Finally blog writing time...better late than never I guess!
Well what a weekend - lots of changes with the car tested, both races completed...and best result yet! Here's how it went....
Following the disappointing end to Brands Hatch back in June when the gearbox let go, the decision was to rule out the remainder of the season and focus on getting everything I wanted done to the car in preparation for the 2013 season. 2012 has has been a pretty awful season, therefore severely denting the budget. Since Dave Yardy from Track, Road and Race has taken over significant progress has been made, along with Rob Selby of Selby Engineering. The gearbox had to be rebuilt with a few replacement parts - all legacy issues from Castle Combe! A whole host of other changes were to ensure reliability and also better setup. There is still further work planned pre-2013 but we thought it would be a good idea to use Thruxton to test it all out and try to get some of that good feeling back. Having missed Snetterton, I was excited to get back out again.
Quali was a mixed session with the Miglias - not in the original plans but they also combined the time, giving us more time around the 2.4 mile Andover circuit. We made the decision to take it easy and regularly pit to check the car over and with it being a long session, there was always a fair few minis in the pitlane. The only issue we experienced was a misfire caused by a loose coil - Dave easily sorted this and sent me back out onto the circuit again. The car felt good, as I started getting used to the new setup...but lap after lap, I was alone out there! Thruxton, known for slipstreaming, it's important to get a tow for a decent quali time - not for me - I even tried slowing right down but nobody appeared! Even so, I still managed to qualify p11 out of 20 for both races.
For Race 1, I made a decent start but had some contact within the first few corners. I was soon trying to get into a steady rythym after, trying to make the most of the drag on the back section of the fast flowing circuit. Throughout the race I was mainly battling with Wightman, Smith and Burge, often playing it too safe into Club chicane and not maximising the drag in the lead up! After swapping and changing with these guys, I was running p7 into the last lap but was slipstreamed to come home p9. Unfortunately there wasn't a last lap board shown otherwise I could have made more effort in defending my position. We certainly didn't help each other - as entertaining as it was, we were slowing each other down and loosing sight of the cars in front - a lesson learnt! A good entertaining battle, typical of mini se7en racing!
Race 2 was an extremely hot one - even hotter than the previous day - doesn't really help having a black roof and overalls!! The race 2 footage isn't as clear - I think due to brake cleaner on the windscreen :-) A much cleaner start in this race put me behind Burge, Smith and Astin. I was certainly too cautious, again not making the most of the drag! Hunter from the back of the grid past me 2:20 minutes into the race to go onto p1, I believe, before having to retire from his amazing run - entering the pits to rapturous applause! I properly overcooked the Club chicane at 6:52 minutes into the race, thankfully catching it and bringing it back under control! Throughout the race we used our heads a bit more to try not to slow each other down and it seemed to work better. Burge and Wightman retired earlier in the race so it was just Smith and I swapping places each lap. Again, the last lap board was not shown so Smith didn't know to defend his position into the last time through Club chicance, just as I had done in the 1st race. I crossed the line in my best finish to date, p6!
An absolutely cracking weekend, car felt great, lots learnt with time behind the wheel, plenty more to time to be made and a great relaxing time with all in the paddock. Nothing major apparent with the car, although the near side front wheel was dragging a lot - I noticed it pulling to the left on the final section of the warm down lap - something to address when back on the ramp.
Thanks to all that came to support and also the guys that got #88 into a good shape - Dave (chassis), Selby (engine/transmission) & Lee (welding).
Results/timings can be found on the Mini7 website by clicking the links below:
Check out the in car footage and pictures by following the links below and share to all your friends :-)