Our first race for the VE and we can certainly say it was "so close but yet so far"

 

 With our new V8 Supercar we have decided to take on a new challenge! A bit of mild endurance racing with the Britcar Series, specifically the Britcar Trophy Championship.

The format is a 35 minute qualifying session and 2 x 45 minute races in a single day, we are used to 15/20 minutes sprint races, so this was going to be something very different for us, also with a mandatory pitstop thrown into the mix too.

We would be up against some very quick GT cars such as 997 GT3, TVR's, Marcos Mantis's and Ginetta's. Cars with excellent handling and very good power to weight ratio's!

A very wet Snetterton 300 greeted us on Monday 31st of August and our qualifying session was the first event of the day. As this was the first time of us using the car in the rain we used qualifying more as a test session to see how the car performed and behaved. We called time on the qualifying session early, which did put us on the back foot for the first race as the circuit started to dry a little and the rest of the grid put in some quicker times, leaving us in 10th place.


After qualifying more rain came and was showing no sign of stopping, just before the race it really came down and lining up the grid for the first race it was clear it was going to be a very challenging 45 minutes. The cars set off on the warm up lap but on the back straight the 997 GT3 lost control and ended up off the circuit in the wall with very heavy damage.

The organisers made the very sensible decision to postpone the race and stop for lunch earlier, hopefully giving time for the worst of the rain to pass.

After a long wait it was deemed safe enough to continue with the days racing as the rain had eased and the stream that was flowing down the pitlane had gone. However it was still raining and the circuit was very wet.

The race got under way and we began picking off cars but only 3 laps in the heated screen seemed to stop working, leaving Alex with next to no visibility and the Holden had to pit. We cleared the screen and got the car back out but in this time the safety car came out and we were left a lap down.

The safety car stayed out 4 laps and by the time it came in it, the pit stop window opened. We chose to pit early and then try and claw back as much time and places as we could. Surprisingly (due to the conditions and cars we were up against) we were consistently posting the second/third fastest lap times.

We managed to get the car back up to 6th, which considering we had two pit stops and in the non-V8 Supercar friendly condition was not too bad.

The second race was again to be a very wet one and we started in 6th place. By lap 2 we were up in to 4th and closing in on third place but the heated screen once again let us down and Alex was struggling to see, he dropped back to 5th and was managing to stay with the TVR in front but by lap 7 visibility was becoming dangerous and we had to pit.

After quick clearing of the screen and coating of anti fog, we re-joined in last place and began hunting down the cars in front. Unfortunately we had to pit only 3 minutes before the pit lane window opened, which would mean we would have to pit again for the 90 second mandatory stop.

We made the decision to hold off taking the mandatory stop until the last few laps, as we were consistently the second fasted car on track this meant we would be able to make up several places. We did get up to 2nd place but knew we would drop back down the order after our pit stop.

We made our pit stop with about 10 minutes to go and from memory came out in 9th place. After our stop the rain worsened and the track was suffering from a lot of standing water. Trying to chase down the places in front Alex has a few hairy moments but managed to get back into 6th place. On the last lap coming into Coram the Holden spun off the circuit after hitting a patch of standing water. Re-joining the circuit the 7th placed Rob Hedley shot into view but Alex managed to get going and hang on to 6th place, which is not too bad after 2 pit stops and 3 spins due to getting caught on standing water!

Had it not been for the early pit stop 2nd place and at worse 3rd would have easily been ours going by the lap times.

Not a bad start to our first go at endurance racing and we came away pretty pleased and surprised at how our lap times compared to cars that we expected to really struggle against, especially in the wet conditions.

We are back out again on the 12th and 13th of September with the MN Saloons on our favourite circuit Brands GP, unfortunately the following week we will now miss the next Britcar race as it has been moved forward a day and due to work commitments we can't attend.

Posted: Sep 1, 2015 Back