A clear blue sky and sunshine hinted at the amazing weather we were going to be gifted with throughout the day. Donington is a local track to Barton Racing, so it wasn’t an outrageous wake up time as previous races have been. However, although a ‘home track’ we have been plagued with bad luck in the past at Donington. I was hopeful to break my Donny Duck issue this weekend.
During qualifying I started off by setting a few sighter laps to warm up and get in the zone. Also to get brakes and tyres up to temperature. Once all the T’s and P’s were up, I pitted to be greeted by the team with pressure gauges to bleed back the tyres. The car was then ready for me to start setting some flyers. On my out lap, I was searching for the perfect line, reminding myself of the focus needed in order to achieve the fastest lap possible. I built the speed down the straight and into the chicane for my flying lap. Up into fifth gear down the pit straight, I spotted my braking point for turn one. Down the box to third with some satisfying blips of the throttle, I trailed the brake into red-gate, ensuring that I was on the throttle early to rotate the car around the apex, carrying the speed out of the corner, missing the apex of Hollywood, kinking to the left of the Crainer curves, with as small a lift as possible, to settle the car with a little opposite lock to keep the car in line. Then on towards the old hairpin, again carrying as much speed as possible without reaching track limits. Up the hill toward Mcleans, changing down to third, planting the throttle to rotate the car. Accelerating up to Copice, throwing the car into the corner, controlling the slide with the throttle. Keeping my foot pinned along the straight, having my heart in my mouth as I dared to brake as late as possible for the chicane. Right, left, sliding the car maintaining maximum momentum for the final run to the line and setting a time of 1:27.4.
Driver briefing followed Qualifying before some downtime for lunch and exploring the paddock before the race. The Motor Racing Legends event was packed with exotic race cars and fans sharing their passion for cars. A great event.
Then, our race. Clearing the track from the events of the previous race took longer than expected for the volunteer marshals – without whom we couldn’t go racing. This allowed me time to calm myself and focus, in preparation for the long hour behind the wheel. The race was eventful in the opening stages, providing opportunities to take advantage of other drivers making opening lap mistakes as well as defending my position as if my life depended on it, battling an Alfa Romeo the whole way down the Crainer curves. But the last 20 minutes were the toughest. The day was hot, I was sweating profusely, wondering what all my time training in the gym was for! I pushed on, trying to manage hot tyres and a tired gearbox, crying out for a rest. I crossed the line on my 39th lap, good enough for another first in class.
Thanks to Motor Racing Legends for a superb event and thanks to Retro Engineering yet again, for making the set up even better than before.