Team PH - Season finale
The final rounds of the Texaco Havoline Ginetta Championship at Donington Park
In pursuit of greater speed I decided to see if analysing race data over a weekend could really get the best out of car and driver. For my code breaking I decided an alternative park to Bletchley was needed, so the Midlands race track that is Donington was the location of this modern day math session. And a brand new DL1 from Race Technology my chosen statistical weapon.
Fresh rubber takes around three laps to get to the really sticky stuff, so onto lap four I sped up to set my fastest time. Beating my best times in sector one and two, this was going to be a blistering lap. As I approached the Esses yellow flags were being waved furiously and I had to slow for two Ginettas that had tried to use the same bit of track at the same time. This cost me over a second and with the resultant red flag and traffic in the second part of qualifying I found myself 16th and 14th on the grid for the races.
On the two green flag laps prior to the start it became obvious that the front end grip was non existent. The Donington Park clock ticked to 5.15 above my head on the start line and the red lights extinguished – time to start slipping in circles around the track.
Progress from 16th place on the grid was difficult and battling to keep up with the front pack was hard. As Paul Morgan span in front coming out of McLeans I backed off to avoid the pirouetting Ginetta and jinxed around the left side. This unfortunately meant that time was lost to the major pack as I missed the slipstreaming affect that was pulling them all along and so had to settle for a battle for 12th place by the end.
The quicker laps showed a sharper lateral g-force applied to turn-in and later braking into the corners. Also it was easy to see the cornering force for each turn around the track and identify where I could carry more speed through the bends and brake less. All in all it was shouting at me to be more aggressive, stop dawdling around the track and start being a racing driver again.
The last race of the season was greeted with bright sunshine and with the new sticky rubber back on the car it was time to finish the season with a last resounding racing flourish. This wasn’t just for TeamPH pride but also the championship position was in jeopardy as my closest rival, Matthew Flowers, look set for a podium – I needed to finish in the top 6 to retain my position and I was starting the race in 14th slot.
Coming into McLeans for the first revolution Mark moved slowly across onto me and I thought he hasn’t seen me. As I straddled the kerbing he kept moving towards me and as I couldn’t move any further to the right we collided and unfortunately Mark span off into the barriers. I managed to keep the car in a straight line but dropped to 13th place.
Last time into the back straight I saw a struggling Russell McCarthy running out of fuel and now the battle became one for 5th place. As cars swarmed around me I lept to the inside for the chicane and three abreast we braked for the last corner of the season, by mid corner it was two abreast and a straight drag race to the finish line only metres away. With a margin of 0.2 seconds I secured 5th, though the whole race being a battle it felt like a victory – a great end to the season.
So TeamPH finish the Texaco Havoline Ginetta Championship in 8th place overall, just one of the many statistics from the season: 350-litres of race fuel, 224 race points, 46 drivers, 20 Michelin race tyres, 18 spins, 3 DNFs, three sets of brake pads, one rear end repair and 1 huge smile from a fabulous season and a big congratulations to fellow PHer Spencer McCarthy (No52) for his championship win.
|2||3||Julian||Barratt||Reflex Racing GB||+ 0.748|
|4||52||Spencer||McCarthy||McCarthy Motorsport||+ 14.876|
|5||9||Gary||Simms||Optimum Motorsport||+ 18.111|
|6||6||Matthew||Flowers||Optimum Motorsport||+ 22.148|
|7||99||Phil||Sykes||Speedworks Motorsport||+ 22.350|
|9||51||Russel||McCarthy||McCarthy Motorsport||+ 27.092|
|11||19||David||Jackson||Speedworks Motorsport||+ 41.937|
|1||3||Julian||Barratt||Reflex Racing GB||20:43.138|
|2||99||Phil||Sykes||Speedworks Motorsport||+ 5.349|
|3||6||Matthew||Flowers||Optimum Motorsport||+ 15.133|
|4||35||Tom||Jones||Jones Motorhomes||+ 21.395|
|8||19||David||Jackson||Speedworks Motorsport||+ 28.520|
|10||17||Neil||Merry||Speedworks Motorsport||+ 29.309|