Weekend started with testing booked for me to get a bit more familiar with the track then I was last year. They use the Grand Prix circuit for testing but the race on Saturday would be on the "historic" circuit which is even faster as Club corner loses its tight entry chicane.
Booked a pit garage for this one:
we were sharing with West Tech who were running F3 cars and on the other side were SWB motorsport with their Formula Renault Tattus so we had plenty to keep us occupied between sessions.
During the day other team mates for Saturday began to arrive including this Clio who once inside decided to change the engine there and then!
By Friday evening most, but not all had arrived and we seemed to be invaded by Mini's
Got some good practice in on Friday morning but rain fell in the afternoon so we called it a day, got the car scrutineered and now ready for Saturdays race.
Thankfully, Saturday dawned fine, if foggy, and with me being team leader (well allocated the letter A anyway) I had the honour of first qualifying at 9 am on a still soaked track. You only need to complete 3 laps to qualify and the times don't count for the grid position so its just a matter of getting around safely and bringing the car back in one piece- something many had problems achieving as cars seemed to be flying off or around on every corner. I kept it on the tarmac though, but had to dodge an MR2 that span right in front of me on my final lap.
The Morgan in our team was taking the start, for some reason we were on the back row- row 67! and the fast lead cars had almost caught us before we even crossed the start line. As I was the second driver out, I had to sit for the full 30 minutes helmeted and strapped into the car in order to quickly get out on track should any misfortune hit the driver out on track. Although calm at the time the nerves soon start kicking in as I watched the pit wall crew count down the time before they called the Morgan in. All too soon I was out and heck, it was busy out there. Cars passing each side into corners, good mirror work is essential as the speed differential is unreal. Had one scare at Luffield when I strayed onto some wet grass.... wont be doing that again.
For reasons I have yet to look into, my gear display had packed up on Friday so there were a few tense moments when I released the clutch in what I hoped was second gear for the tight Village/ loop ( or shit corner 1 and shit corner 2 as they are commonly referred to) Invariably it was 3rd (better than 1st I know) which would result in a slow wide exit and about 10 cars streaming past me.
Our team was probably one of the slowest teams this year, we comprised of 4 Mini 7's a Morgan 4/4 and my Clio which was the fastest of the lot, but even with the handicap system we were way off the pace although we were up to an amazing 17th at 4 hours, this fell by the wayside though by the finish and we ended up 54th by the end for unfathomable reasons.
A great event though but must admit the speed differential is scary and this year there seemed to be a lot more really fast stuff out there and less of the classics of the past which is a shame.
familiar face on the pit wall.
I used to spend whole weekends watching Porsche 935's in the Silverstone 6 hour races in my younger days, never though I would ever race against one.......and definitely not in a Renault Clio.
Will sort out some in car video when I can edit it down a bit, but to get an idea of the event, look at this from a Citroen Saxo that took my apex just as I was about to pass an MR2 (unseen) into village. It was my final lap and I was heading for the pits by the way.http://youtu.be/aFoTL7-woeo
thanks to James Ashton for use of his photos.
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never thought I would want a list but now find myself needing one just to remind me: Clio V6 230, Clio cup racer (X85), Clio 200 (X98) clio 182 (X65) (Riku's), Renault sport twin turbo in Panorama blue (van), Spider (Xciting) Clio220 Trophy.