After Cadwell there was over a month without any racing. The Silverstone round that was scheduled for August was postponed at short notice until October whilst the circuit was resurfaced in time for the F1 race. The consolation was that we will be racing the GP circuit which is going to be a great event.
The time between races was an ideal opportunity to upgrade the car to Class C. The majority of the work involved taking as much weight out as I possibly could whilst leaving the engine unmodified. The ideal was to bring the weight down to 950kg which would put the car at the top of Class C power/weight ratio. In the event I could only reduce it to 1050kg, so I am carrying 100kg excess weight, which is a big disadvantage. The only way forward now is to boost the bhp by a commensurate amount but this will have to wait since there is still a lot of work on the chassis to complete.
Significantly I added aerodynamics to the MR2, mainly in the form of a rear wing. This has had a notable effect on the downforce at the rear, making the car understeer. Ironically I am still quicker with the rear wing attached despite this understeer but am working on a front splitter to restore some aerodynamic balance. Should this go to plan, I am excited about the potential net result on the car’s handling since I believe it will reduce my current lap times by a significant amount: time will tell!
Qualifying at Donington for the Roadsports event was a tribute to the upgrades I have made to the car. I smashed my best lap record and went under what was the then MR2 lap record, albeit this was set by an unmodified car. This was subsequently beaten the following day during the MR2 Championship racing, but nonetheless I am greatly encouraged.
Despite the fantastic qualifying I was 4th in Class C in a field of 17 Class C cars and qualified 21st overall out of 41 cars. However, the greatest achievement was to be the fastest MR2 out of 8 other cars, one of which was driven by Sean Traynor, the 2 times MR2 Championship winner and current leader, who was 0.6 of a second behind – that’s quite a decent margin. With respect to the Class C cars in front, I knew 2 of them were sharing the drive and the second driver in each car was significantly slower, so in my mind a second place was achievable. One of the cars was the BMW of Jeff and Lee Piercy, the car I had battled with at Croft in the final stages of the race. This was an encouraging thought especially as it was my first outing in Class C.
Starts have never been my strong point but I managed a blisteringly quick one, launching off like a scolded cat, passing several cars in the process, one of them being a Class C rival! I put this down to the upgrades on the car. After about 10 minutes into the race a car blew its engine depositing oil all over the track just before the Esses. Carnage ensued as the attached clip shows, so a safety car was deployed. Shortly thereafter the pit Lane opened and numerous cars dived in for their mandatory pit stop. Seeing the potential to be trapped in the rush, I elected to stay out for a further lap. Unfortunately this turned out to be a bad decision and I ended up losing time and places. I was running 3rd in Class but having pitted I came out in 11th. Some chasing saw me crawl my way back to 5th with an epic scrap for the last 5 laps or so with a BMW 330 driven by Ivor Mairs. Frustrating I overtook about 3 times but was overhauled down the straights with a lack of top end speed. Memories of Croft …….
Overall result was 5th in Class, 13th overall out of 40 starters. Lots to be encouraged with and valuable lessons learnt. Snetterton is next; bring it on!