If anyone is interested - I came 3rd
on Saturday in the special GTs race in Castle Combe..
The interesting thing is that I crossed the line only 1 second behind the winner (if you watch the video you'll see how close it was on the last lap!)
So.. Sub £20k race car coming 3rd behind two very expensive Ferrari 360 Challenge Stradales (and comfortably beating a Ferrari 430 with brakes costing more than my car!)
See you all on Saturday..
Castle Combe Special Gts race - 15th September
Stunning blue skies, perfect day for racing..
We fitted some wider rear tires on my car (235 width - up from 195) but we also picked a different, harder compound.. (seemed like a good idea at the time!)
After the first two corners the reality set in - we messed up big time with out choice of tire. The car behaved worse than in the wet - bit like racing on gravel - totally uncontrollable - absolutely no grip at the rear!
I struggled to come within 20 seconds of my best time during last race - qualified comfortably slowest (with only Mark in the other Marlin behind me on the grid - who had to retire from qualifying thus ending up last on the grid).
In a desperate attempt to save the day I managed to find some softer tires and have them fitted in time for the race.. Not really how I was hoping it would unfold as now I was entering a race on an unknown set of tires - no idea how the car would behave!
Anyway, the race started and I managed to overtake a good few cars off the line and get quite close to the front.
However, due to two Ferraris crashing into each other just off the line (and pretty much blocking the track) the race was red flagged on the first lap and we were re-positioned on the grid as per our qualifying times - e.g. me and Mark last! So all the good work was taken away from me :-(
On the restart of the race my engine decided to spice things up a little bit and started misfiring badly and was hardly willing to keep running at all!
I struggled to get off the line for the green flag formation lap - desperately trying to get the revs up and hopefully 'clear' the misfire..
Things got better, but not completely - not quite sure what the problem was but I reckon I only had about 85-90% of the usual power during the race.
Anyway.. On the second race start I had a good start and soon managed to assume 3rd position in our class!
I stayed 3rd for a while until the others caught up with me and slowly I dropped to 4th then to 5th place :-(
At that point I had little to lose so I 'went for it' and slowly reclaimed 4th place then 3rd place and even claimed 2nd place!
On the penultimate lap a Ferrari 360 pulled off a rather brave overtaking manoeuvre at about 130mph over Avon rise and managed to hold the place through Quarry corner.
After that point I was trying all the tricks in the book to go past him (e.g. driving about 3-5 feet behind him in hope of some useful slipstreaming, etc). On the last corner I managed to carry a fair bit more speed than him and was about to overtake him - but alas the chequered flag was not far enough for me to take 2nd place.
Even so, 3rd place is plenty to be proud about - especially given that it was achieved with an engine only giving out about 90% of the power due to misfire.. All credit to the Marlin crew - seems that it is possible for a sub £20k car to beat £160k+ Ferraris to a podium finish.