Category: Uncategorised

  • Preparing for my first race weekend

    Cadwell Park is fast approaching. I have been trying to get everything ready. Here’s a quick list of the additional things I have bought in the last few weeks:

    Sparco Race suit, HANS device, AIM SOLO GPS Timer, X2 Race Transponder, Roadhawk 1080p camera for in car recording.

    Speaking to Gary, we want to get as much of the tech in the car and sorted before we begin the season, so I have sent the AIM & Transponder to him to hard wire in the car, saves charging and the fitting faff each time. The PBMW regs state you have to be able to see the driver, interior brake LED and clear road, in case of any post race marshall decisions. The plus side is that will give the best vids which I can get up onto the blog 🙂

    The number of entries for Cadwell has now exceeded the 28 grid slots, so for the first time in a few years PBMW are having A,B,C group races. The latest running schedule is as follows:

    Qualification is 09:30. And then group AvsB race at 12:05, BvsC at 13:50, AvsC at 15:25. Not sure which group I am in yet.

    I have been watching a load of PBMW Cadwell vids on YouTube, and a few private vids that GFR have of good starts, and pole laps. So pre-race I think I am there, how I will do when we are really racing no idea lol. Based on my track day guestimates, my target for qualification is 16th-19th. That would put me towards the mid-pack, and then I need to get a good smooth start and try and defend my position as there will be experienced racers behind. I really hope the weather is dry, Cadwell in the wet for my first ever race sounds one challenge too far, and I could end up with a bent car if I am not careful. The track is so narrow there is no room for error.

    Overall I am ready, and getting a bit nervous for the debut. Bring it on..

  • Track Day: Snetterton 300 06.03.2017

    Went up to Snetterton for my second pre-season track day. The lesson learnt from Silverstone was I have a fairly good feeling for the car but I am limited by my underlying lack of race technique. Not too surprising given I have exactly zero history with motor sport. So the aim for today was take a step back and get the basics right.

    We went out in the morning and I spent a frustrating 15 minutes failing to Heel N Toe with any consistency, often missing completely. So back in the garage and a 20 minute in car session practising up and down through the gears, blipping every down shift. Gary identified my foot position when going on the brake was far too low, and this was the root cause of the issue. So I had to brake on the ball of my foot and this would help to allow the foot to twist for the required action. I got it pretty well when stationary and went off for a tester session. Result, hit and miss but better. When travelling at race speed the forces on the body are considerable, and I was still not getting it quite right. So more practise and by the end of the day I would judge it was adequate but with lots of room for improvement. If I can’t master this and make it natural my speed will be impacted and I will never be able to challenge the mid pack.

    The weather was sunny, then raining and wet, back to sunny. I actually fell off the circuit once, after I misunderstood a third gear corner for a fourth and just ran out of track. We ended up in a big mud pile just a few feet off the track. Red flag and embarrassment as all the cars passed me to get to the paddock and we awaited recovery. D’oh! No damage, just an example of a small mistake leads to a big mess 😀

    The car held up perfectly. None of the small faults that dogged us at Silverstone. The circuit is a real challenge, highly technical, especially under the bridge where you come off the main straight at over 120mph, braking to fourth gear, turning and braking to third, then still on the brakes until you transition into a right hander and catapult the car through. When you hook it up it feels epic! I am starting to accept the cornering potential of the car. Understeer is almost non existent when warm and dry and oversteer is mostly rare as the 140bhp limit keeps the rear tyres not an overwhelming amount of power.

    So overall a kinda backwards learning day, but something I hope will pay dividends in the long run when I am mid season and actually stringing it together. My best lap was a 2:29.1. We never had a clear lap with so much track day traffic and sub optimal temps in March and a passenger in the car make us think we were around 2:27 for my best time. As a comparison, in summer the lap record in PBMW at Snetterton is 2:23, the top 5 are 2:24-2:25 and the pack is 2:25-:2:26. If I am within 1-2 seconds of the pack at this stage I will take that.

    An interesting mix of cars and transporters at the track, as usual the amount of money on show baffles me, but hey it’s a rich mans game, these guys are well out of my league: