A wet track day at Snetterton….
The weekend started with me driving up the night before, and meeting with the guys from AB Motorsport. We had a laugh and a few drinks to calm the nerves before tomorrow’s test day.
The morning came, and I headed to Snetterton. The AB Motorsport crew had already left to set everything up. After a brief and rather fast encounter with an Aston Martin Vanquish (…which who would’ve guessed, was going to Snetterton too) I arrived. The crew already had the car up in the air for the new differential to be installed. After a seemingly longer than usual briefing, we headed out for the sighting laps on a damp Snetterton 300 circuit. With a feel for the conditions I headed back in to get my noise test done.
So, out on the track for my first go at Snetterton in the new car. With a few controlled sideways moments and some overtaking of slower cars I came back in, feeling good about how I was going around. After I came back in Ali and Brad made a setup change to the car, freeing up more grip on an increasingly wet track. The morning passed quickly with me slowly getting more confident in the conditions.
I enjoyed a lasagne for lunch and more banter with the AB Motorsport crew and walked out to the paddock… the heavens had really opened. Nevertheless, I got back to the car quickly as I always like to get out after lunch to enjoy the free track. The heavens continued to stay open. This was definitely the wettest conditions I had ever driven in…and in an open top car…I stayed out for a longer session than usual. I wanted to really get used to these conditions as I hadn’t had much experience with a race track like that.
Throughout the day, there were a spate of red flags due to cars just going off left, right and centre simply due to the conditions. I myself had an off into Oggies as I locked the brakes up and went straight on, but I brought it back on… no harm done. Later on, the AB crew decided to bring us all together to compare each other. We headed out together, with me at the back. Our experienced drivers, Olly and Stuart at the front quickly peeled off. This left me trying to chase Will, my fellow rookie within AB Motorsport. With my attempts to catch Will, a few accidental sideways moments were had which frustratingly slowed me down.
The AB guys again decided to do the same thing, however this time Will and I were at the front. This time, I really concentrated on a clean and smooth drive. This helped as I stayed on the back of Will for a while. I then passed him going down the straight. However, coming into the bomb hole corner near the end of the lap, the car speared sideways, I controlled it up to a point, but it was beyond control, I managed to keep on track between the white lines, but it was a big moment with Stuart just being able to stop in time to avoid hitting me (Sorry Stuart!).
After this, I came back into the paddock having grown increasingly frustrated at my apparent slowness compared to my fellow AB compatriots. I decided to take a 30-minute break to calm down. Jack suggested to chuck on the newer tyres (the ‘Wet’ tyres) to try grab more grip. I headed out one more time after a break. The car immediately felt like it had more grip which gave me more confidence towards the end of the day.
My last lap ended with a loud bang; my downpipe had snapped off. After crawling back to the pits whilst not daring to go over 2000 revs in 5th gear (it was horrifically loud!), I decided it was best to head home as they understandably didn’t have a replacement downpipe.
I’ve treated that day as a learning experience, it wasn’t the best day I’d had but I can learn a lot from it.
With my Brands Hatch test day being cancelled (snow), I’m now heading into my first Race Weekend with no practice, straight into Qualifying.
How hard can it be?