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Post Race Analysis – Snetterton 300

Overall, I’m very happy with the weekend!  I brought the car back safe and well, didn’t take anyone else out, and got 11th place in the first race!  You may have noticed me punching the air when I saw the chequered flag, there!  It felt like I’d won!

For my second ever race weekend, that’s not bad going!

I am still playing it safe on track, because I don’t want to kill the car, and realise that I am still learning, and have a long way to go.  Don’t get me wrong – I’m pushing harder than I’ve ever pushed before, but as I’m doing that, it’s like I’m stretching my own limits, and I’m fully aware of how much harder I can use the car and still be beneath my own ragged edge.

At Snetterton, there is absolutely no doubt in my mind that I could be 5 seconds quicker per lap and still not be overstepping my or the cars limits.

I actually didn’t drive very well, and most of that is due to lack of preparation.  I simply didn’t study the track to know it well enough before I got there. Testing the day before as many other drivers did would have helped, of course, but we have a very tight budget to work to.

Watching my own onboard videos and seeing myself on the videos from other cars is a brilliant learning tool and very entertaining, but there’s no hiding your shortcomings, either.

My lines through the infield were a bit shoddy, and I should have been turning in much harder just about everywhere, lifting off less, braking later… The first corner alone I was pretty terrible at, and it’s exactly the kind of wing-and-a-prayer corner that I love and am good at!

I also wasn’t trail-braking enough, and I KNOW that that’s where massive chunks of time can be had!

And I love doing it!  That’s where I get a proper buzz of satisfaction from racing a Vee – being right on the edge, sliding it into a corner…

Tim Probert actually came up to me after having followed me in a race on track (before he pissed off into the distance!), and said “We’re going to have to teach you trail-braking!”.

This was backed up speaking to Paul Smith (note: He started dead last in race 2, having spent most of the night rebuilding his engine after killing it in race 1, and then was in the lead by lap 3!  Truly amazing stuff – and he clocked a 2:09 lap time to my best of 2:17!) who said it was weird being with us lot at the back end, as we were braking so much earlier into the corners.

I guess that easing into things this way and not going all-out is the sensible approach to be taking. I don’t want “my ambition to outweigh my talent” until I know for sure I have the practical skills to back up the theory that I’ve studied.

Donington Park is the next race and season finale on 3rd October. Again, we won’t be testing there before the race, but I know the layout well and have been on a bike track day there. It’s also my ‘home’ race, so there should be some people I know coming to watch – and qualifying and both races are all on the Saturday.

I’d like to get a top 10 result to close the season, but in reality this is the first track that all the other drivers will know very well, so it will be tough to get inside the top 20!

Whatever happens, I’m sure it’ll be a lot of fun!