I think I will look back at Brands Hatch track day as the day I really clicked with the car. Feeling more the hunter in the pack than the hunted. The rush of hunting down a pack of cars and finding an overtake even ‘sticking’ to the track day rules of overtake on the left is awesome.
Started off wet then dried out followed by more rain later on. After mostly wet running so far despite not knowing the track I knew how to change my lines to find the grip and how far I could push. There is still time to be found but I wasn’t a moving chicane like Snetterton. Fun Cup cars that used to lap me are now holding me up at times. As the track dried it really came alive. The new racing brake pads have made the world of difference to the car.
It was also the first time I’ve shared the track with a fair few of my fellow Academy racers and we had some awesome moments circling the track in a pack trading places. When we are racing for real it’s going to be awesome!
Race season prep continues. Attended the morning Caterham put on to tell us all about car setup and all the preparation we have to do before turning up at a circuit.
Put simply if you can put a spanner on it try and tighten it. Some bolts apparently can come more lose than others so I need to get into the habit of checking them multiple times a track day. Also lots of info on changing/ bleeding brakes and other topics. Along with what you can change to your suspension to suit your driving style.
Put all of that to good use this evening and changed the brake pads to some racing ones. Hopefully that makes a big difference to the car at Brands Hatch tomorrow.
Also went karting with some of my fellow racers and it was definitely the most competitive karting group I have been with. Started well with setting the 3rd fastest time out of 16. Which put me the the fast group of 8 and hopeful for a podium. Wasn’t to be as I had a disagreement over who had the racing line and ended up clouting the barrier and going way too wide. But the time that was sorted out it was a long race back from 8th to 5th. Still could have been worse. I wasn’t last.
Two new things, Driven around Donington Park and for the first time in my life and a dry track day. How I’ve never driven around a fully dry track till now i’m not sure. I can see why drivers like Donington Park. The first time I drove over the brow at Hollywood and saw the Craner Curves, Old Hairpin & Schwantz I knew it was going to be a fun day.
Compared to the wet driving the car is a different animal and had to completely reset how hard I could brake and turn. There were a few other Caterham drivers there and it was good to catch up with everyone and see how they are getting on. I’m not the fastest or the slowest and are a few seconds off the target pace which i’m confident of closing the gap too.
Next stop Brands Hatch on the 26th Feb.
I will admit it was was some trepidation I drove up to Rockingham Speedway Friday night as the forecast was for snow and the drive up was light snow all the way there. Woke up to a car covered in ice but best thing with a caterham is you don’t have to worry about your door or windows freezing as you don’t really have them.
Rockingham has a reputation for being extra slippy in the rain. So sleet and snow made for what was an amazing 50 lap lesson in car control. I’m not sure if it’s the racing seat, race geo setup or i’m just getting more use to the car, probably all 3. Today it really felt like I was able to push on a lot harder and felt at home with the car going sideways a lot of time. Also getting better at finding the grippy tarmac on a wet track.
A few of my fellow Academy drivers and some of last years Academy were also there. Which was great for following around some old hands to learn the lines and also size up this years competition.
Now I’ve done 1k miles in the car I can get the suspension setup for racing which should make the car a lot better on the track.
As I’m a ‘tall’ person I sit to high in the car so need a racing seat as well. Which I got sorted today at Caterham South. Glad I got it done by them instead of doing it myself as you really need 2 people.
Foam seat part one
Foam seat fitting part 2