m49s for 16th place on the grid 6th best Porsche.

Rain threatened all afternoon as we waited for our main race, so talk turned to planning the pit stop tactics as we watched the British GT qualifying and F3 race beforehand.  I went back to our pre-planned suspension setup for dry as the car had good balance and turn-in handling in qualifying so didn't want to do anything too radical there.  

40 Minute Pit Stop Race

On track we were gridded up as usual but followed the safety car round for my first ever rolling start.  Staying in formation as the pace  quickened towards he end of the lap was fine, but the car in front checked up just as the lights went out round clearways and I got jumped by 3 V8s and a Porsche Boxster before paddock hill bend.  With the Porsche and V8s mixed up on the grid with very different performance characteristics it was always going be interesting!  I narrowly avoiding a spinning Nascar replica at druids  and the first 5 laps were brutally close racing as we scrapped for position.  

Every time I got past on the bends the V8s just roared past down the straight and I could see the class leader PDA  Boxster disappearing into the distance.  I managed to pick off two round the outside of druids and block the inside until the GP circuit where my the aero wing and splitter allows me to build a gap round the fast flowing corners. 

I got straight onto chasing down and passing the Boxster in front and headed into the pits for the mandatory 2 minute stop with Leigh right on my bumper.  I found my crew (my son and brother) waving a yellow jacket adn took a drink whilst they took a couple of psi out of my tyres which were v hot.  

We left the pits bumper to bumper (Leigh having jumped me by a second in the stop) and I wasted no time getting past.  Every time I tried to get more than couple of seconds lead other cars brought us back together.  We swapped positions at least 5 or 6 times to the end what was an amazing race for us.    

With I two minutes (2 Laps) on the clock and was desperate to hold position with my tyres and brakes rapidly over heating.  Coming down into clearways Leigh got alongside yellow flags mean't we both had to check-up - it didn't matter and the chequered flag was out a lap early due to the 6pm noise curfew.  

I genuinely had no idea where I finished overall, how many positions I gained or lost by pitting early or how many overtakes after were for position.  I was solely focused on the Class battle.
I finished P9 overall (setting my fastest lap on the penultimate one having learned the track by then) which is pretty special given I dropped back to 20th on the first lap. 

An amazing race and winning the PDA Boxster class was fantastic.  Moreover just being part of a 46 car grid with really respectful drivers who value their cars more than a position on track is what the CALM Porsche trophy is all about.  

Onboard showing battle for PDS Class lead:

Hopefully we'll be back for some more in 2021.