Aintree Sprint


So, this is it. The first competition points available. It’s sprinting, which is not really what any of us signed up for, but a good way of breaking would-be racing drivers into the season. Aintree is, essentially, just 3 corners, with a reasonable straight between each. The benefit is that fluffing one corner doesn’t need to dramatically ruin your entry to the next, aside from the loss of speed.

SR_J2805Sprinting is clearly a very particular discipline, and one that I didn’t appear to get homed in on at Aintree.

There were two practice runs, and three timed runs, and it was difficult to know what to do between them. The advice I had been given was to visualise the run, but being unfamiliar with the course, this was hard to do.

One of my mistakes was to not treat the practice runs as just that. The temptation to really go for it on the first attempt is huge, and I succumbed. As a result I overcooked the first corner and took it broadside. I kept it on the black stuff and had plenty of time to regain composure for the next two corners.

SR_J2802Of the timed runs, I put in a 54:39, which was a good banker, but I couldn’t improve on it. On my last run I repeated the mistake of the first practice run and drifted the first corner. Even so, a 54:41 was recorded. I’ve wondered ever since what my time would have been without stuffing up that first corner.

I came away with 8th and a sense that I could have done better, if I’d had a better idea of how to approach sprinting……..

First Test Day – Castle Combe

SR_J5941Included in the Caterham package, is a test day. This was the first chance to get the car on a circuit. A good opportunity to get a feel for it, and to actually do some “testing”. There’s not a lot you can play with within the regs, but tyre pressures and geometry are options, so we played with pressures. The car is great to play with on track, and incredibly SR_J8241engaging and raw. 125BHP goes a long way in something the size of a roller skate! As fun as it is to drive on the road, a motor racing circuit lets you really explore it.

We were blessed with ideal weather conditions, and split into grouped sessions. Being reasonably familiar with Castle Combe, the day was really focused on getting familiarised with the car on circuit. Without the grunt and rockhard suspension of the MX5, carrying speed is key, as well as smoothness.  Both skills that need to be developed and worked on!