How to Start Racing - the perfect Stocking filler

Posted: September 22, 2023

Snetterton April 2022

Testing

The race weekend started with a track day Thursday and into testing on Friday. Learning the track in the new car was surprisingly different - perhaps because it was new? Perhaps because it hadn’t been hit several times?!

The ‘Warriors Mind’ book was key to this session - front load your weekend was a great mindset I had learnt in the winter - track day was testing, testing was qualifying. When it came to qualifying now I was ready to go - repeating the lap I had honed already.

This was to be my first qualifying and race start which was nerve wrecking, but I felt ready.

Qualifying

  • my warm up routine started, the first lap followed the process - get the car warm, ensuring the tyres and brakes were ready.
  • lap 1 - warm up
  • lap 2 was OK - 2.45 with traffic
  • lap 3 was flying until... I exited Corum to see five cars queuing on the final corner - getting in my way and wasting a flying lap - 2.43.
  • lap 4 started well, getting a tow up the main straight. With the next few corners safely navigated, I knew this could be a good lap shouting “this is the one” to myself in the car. Coming round Corum and into the final corner I felt like this was quick - the agonising wait up the final straight and then… BOOM - 2.41.2 = my fastest ever time! After several corners of screaming to myself, I regained my composure and returned to the pits. We were provisionally in second position - I couldn’t believe it!

With just five minutes left my dad managed a 2.41.1 - an amazing lap, qualifying us into 4th.

This has to be one of my greatest sporting achievements.

C1 Grid Snetterton 2022

The race

The highs and lows of motorsport in one weekend. That’s racing I keep getting told.

After my first race start safety negotiated, yet another exhilarating experience. Running in 9th place after one hour of racing, it was time for a driver change. My dad went out and within two laps suffered a puncture at the far end of the track. He had no option but to pull off next to a Marshall post and await recovery. The highs of qualifying and the lows of a DNF - all in one weekend.

Brands Hatch August 2022

We chose to complete a track day on the Tuesday, prior to the race weekend - a great way to get race ready for the event ahead, and get comfortable in car whilst learning the track.

Brands Hatch C1 Endurance Race 2022

Qualifying

Qualifying time I was pumped, maybe too pumped, as after two laps I put my car nose on the inside of the final corner, making contact with another car - a silly mistake. Luckily, only the mirror popped in with no damage to either car. This took me right back to the very start of the training - 'the happy place' I need to be - relaxed and focused, not over stressed. I now settled down into the session and qualified 12th - a solid performance which could have been much better, if I hadn’t missed a gear coming out of Graham Hill bend. Another lesson for the bank - don’t watch the Aim timer when the lights go green - just relax and drive the next corner.

The race

Sadly, this doesn’t end well either…

After making up three places in the first eleven minutes and sitting with the lead group of cars, an electrical fault caused the car to start losing power and cutting out. I persisted for a further thirty minutes but was dropping back through the field. I eventually came to the realisation that the car needed to be retired.

Snetterton October 2022

A double header weekend with racing on the Saturday and Sunday. Qualifying 8th in a very competitive field of fifty-five cars, it was time for race one. The car was fast, and we maintained our position in the top ten throughout. During the race we had multiple safety cars - over one hour in a three-hour race. We stayed on the lead lap and on our final pit stop chose not to put in any additional fuel. Returning to the circuit in fourth place with fifteen minutes to go, and two teams ahead still to stop, could this be a podium?! Sadly no, the gamble didn’t pay off. Two laps later - with seven minutes left - we had to stop for fuel. So close! A P15 finish.

Sunday’s race was brilliant. We banked consistent laps for the entire three hours and tweaked our fuel strategy. The result - we moved from P15 to P9. My first C1 top ten finish - a great weekend and dreams of what could be.

2023 Season

After getting my first top ten finish in 2022, my sights were firmly set on a podium for 2023.

Silverstone March 2023

My first race at Silverstone, the home of F1. Sharing this with my dad was a real dream come true for both of us. Four hours of fast paced racing had us finishing 11th.

C1 Racing Car on grid Silverstone

Qualifying

We qualified in very tricky conditions. Parts of the track were either wet, damp or dry - the track surface was changing all the time. I spent the first four laps getting used to the changing grip levels and finding where I could push (lessons learnt from a Ross Bentley podcast - some drivers don’t push in the wet, but you should - to find the limit as you would in the dry). It took till the final lap to get a clear run to qualify 7th in a 61 car field - a good result in a very competitive field.

The race

I started with the top ten pack. A thrilling but challenging first few laps, with close wheel-to-wheel action. On the 4th or 5th lap I made a mistake - I out braked myself on Village, which led to me losing three or four places. The next half hour was spent trying to claw these places back. Then it was time for a driver change.

The race had no safety cars, so dad and I managed to put in consistent laps for the remainder of the race. We had a P11 finish. A mixture of disappointment for not making the top ten, but pride that we finished with more lessons learnt on such a big grid.

On a separate note, I now feel I can run at the front and have the skills to do so - another really positive mental step forward.

The rest of the season awaits…

Racing Academy / C1 Endurance Series

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