The Caterham Motorsport family descended on Silverstone a few weeks ago for the final round of the Roadsport Championship. Silverstone always provides some close racing as the all mighty tow means if you are in a pack there is no escape.
The weekend was the epitome of my Roadsport season. In testing showed a good turn of speed. Failed to capitalise on that pace in quali followed by a good start. Then part way through the races making a careless mistake and having to fight back through the field again.
On the positive side I have learnt a few new things at Silverstone.
- I can do decent starts now and actually are making places up instead of losing them off the line.
- When others try to crowd you off the track instead backing out or moving closer to the grass. Just let the other driver hit you… They soon move back over the other way.
- Quali – 12th place. Don’t drive a dry setup on a wet track.
- Race 1 – 7th place. Very wet race, Great start up from 12th to 7th, spun off back to 13th. Then fought back to 7th.
- Race 2 – 6th place. Almighty battle between 10 people over 2nd to 11th. Had a moment off the track on exactly the same corner as last year!
Congratulation to the podiums in both races.
- Race 1 = James Murphy (P1), Dan French (P2) & Toby Clowes (P3)
- Race 2 = Dan French (P1), Oli Pratt (P2) & Neil Fraser (P3)
Congratulations on James for winning the championship by one point over Dan F. Both drivers would have been worthy champions having made the least mistakes year. Also great job by GMac on 3rd place.
I would end up 6th in the Championship 2 points behind Tom A (P5) and 7 point off Dan H (P4).
Race 1 video in 4K 360
Race 2 video in car
4K 360 (Annoying blur): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e2tH2eRBqQY
So quali didn’t go close to plan and I had my worse result to date. Which was massively frustrating and my fate was sealed based on a choice I made an hour before we even got onto the track. I looked at the forecast and amount of rain falling at the time and decided that the track would start off damp and get dryer. Therefore decided to go out with a dry setup. The rain never got heavy but it was enough to keep the track damp and cold. I was left tiptoeing around the track unable to get enough heat in the tyres to make them grip.
I knew I was in for a shocker when drivers I would normally race are disappearing into the distance. Other drivers who I would normally breeze past were catching me up.
Another important motorsport lesson learnt about the effect tyre temperature has on the car handling. On the road the majority of people wouldn’t be able to tell if one of the 4 tyres on the car was a psi or two out. In racing the difference is huge and the closer you get to the limit the more you feel it. If you can’t get heat into the tyres they don’t stick and you might as well be driving round with van tyres.
With a wet race forecast and it being easier to overtake at Silverstone I was looking forward to a good race. I just needed to stay away from any midfield mishaps in the first few corners.
Race 1 – 7th Place
By the time our race started the track was soaking wet. Starting in 12th due to Neil having a grid penalty I knew it was going to be an exciting race. In the wet I could go pretty well and make up some places. Things got off to a great start and was up to 9th by the first braking point. By the last chicane I was 7th and feeling pretty happy with myself.
Typically it was short lived and I managed to lose the backend on the upshift taking the last corner at 90 degrees taking up half the track width. Luckily everyone behind me managed to avoid me and I was back to 13th! I really have to stop doing this to myself!
The rest of the race was a lot of fun as I picked my way past various drivers. Progress was curtailed by yellow flags to clear up an accident from Stowe to Club for several laps. Which left Abbey & Village as the only 2 corners to overtake. All the way to the end I was catching up with the cars in front so it was a shame I threw so much away on that spin early on. Due to all the spray and poor visibility I had no idea what place I was in so 7th was a pleasant surprise.
Race 2 – 6th Place
Race two was well just a bit bonkers and I really don’t know where to begin. So many overtakes, near misses, four or five abreast into corners. It really was a showcase in everything which makes Caterham racing exciting to watch and I’m sure the crowds watching loved it.
In the car it was fun but in a lot of ways frustrating. Dan F was able to walk away in front while five of us behind scrapped over 2nd. All this scrapping lead to us lapping a couple of seconds slower than we could. Later on in the race this pack of cars had increased to ten of us constantly battling.
Unfortunately the inevitable happened and a few people collided which gifted me three places on the last lap. I also gain a place when Simon missed a gear out of the last corner. Which was ironic since he had got past me two corners earlier when I accidentally went from fifth to second instead of fourth.
Great photos from Jon @ snappyracers.com