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Burpspeed: Brands Hatch Race Report



  172 Race Car
Sunday 9th May 2010 - Brands Hatch Tintops Race



A grey and overcast morning met us at Brands Hatch for our first race meeting.






We setup our area for the day and got the kettle on. With us for the day were our friends Bomber and Mike. They were a fantastic help throughout the day. To make sure we didn't miss anything we had made up a notice board but left it too near the kettle.








There wasn't much to do on the car as all the prep had been done but we did modify the bumper slightly to improve the airflow to the alternator and swapped the wheels over for our race wheels.

At 9:30 we made our way to signing on and Bomber took the car in to be scruiteneer'd. A very quick visual check under the bonnet, followed by a seat and seatbelt check, lights check, engine cutout test and an inspection of our race wear and we were done. No issues and a pass sticker issued. First step accomplished.

Matt from Tour-De-Force had come up bright and early to make sure we had no issues with the car. He couldn't stay for the whole day. After he had given the car a quick check over, me, Matt and Tony went for a walk around the perimeter circuit to benefit from his circuit knowledge. We discussed lines, and braking points whilst watching the Formula Palmer Audi boys make a right mess of the place in their first race.






We made our way back to the paddock and got our race suits on ready for qualifying. It was a long way from where we were based in the outer paddock to the pit lane. Me and Tony hung out the back of the car and Bomber drove us over. We planned to run qualifying as a practice for the race. Tony would start the race so he ran the first stint in qualifying. Using the pit signalling board we would give him a 3 lap countdown to pit for the driver change. He set off from the pit-lane and joined the track. It was quite a busy session with 32 cars in our race. He was stuck in traffic for the first few laps and gradually warmed up the tyres and got used to how everything felt. Having brand new tyres was something new to us and the balance of the car was massively different to what it was at combe. The car had developed quite a bit of understeer on the new rubber. On lap 5 he had a clear lap and posted a 58.8second lap. The next lap the understeer caught him out at Clearways. Instead of forcing the car, he let it run gently into the gravel and just nosed the car in. It was stuck! The marshals tried to push it back out but the gravel at Brands actually works. So that was it, with 24mins of the session still to go we were out of it and I hadn't driven a lap.






I ran up to the clerk of the course to have a chat about how I was going to get into the race that afternoon. The regulations state that every driver must complete at least 3 laps of the circuit before taking part in the race. There wasn't time to get out in another practice session as ours was the last but one. The officials were very helpful and advised us to sort out the car, make sure it was all ok and go back and see them. The car was towed out and Tony drove back to the paddock. Our pit crew of Bomber and Mike set about removing as much gravel as they could find, that stuff gets everywhere. Front brakes stripped down to remove all the loose stones and the bumper off as well.









The guys worked all through out the lunch break to get the car as free of gravel as possible as me and Tony attended the drivers briefing. Bomber then drove the car around the paddock to shake loose the remaining gravel. Race control got me to complete the mandatory 3 laps behind the safety car after the FPA's 2nd race. I followed the safety car at a very steady pace for the 3 laps, avoiding several Palmer Audi cars that were being dragged, looking very battered, out of various gravel traps around the track. I didn't really learn anything, but it ticked the box, made sure the car felt ok and went through the gears fine and meant we were both in the race. With all the rush with getting the car cleaned up we hadn't even looked to see where we had qualified. Turns out we were in 20th position. Not bad considering Tony only got 1 clear flying lap. So everything calmed down, we all sat down for a bit of a rest and we watched the video footage of Tony's off.





Our race was due to start at 17:05 so at around 16:30 we made our way to the assembly area.



Tony lined up on the outside of row 10 and when the lights went out made a good getaway. He stayed to the outside along the pit straight and into paddock hill bend. Trying to stay out of trouble. The last thing he wanted was to have to drag the car back to the pits with bits hanging off before id had a proper run. Meanwhile further back on the grid there had been a very nasty start line shunt after a car had stalled and the safety car came out. With cars 2 or 3 wide along the back straight everyone had to brake very hard to avoid each other as the safety car slowed the field, Tony had slipped up the inside of a few cars by this point and was up to P18.





The safety car stayed out for 6 minutes as the mess was cleared from the grid, thankfully everyone was ok. In the pits we discussed what to do about strategy. We had planned to bring Tony in around half way through the race and give him a 3 lap count down. I decided to leave him out a little longer and start the count with 22 Minutes to go. Tony out on track was trying to get heat into the rear tyres and leaving a gap to the car in front so he could take the corners slightly faster. This meant he didn't see the lights on the safety car go out and was quite far back when it went green. He settled into a good pace and was lapping in the high 58's and starting to close on the 2 cars in front, an Alfa 156 and Honda Civic. He managed to get a good run at the Civic coming along the main straight and bravely passed on the inside into paddock hill bend. A little defending was needed into Druids but the Civic had another car behind him so Tony got into some clear air. The following lap he did a 58.6 to beat his qualifying time by 0.3sec. Then the safety car came out again. Tony hadn't seen the board on the start finish line and he passed a 205 GTI at the bottom of the hill and had to let him back past. By this stage he was in P13.








We were now at 22 minutes remaining and in our pit window. Other people around us were starting to pit. We dispensed with the 3 lap countdown and called him straight in but he had to do a full lap behind the safety car. We hadn't had a chance to practise our driver change so we just winged it. Stationary for 38 seconds, it wasn't too bad but something we can improve on. I drove to the end of the pit lane ready to join the circuit but the safety car was approaching with the queue of cars behind and we had to wait at the exit of the pit lane. We had lost a lap, and I exited the pits in 24th place. I had 1 lap at safety car speed before the green and this helped to settle my nerves a bit. As I approached Paddock for the first time a racing speed I found a bump in the braking zone that I didn't know about and the back end twitched. Half way around my first lap 2 cars in front of me were slowing each other up fighting and I got a run up the inside of one. I then remembered that it was the first lap of my first ever race and changed my mind. I settled in to the driving and could see why Tony had gone off, the balance of the car was massively different to how it was at Combe. The new tyres had great grip but the thing was reluctant to turn in. I lost quite a bit of time passing some slower cars but was being quite cautious. A few laps later a Fiesta started to spin in front of me as i came on to the pit straight and I lifted slightly. The car behind got a run on me and I stayed to the inside to stop him passing but he flashed his lights and just went around the outside!








I ran up the inside into Druids and he defended. The next few laps were great fun, I had more power than him and could catch him at the end of the straight but was loosing time in the corners with the understeer. We both caught the Alfa that Tony had passed earlier and I managed to pass him along the pit straight. We were now P17.






We were nearing the final minutes of the race and the leading Integra's caught me so I waved them passed. A Civic was with the group so I waved him by too, thinking I was being lapped. I didn't know that it was for position and it was the Civic Tony had passed earlier.

So that put us P18 at the end and 2 laps down. I was thrilled after the chequered flag as I really didn't expect to feel as comfortable as I did during the race. Better still, when I got back to the pits Bomber and Tony told me that my fastest lap was 57.8 seconds, a time that would of put us 14th on the grid in qualifying. Comfortably mid grid. It was a great day and we learned so much, it was far from straight forward but we got through it and will have a better idea of how to go about the day next time out at Anglesey. Cant wait!










Video to follow in a few days
 
  CLIO PH1 172
exelent write up guys looks like you had a good time and good result for your first race well done!
 
  Cooksport Fleet
Mate, there is a track day at anglesey on the 15th. (this sat) highly recommend you drive it before the race.

We are taking the 197 road car up on a friday night, so at least jon (who has never been round) will know it before the race in 2 weeks time. 195quid open pit lane ( i think).

Thats if your racing the coastal circuit.

And congrads on the first race :)
 
  172 Race Car
Mate, there is a track day at anglesey on the 15th. (this sat) highly recommend you drive it before the race.

We are taking the 197 road car up on a friday night, so at least jon (who has never been round) will know it before the race in 2 weeks time. 195quid open pit lane ( i think).

Thats if your racing the coastal circuit.

And congrads on the first race :)
Yea Coastal Layout, we cant make it this weekend. There is a Pre race test the day before the race that we considered doing but its the cost plus having to leave very early to get there.

Weve got an extra practice session tho so we will both have longer in the car
 
  172 Race Car
In that case it must have been very nerve racking for you not getting those three qualifying laps in!
Not as bad as I thought it would be tbh. If id not done my ARDS there id of struggled, at least i kind of knew the layout. By the end of the race I think I was hitting the apex's correctly. Was a struggle with the understeer. Had to counter steer in the middle of paddock a few times, Lol.

My fastest lap was quite near the end
 
lovely biscuits. Anything on the car need changing as it didn't work as planned in the actual race - or are you good to go?
 
  172 Race Car
We need to dial out the understeer the new rubber has given us. Crazy how different it was to Combe. But everything else on the car worked as planned. No real need to do anything except fit a sump guard to keep the gravel out. I realy need some proper race boots tho, caught the throttle pedal while braking once.


Alternator seems to be holding up too
 
  Qashcow
great write up Jay. Was a great day out and feel priviliged to have been a part of it. I know i cannot do the whole weekend, but im looking at swapping stuff around to see if i can get upto Anglesey for the Saturday if you'd like?
 
  182cup & 172 racecar
great write up Jay. Was a great day out and feel priviliged to have been a part of it. I know i cannot do the whole weekend, but im looking at swapping stuff around to see if i can get upto Anglesey for the Saturday if you'd like?

That would be brill if you could
 
  182 Cup
That was a great write up, a good performance for your first time out.

How does it work with the cars that don't have driver changes? Is there a mandatory stop?

That's one hell of a fastest lap to aim for too from the Honda - good luck!
 
  172 Race Car
That was a great write up, a good performance for your first time out.

How does it work with the cars that don't have driver changes? Is there a mandatory stop?

That's one hell of a fastest lap to aim for too from the Honda - good luck!
yea mandatory stop, have to get out of car close door then get back in.

Top 3 in qualifying were separated by 0.2sec (all ex Britcar Honda's)& were 1.5sec quicker than the car in 4th.

The 'Collins' Clio was doing 56's & has similar power to ours so
 
  182cup & 172 racecar
We got fubard by the safety car really bad,s**t happens,(and me going off in Qualifying:eek:) but did what we went for,bring the car home in one piece.Just got to sort understeer out.

And Jay did very well,I knew he would be alright once he got going.

Quote of the day,"I must be nervous my penis has shrunk"YO!
 
  ITB'd 182...
Good stuff!

Hope all goes well for you with the upcoming season. Will have to pop down for a watch sometime :)
 

maynard

ClioSport Club Member
  ph2 172 track car
great write up and well done, nice to see you finish in one piece. good luck at anglesey :)
 
  182cup & 172 racecar
I would like to thank,

Mike(MSA197)& Dave(Bomber) on the spanners,and to Helen(Bedmonsta) the tea and biscuit lady.
 

Alex H

ClioSport Club Member
Great write up, I hope I do as well on my first time out! Bringing the car home in one piece has got to be your aim for the first few meetings.

Looking forward to seeing vids for lines :)

I may be at one of your later rounds, so will try to get some pics for you :)
 


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