Day into Dusk
Together, We Progress (TWP) Racing returned to their home Circuit this weekend for - what transpired to be - an amazing three-hour CARTEK Club Enduro race with the 750 Motor Club. Perfect conditions and sunny skies meant qualifying was hard work for the drivers with oven-like cockpit temperatures but the six-to-nine PM race provided perfect driving conditions.
The decision to run the event in relay format with the Team's Mk1 & Mk3 MX-5s transpired to be a bold but wise move; partly based on expectation of attrition, partly a little bit of good fortune.
With a 'run-long' strategy, two early safety cars could have put pay to the Team's plans. Having seen Class P1 during his stint (not to mention overtaking a Ferrari two Classes above us on the first lap!) Stuart Brittle pitted the Mk1 as planned at one hour twenty-two to be replaced by Will Earp in the new Mk3. Just two laps into his stint a major incident on the pit straight meant the rest of Will's planned run was spent at 60kph behind the Safety Car (upwards of 10 laps!) but some quick maths on the pit-wall meant that the final car/driver handover happened just as the Safety Car passed for the last time; Nick Dougill fed straight out behind the train and rejoined with another planned long run to the flag.
The strategy worked perfectly; P6 soon became P4 with a podium looking a strong possibility with two of the three cars above us still to make their final stop. With 20 minutes to go the TWP Racing Mk1 slotted into third in Class with a lap-up on the fourth-placed car. All Nick had to do was drive clean to the end, which is exactly what he did!
So, after three hours of frenetic racing the Team completed 110 laps and finished 10th overall (an amazing feat given the strong field of 34 competitors) with an all-important podium in Class.
Team Principle Jon Earp seemed quietly content with the weekend: "I'm always nervous pre-weekend. With all the preparation in the world there's always something there to catch you out - as we discovered on Friday practice when a new front wheel bearing collapsed after just six laps! - but the Students did a sterling job of turning the cars around after Saturday quali ready for the six-PM start" He continued: "it's important that we grow the project and continue to develop the Team into a model that suits the needs of the University (in terms of learning objectives), I think we'll see some significant changes in the coming months that will see us spread across the academic syllabus within WGU and possibly to a wider audience".
The Team has also attracted a new sponsor who's name appeared on both cars in time for the event, Relationship Manager Will Earp said: "Clapham North came to see us at Snetterton and liked what it is we're doing. Their kind assistance has provided us a much-needed boost in developing the cars and we're incredibly grateful to George Grant and his team".
So, a month and a week until Silverstone...
2017 Race Calendar:
750 Motor Club CARTEK Club Enduro
19 Mar Donington 2hr 23 Apr Snetterton 2hr 08 Jul Anglesey 3hr 20 Aug Silverstone (Int) 2hr 01 Oct Spa Francorchamps 2hr
750 Motor Club Birkett Relay
28 Oct Silverstone GP 6hr
BARC / Mission Motorsport Race of Remembrance
11/12 Nov Anglesey 12hr
That's 29 hours of racing!!!
TWP: Together, We Progress. In partnership with Wrexham Glyndwr University.