A matter of days after the completion of the new build, Ryan and Rob made their way to Thruxton in Hampshire for another race weekend. Seeing as we had a brand new car, Friday testing was a must and considering the car had been bolted together in 3 weeks, it was a very successful session. Despite being a heavier car after the loss of the fibreglass doors, the car felt more positive with the stiffer cage being the main contributor to this.
Qualifying was another success, grabbing 10th on the grid with the new car with a 1:31.959, less than 4 tenths behind our main rival Tom Mensley in the #80 Clio. We had fuelled the car quite low during qualifying and we began to get fuel surge around the very fast church bend, which cost us a few tenths. We spent some time trying to understand how this was possible, seeing as other Clios didn’t seem to be suffering. After some investigation, we figured out that the way by which we had plumbed the system was actually draining the internal swirl pot. We re-configured the plumbing, essentially making a dead-head system, which has remedied the issue.
Ryan started the race and on the first lap and after managing to get the jump on Tom Mensley, continued to push hard to catch Mark Livens in the #54 Honda Civic. Tom was following closely and all 3 cars enjoyed a tight battle for the first 6 laps before Tom took an early pitstop. Mark would pit a few laps later, leaving Ryan out for a number of laps to try and put some more fast laps in. However, the tyres were struggling to cope with the punishing Thruxton surface and the high speeds of the circuit.
Entering the pits, we were sitting in an aggregate 7th position. Rob came out of the pits, just behind Tom Mensley and with Mark Livens around 10 seconds behind. Unfortunately, the tyres were past their best by now and Rob struggled to keep the lap times up, Mark was running at around 2 seconds a lap quicker at this point and would take the place 5 laps later. After a late retirement, we would bring the car over the line in 7th place, but we would inherit 6th place after the 2nd place car of Richard Wheeler failed to take a drive through penalty and would be excluded.
Overall, a strong result considering all of the hurdles we’ve overcome to get a new car together in such a short period of time. Next up is Donington Park in just 3 weeks time.