RE: Caterham Academy 2013: Blyton sprint

RE: Caterham Academy 2013: Blyton sprint

Monday 1st July 2013

Caterham Academy 2013: Blyton sprint

Caterham Academy winner Dan Livingstone reports back from Blyton Park



Round three of the Caterham Academy was at Blyton Park. It’s very open and allows quite a margin for error, which is good for us Academy racers even if the forecasted rain wasn’t.

Dan in action at the Blyton sprint round
Dan in action at the Blyton sprint round
The intense sprint schedule was the same as Snetterton, meaning two practice runs and then two timed runs. Imagine arriving at a track for a competitive event, where you have never been before, without having any sighting laps and pushing yourself to go flat out from lap one. Incredibly testing but I was up for the challenge! 

My dad and I made the 200-mile trip up to Blyton on the Friday afternoon. I drove up on the day for Snetterton and was pretty tired by the time I drove home, so this time made the decision to stay in a hotel the night before, waking to unexpected but welcome sunshine. At the circuit I prepared the Caterham for the day ahead. Which basically means removing the roof, fitting the timing strut and taping over the handbrake so it doesn’t catch on the wrist restraints.

My first practice run went reasonably well and put me fifth. I knew I had not taken a couple corners correctly and could build on my first attempt. My second practice run went even better and I managed to reduce my time by 2.5 seconds to 78.13, putting me second fastest. Then the heavens opened. A couple guys were out on track so I imagined this caused their laps to be a little tricky but the sun reappeared and the track soon dried.

DIY race prep in the Blyton paddock for Dan
DIY race prep in the Blyton paddock for Dan
Over lunch championship co-ordinator Jennifer Grace recruited me and three others for some promotional photographs. Following the tracking car we were told to drive close to each other and swap places. This gave us a hint of what it was going to be like on track together racing each other. I can't wait!

For the timed runs I thought it would be best to get a banker lap in first. I made a good start and went up the gears to third and was flat out (as before) heading to the first corner. I carried a bit too much speed and the back of the car stepped out. I made a quick correction but then it snapped again and I couldn't correct it this time. The car span and I had ruined the lap. This lap was classed as a fail as four wheels had left the track when I span. I was disappointed and when I arrived back in the paddock I noticed the sky was clouding over again. This made my mind go into overdrive as I knew if it did rain that I wouldn't be able to post a fast time due to the conditions and that everyone who posted a lap time in the first run would be much higher than me in the standings. Luckily it didn't and the sky started brightening up by the time my second run had come round.

An early spin inspired Dan to bank a quick one
An early spin inspired Dan to bank a quick one
The pressure was on and I knew I had to post a competitive time. I made an even better get away this time and successfully made my way through the first corner and all the way to the finish line without any problems. I was conservative and this showed - 79.58. It was then announced that there would be a third timed run. This was music to my ears! Banker lap in I pushed hard and got a 77.17, putting me in fourth! It was my best finish of the year so far and I was over the moon!

Next up for me is the first Academy race of the year on July 13-14 at Donington Park. I'm very excited to get out on track for my first ever race and will be pushing very hard for a good result.

Marshalling
Being part of the Academy you have the option of becoming a marshal for the day in return for five championship points. Having always wanted to give it a go anyway I straight away arranged a date with the MSVR marshal co-ordinator for the Mini Festival at Brands Hatch. After the safety briefing I was thrilled to hear I would be located at the bottom of Paddock Hill.

Marshalling helps Academy drivers give a bit back
Marshalling helps Academy drivers give a bit back
I was greeted by the chief post marshal Peter. Peter has been a marshal for years and has travelled to various countries to marshal motorsport from club level racing to Formula 1. He was in charge of the post and four other marshals called Kelvin, Owen, Richard and Barry.

During the day I asked them all which drivers they have attended to, the roll call including Michael Schumacher, Kimi Raikkonen and Paul Di Resta with plenty of fascinating stories to listen to as the anecdotes kept coming.

The track action began and Minis were out on track qualifying for the afternoon races. As it was my first time marshalling I was only allowed the other side of the barrier if the session was red flagged or the chequered flag was waved. As the first Mini qualifying session was ending two Minis had an almighty off, one of them barrel rolling twice. This was a huge crash which caused a lot of damage to the car. Fortunately the driver was OK and able to extricate himself. After the session was red flagged I made my way on to the track and helped connect the towing strap to the car. I then helped prepare the race track again by sweeping the gravel off the circuit.  A real buzz and the marshals have a great sense of camaraderie.

All in all it was a great day and I will definitely marshal again someday.

A quick check to make sure all is in order
A quick check to make sure all is in order
Car set-up at DPR Motorsport
After the sprint events a couple people mentioned it is best to get the Caterham checked over. After driving approximately 3,000 miles in the car the suspension tends to settle and will be slightly lower than when it was when I first got the car so I wanted to make sure that the car was still meeting all of the championship technical regulations for peace of mind. A few of the Academy guys have used a company called DPR Motorsport and had recommended them highly. I gave David Rowe (DPR Motorsport) a call and arranged a visit.

When I arrived at their workshop there was around 10 Caterhams in for some maintenance ranging from Academy cars right up to R300. It was cool looking around the R300 to see what a top level Caterham race car looks like. David then explained exactly what work he was carrying out as he was going along. The attention to detail was brilliant and this is very reassuring to see. DPR use a Pro-Align Hunter four-wheel alignment system which has amazing accuracy on setting cars up. They have their own approach to corner weighting and are able to quickly measure castor and equalise. Once the car was set up they also renewed the front brake pads.

Dan in action at Blyton.

 


Previous Updates:
The lucky winner of our 2013 Caterham Academy drive is announced
The season begins - Dan collects the keys to his new car
Practice makes perfect
Battle commences at Aintree

Author
Discussion

mike88

Original Poster:

361 posts

94 months

Monday 1st July 2013
quotequote all
I'm so not jealous.

Excellent result, I really like Blyton.

CaterhamDan7

55 posts

73 months

Tuesday 2nd July 2013
quotequote all
mike88 said:
I'm so not jealous.

Excellent result, I really like Blyton.
Thanks Mike. It's still a bit surreal knowing that I'm actually racing this year!

Blyton Park is a great little circuit isn't it :-)

framerateuk

2,437 posts

122 months

Tuesday 2nd July 2013
quotequote all
Well done Dan! Getting used to a Caterham and a new track at the same time is pretty daunting, good result for you there!

Bet you can't wait to get into the races smile

Snifflytooth

271 posts

129 months

Tuesday 2nd July 2013
quotequote all
Have you got the car all the time? If so....shhh.... what's stopping you doing a race in another Championship/series? I did the first Scholarship as it was in '95, and entered a race at Croft which wasn't in the Championship. I also did a couple of extra sprints and hill climbs - as did most of the drivers

good luck for the rest of the season and beyond... I ended up doing two 24hour races at The 'Ring

CaterhamDan7

55 posts

73 months

Tuesday 2nd July 2013
quotequote all
framerateuk said:
Well done Dan! Getting used to a Caterham and a new track at the same time is pretty daunting, good result for you there!

Bet you can't wait to get into the races smile
Cheers! Yeah I feel like I'm getting used to the Caterham now which makes it bit easier. I'm testing at Donington on the Friday of the race weekend. Will have roughly 4 x 30 minute sessions to get used to the track. Never driven Donington before so need to learn this one too! ha

Thanks
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woof

8,453 posts

215 months

Tuesday 2nd July 2013
quotequote all
Snifflytooth said:
Have you got the car all the time? If so....shhh.... what's stopping you doing a race in another Championship/series? I did the first Scholarship as it was in '95, and entered a race at Croft which wasn't in the Championship. I also did a couple of extra sprints and hill climbs - as did most of the drivers

good luck for the rest of the season and beyond... I ended up doing two 24hour races at The 'Ring
The regs say you can't race in any other series (within the same season as your Academy year) , without permission from the Champs - which they won't give these days

Edited by woof on Tuesday 2nd July 12:50

spunky-mon

897 posts

147 months

Tuesday 2nd July 2013
quotequote all
Probably worth pointing out that the knowledgable Mr Rowe not only fixes and maintains cars, he has just taken part in the pikes peak in an Evo he built himself!

http://www.lancerregister.com/showthread.php?t=423...

dorowe

7 posts

204 months

Wednesday 3rd July 2013
quotequote all
Actually it is DPR Motorsport not EPS so a different David Rowe, but the mention appreciated in any event!

Irrotational

1,539 posts

126 months

Monday 8th July 2013
quotequote all
dorowe - are you pikes peak derek or caterham derek?

I shared a go-kart with caterham derek at a corporate day at Buckmore park - and he was very very quick!

Never did find out how he managed it either! :-)