Alex Macindoe provides us with an insight into his racing life and how he is getting on in his first season in the Caterham Roadsport championship…
“After finishing 7th in last year’s Caterham academy, this year I moved up into the Roadsport spec series and was determined to improve my performance. Getting in practice over the winter was therefore essential, especially with the need to familiarise myself with the new sticky CR500 tyres, a rear antiroll bar and the ability to use my Racelogic Video VBOX at events!
“Our first race of the season was at Silverstone in March. This came around so quickly I only managed to get one track day and test day in before the race weekend. Despite this, it was my home circuit which I had been to a few times so I was determined to do well. I had a lot of VBOX data to compare myself against from previous Roadsport competitors, and as Silverstone is such a long circuit the odd tenth here and there makes a huge difference to your overall lap time.
“Being the first race of the season I had no clue what to expect. To add to this, the combined groups from last year’s Academy all went out to qualify at the same time. I therefore planned to go out last to ensure I had a clear track for at least a few laps, and maybe even get a tow from a car in front to gain even more time. I worked out on the VBOX that a tow can be worth a whole second on the hanger straight alone!
“Driving through the pit lane after Qualifying one of my friends indicated I had done well, which was confirmed when I got to scrutineering – I had gained pole position! My first pole ever! I was ecstatic and over the moon, but nervous at the same time.
“Going into the race I managed to hold 1st position for a couple of laps but with the long straights it was easy to get overtaken with the tow. One lap I went from 6th to 1st in just one straight! The lead was exchanged on nearly every corner on each lap, and it was very intense. Going into the last lap however, I found myself in the lead. Unfortunately that is the last place you want to find yourself on the last lap at Silverstone. By the end of the lap I had dropped down to 3rd and this is where I finished. My first ever podium!
“Overjoyed was an understatement; I was holding a trophy and a bottle of sparkly. The season could have ended there and I would have been happy. The second race was much of the same, but on the last corner of the last lap I decided to put it in the gravel from 3rd! A bit of a damper on the weekend, but I went on to Oulton Park with the knowledge I could compete for silverware.
“Oulton Park is a brand new circuit for me, so I got a few days testing in before the race. As usual, I had various weather conditions so I was able to prepare for both the wet and the dry. To help me get ready, I had my best dry lap and wet lap on repeat in Circuit Tools to try to visualise them in my head ready for the weekend.
“Going into qualifying I decided I would change my strategy from Silverstone, and instead of going out last I opted to go out early. I managed to get out in front of the pack, and landed myself on the front row again – this time in 2nd. I was very happy with that, especially when I looked on my OLED display and saw it was my fastest ever lap at Oulton Park.
“When Race1 started the pole man got into a mix up with his gears, allowing me to jump into first. I managed to stay here for most of the race with my eyes glued to rear view mirror. Elliott did get in front for a couple of corners but I was able to get back into the lead with a dummy down the straight. The longest 20 minutes of my life finished with me crossing the line for my second podium and my first ever race win! Overjoyed was an understatement, my hands and feet were shaking and I could feel the adrenaline pumping through them.
“Race2 I started on pole and when the lights went out I got an OK start. However, Elliott in P2 got an even better start and he went in to the lead. We stayed in this position until the chequered flag… another trophy for the cabinet!
“Going into Donington I was beaming with confidence, but had to go into the Qualifying blind having missed the test day due to a commitment at work. It was dry as well and my recent data from the track had been gathered in the torrential rain. I therefore had to study some older videos in Circuit Tools. I qualified 9th which dampened my spirits, but I decided to focus on a game plan – to overtake as many cars as possible in the first 20 minutes! I didn’t rush any of the manoeuvres and over the 20 minutes I thought I had done OK, and going into the last corner could have even overtaken the white car in front. I didn’t know where I had finished until the warm down lap where I managed to count the cars in front… two! I had bagged a podium finish from 9th position, I was delighted!
“After the race I watched back the video to see where I had managed to overtake. I then tried to put together another plan for the next race, and hoped it would be as successful as the previous one.
“When Race2 started I dropped down to 6th, but I wasn’t too bothered as I knew where I could claw the lost positions back. Over the next few laps I overtook a few cars taking me back up the pack. Elliott got a knock early which cracked his exhaust, with the noise and vibrations managing to trigger his fuel to cut off. Then Brad missed a gear and I was back in the lead fighting with Thacker. On the last lap Elliott had fought back to 2nd and challenged for the lead through the esses. It got a bit tight and this time we did touch, resulting in my exhaust coming flying off! I managed to hold the lead though, and took the chequered flag – my second race win!
“Next stop was Brands Hatch Indy. Everyone has raced here so I knew it was going to be a tough weekend. I qualified 4th, but with an optimistic (at best!) lunge attempt going into the hairpin causing me to spin – I ended up finishing 5th.
“Race2 was even worse. I couldn’t get passed Achille and Jake who jumped me on the line. I watched as the leading group slowly got away. I finished a frustrating 7th which dropped me down from 2nd overall in the championship to 3rd.
“Next stop is our first ever European race, Nurburgring in Germany. It is going to be very exciting as none of us have ever raced there so we are all on a level playing field. I will keep you updated on how I get on….”