2013 Funcup champions started their new campaign at Oulton Park missing two of their usual line up. Nigel Greensall couldn’t make it due to other racing commitments (Britcar, at Silverstone, in a 458 – so not a bad excuse) and Joachim Ritter was otherwise engaged. Replacement drivers Chris and Karsten therefore had the seats. Here’s Julian’s race report:
“Oulton Park was great fun, but we only ended up 9th for various reasons.
I only did four laps, and on my fastest lap I was held up and also made a mess of Lodge corner. Now I have had time to analyse it, the car was capable of a 1:11.4 which would have been pole by 0.2s, so we had plenty of pace.
I started behind Jon (car 62 TWM Racing) who was driving brilliantly, he cut through the field really well, and then we had a great battle where we swapped places a couple of times. He ran over the kerbs on the outside of the second chicane and this dislodged his rear wing, which then caused him to spin going into Cascades right in front of me.
I don’t know how I missed him, but my splitter folded in under itself as I bounced over the grass (great video footage!)
This caused a lot of drag for the rest of my stint and I had to fend off back markers until we came in to change drivers and the bonnet in 13th.
This cost us time in the pits, and then Karsten and Chris drove two stints each really well, and with some good pitstops we got up into 8th. Unfortunately Karsten flicked the speed limiter off just before the line and we got a stop and go penalty, which dropped us a place into 9th going into my last stint. There was a downpour just as I started, and Karsten had just told me that the wipers had broken! In reality this made no difference, as I thought at least I can see more than I could in Spa! We then had a safety car because Bram (car 263 Nimbus) crashed at Lodge whilst they were holding a comfortable lead.
Sherardize had dominated up to this point, with Marcus setting a 1:10.991 and Peter did a 1:11.2, the second fastest driver. Marcus then hit some debris at one point which punctured their oil cooler, which cost them about 10 laps otherwise they would have won by almost a lap…My fastest race lap was 1:12.9 with a folded splitter.
My last stint was great fun in the wet/dry/wet conditions, and I caught up with the leaders. I sat behind Honeywell not wanting to overtake, and then let through the second place car so I wasn’t holding up the battle for the lead. However, Scott Fitzgerald in car 99 then overtook me and the second placed guy, and this was for position! I then overtook the car in second (car 22 OBR – new drivers, Zoe Wenham & her brother?) and had a great battle with Scott swapping places and just got 8th place back on the last lap with a dive up the inside at Druids, still trying not to disturb Honeywell who were holding Scott off at the time. Very exciting stuff with no windscreen wipers!
I think our race pace would have been good, but my first laps were in heavy traffic, and then my splitter was dragging, so difficult to tell. Analysing the data seemed to show we still had good pace. A really good fun race, but Sherardize have some very worrying pace. Bring on Snetterton!”
The VBOX Motorsport-sponsored Aston Martin Vantage, driven by Stuart Leonard and Paul Wilson in the Nurburgring VLN series, had something of a mixed bag on Saturday. Here’s Paul’s race report:
“We worked with Stefan Mucke on the Friday to get the car balance sorted with less aero to give us more speed. Worked really well and although the car is certainly a little livelier in the corners, we can now at least overtake things down the straight!
In qualifying, six Cup cars tangled in front of me, putting down coolant and all sorts. I was second fastest initially (albeit the times were all off as a result). By the time I was back in the car we were down in P8, but managed to hook a good lap together of an 8.11, which is a lot quicker than I have been before around there, but also it is about 4 seconds slower than it can be off the data due to traffic. This bumped us to P3. Stuart’s last run saw us slip down to P8 as the track cleared and everyone else got some clean air – otherwise we would have qualified higher. Stuart did manage an 8.10 though – therefore out-qualifying me yet again.
I ran the first stint, which was cool. Pretty much maintained P8. I really had a car I could attack with and did my first competitive GT3 overtakes. Also had a bit of contact with the Ford GT3 on the opening lap. He left a gap which I took, he then turned in, minor damage.
Unfortunately, by lap five just after I overtook a car I had no front tyres left, understeer everywhere. I managed to keep Markus Winklehock in the Phoenix Audi behind for two laps at least, despite a few taps. We are definitely mixing it!
However, there were three separate monster shunts, with the last one taking out 90m of Armco. Red flag. Ambulances, helicopters… one car went through the Armco into the trees… I think everyone is okay, but not 100% sure – information is always scarce.
The race restarts but only as a two hour. We put Stuart in for the whole stint. We ran really well, 6th at one point. Unfortunately race control incorrectly advised our minimum pit time, dropping us to 8th, but still in the gaggle of cars for third. We lost 24 seconds on the stop sat still, we were in genuine contention for a podium…
However, last lap but one, Stuart overtook a car which didn’t see him, turned in, hit our back wheel, and gave us a puncture. They in turn barrel-rolled five times, apparently. Meyrick Cox was at the wheel – the guy who was going to buy the ring. He is fine, their car isn’t.
Bumblebee is fine, apart from a few battle wounds. Stuart pitted, but the car didn’t feel right so he parked it, giving us a DNF.
Far, far more positives than negatives. VLN 3 will be interesting.”
Robyn, Racelogic Production Supervisor, races in the British Autograss Series. She had a great start to her season last week, and it has continued in much the same vein!
“A Radford meeting yesterday.
8 cars on the line with a total of 14 engines all racing together. What????
Must mean I was racing with the Class 7’s. These are known as the Super Saloons in the Autograss world. They are pretty much just a silhouette of the original car, a purpose built race car with unlimited engine capacity, so the line-up for me yesterday was a grid consisting of six twin bike-engined cars, one with a single bike engine, and me with my 2 litre 16V Vauxhall. All rear wheel drive.
When I line up in the middle of the grid and two Minis line up either side of me, you may think I would have it easy. Such tiny little cars, but NO. They can really go. It was a great challenge for me as the driving styles are very different and I also had to remember that this was a points meeting for me, and I was being scored separately from the 7’s so didn’t want to have an incident. I still need to finish a race to get my points. The 7’s are very fast on the straight and will drive away from me, but they brake a little earlier than me into the corners. I was also taking a wider line, as with my class 3 I want to keep up momentum, therefore going faster into the corners. This is where I catch them up again.
Robyn in action on Sunday, mixing it with the Class 7’s. Thanks to our colleague Rodger for once again supplying such great photos!
In the final I let them get away from me off the start line so I could try and catch them, but also practice my driving. When I find myself with a grid of 3’s at bigger meetings I want to know what to do.
All in all a great day’s racing. My ears were ringing once I was home in the quiet again. I guess that’s what happens when you are surrounded by thirteen bike engines slammed into the limiter waiting for that bungee to lift!”
Robyn’s next meeting is at her home track near Stratford Upon Avon, hosted by her club. She’ll be helping with the organisation as well as racing. Go along, if you fancy the bast value motorsport there is!