2nd September 2017
Champion of Brands
CHAMPION OF BRANDS
A week before race day and we had brought a new car. The Ray GR16, a stunning example of an absolutely beatifully built race car.
Unfortunately time was never on our side, with just 3 short evenings to work on the car in the lead up to the race we didn't get to prepare the car entirely as we would have liked. Pedals needed moving, seats needed making, gears needed changing, parts needed to be acquired and many other things needed doing on the new car. Having said that I think we made the right choice to get this car half ready for the weekend rather than go back out in the trusted Van Diemen.
We did managed to get the car race ready Thursday evening. I had time for 2 test sessions Friday morning before having to shoot of at lunch to attend a family wedding on the Isle of Sheppey.
The 2 tests showed up some real issues with my seat positioning which is so vital in these cars. I tried 2 different seats in both sessions and neither was very good. My pedals needed further adjusting and I was struggling to get the car in to gear smoothly which again was down to my positioning in the car. - however without pushing the car to much I managing a 52.9 just 6 tenths off my fastest ever time.
With 19 cars starting the race I thought I might have trouble finding track space on the small brands hatch indy circuit. However this wasnt the case, I had a good clear gap for the entire session.
My times where pretty consistent with mid to high 52s I put in a 52.5 which was good enough for 12th on the grid.
I got a pretty good get away as the lights went out but wasn't able to gain any places on the first lap. On lap 2 I got over taken in to druids as I locked up and went straight on, after following the car in front for a few laps I worked out I was pretty much quicker everywhere and was much faster through Surtees.
I tried to get a good exit out of Graham Hill and go for the outside at Surtees and pull away on the inside through Clearways. I got close but not close enough I managed to get alongside but didn't get a great exit from Clearways, however I was closer than before and as we entered Paddock I took my chance and went on the inside. I pulled a good gap lap after lap but could catch the pack in front.
It was good to have a race with someone for a few laps and I was pleased to hold on to 12th after dropping a place early on.
The new car was a dream to drive although I know I still have lots to learn with it and things that need sorting but I'm confident my lap times will come down with time in the car.
Thanks again for all the support from family, friends and every in the padlock that came over to say hi, great to see everyone again.
(All photos credit of Radkins Racers)