Olly’s blog – Lockdown, Cadwell test day, 12 hr du Norfolk



In the build-up to the delayed race season, I have been keeping busy making sure I get up to date on college work and making sure I stay in good shape, mentally and physically. To keep sharp, I have been doing workouts that benefit my racing (i.e. cardio), I have also been lucky enough to receive a 3-month free membership on racing from the motorsport UK academy. Throughout lockdown I have taken part in online races, including the PMR e series and recently the motorsport UK esports championship. Both have been great fun, but unfortunately, I have not been able to fully commit to both championships, due to my pedals not working properly. Alongside these online races, i have been doing my own practice sessions to keep me refreshed. In these sessions I have been trying to improve my pace amongst different cars and tracks, this has helped me stay focused during the current events. I feel that in the lockdown period I have had time to focus on the areas I need to improve on, such as pace in qualifying. If anything, the lockdown period has made me hungrier than ever to get back on track.

Cadwell test day:

In the past 2 weeks, I have been concentrating on my first day back in the car finding my feet again after not driving for 4 months. What a way to get back out! Cadwell Park was on Friday, it was a relief to be back. The first morning session was all about learning the slick tyre and I felt very comfortable with them towards the end of the session. Later in the day came some challenging conditions. The rain came down which gave us some wet track conditions, this was fun and allowed a bit of sideways action. Pace wasn’t the overall priority, but finding problems with the car before the weekend was the main aim. Thankfully, nothing was wrong with the car giving the team and I full confidence before we go back to Cadwell on the 1st & 2nd August. At the end of the long day at Cadwell, we left in full confidence of the first round, I cannot wait to get my elbows out and get going with this year’s racing in the fiesta senior championship with MRF tyres.

12 hrs du Norfolk:

Straight after the test day at Cadwell with Jamsport we headed to Snetterton for another long journey through the country roads. These next 2 days at Snetterton were going to be fun and busy, after Cadwell I was warmed up for my first ever endurance race.

Prior to this event, we were asked to join the peak performance reviews team, run by Alex de Moore who does arrange of reviews for cars and different products. We met them a week before the 12 hr on a test day where I was introduced to the team, I then had a taste for the KA on track at Snetterton. The KA was really good fun to drive.

The Saturday arrived and everyone in the garage was excited for qualifying in the afternoon, with 36 entries to the endure KA series. My self and the team had to discuss a few new procedures I had yet to come across in endurance racing, some of which were about the driver swaps and the wrist tag to show who was in the car. Once the procedures were clear, the afternoon qualifying soon came and I was out first. I headed out towards parc ferme, and I was buzzing. The green flag waved, and the session began. Luckily, I managed to sperate myself from the pack of cars and get some good laps in. I had 4 flying laps to complete before the driver change and I felt my pace was strong and was fortunate of a draft from another car. I came back in and swapped over, looked at the times and we were lying 4th out of 36 drivers. This was awesome and I was happy with my lap time. The other three drivers (Lewis Kent, Alex de Moore and Charles Boniface) completed their laps, and we qualified 5th for the 12 hr race the next day. We were all satisfied with what we had accomplished and ready to race.

Race day. The sun was out and people were happy to go racing after the long time away from racing, the car was ready for a 9:00 AM race start. I was the 3rd driver in the car, this meant I had a long time to wait. The race started and for the first hour, we were fighting for the lead, awesome start by lewis kent. I could not wait to get in the car. Hours past and we were comfortably in the top 5 when a safety car came out, somehow the cars in front apart from us broke away from the safety car apart from us which put us a lap down from the cars in front. More time past and it was leading up to my stint. Still, in a comfortable top 6, Charles came into the pits early with a bearing problem, this meant I were to have a longer stint. They fixed the problem and I got in ready to go.

2 laps in I could hear the droning sound from the back wheel, a couple of laps later the car was swerving, and I had to come in again. At this point we lost so much time, it was a great shame. The hub was changed, and I went out for the second time. This time I stayed out and had so much fun passing lapped cars and getting a draft from the leaders, unfortunately despite me being on the same pace as the leaders we were back in 27th place. During my stint, I made up many places and by the end of it I got us back to 21st before handing over.

The change over was smooth and from here I did the best I could. I really enjoyed my go in the car and was pleased to of made some good progress. 2hrs 31 mins in the car went surprisingly quick, I loved every second.

We finished the race in p13 which was incredible for the time we lost. I just want to thank peak performance reviews for the amazing opportunity.

Next up is the first round where I will be racing the Samco sports fiesta around Cadwell park, let us get started.

July 28, 2020

Posted In: TeamSamco