After a positive first race meeting in the Mini Challenge last month at Oulton Park, I was very much looking forward to Donnington Park.
I tested on Thursday and I felt more confident in the car. It was the first time I’ve driven the Grand Prix circuit too, which is a very good layout and I enjoyed the fast chicane particularly.
I started the day off very quick and not too far off my team mates who are often on the podium. However as the day went on I couldn’t improve on my times which made me very frustrated as I knew that I was driving better. I think this was due to us being out on track with British GT who were obviously much faster and resulted in us Minis being overtaken most laps.
Something I’ve always struggled with since karting is getting overly frustrated with myself when my lap times aren’t where I want them, but I always seem to overcome this for qualifying. Friday was a track day and therefore I decided not to do it as it wouldn’t have been a valuable learning day. I also felt it would have just added to my frustrations and I wanted a day to go over my data and prepare for qualifying.
Saturday arrived and qualifying was a success. I kept in the top four the whole of the session, until my last lap was hampered which dropped me to sixth, nevertheless, I was still pleased with this. A rare good start from me meant I went up to fifth in race one and managed to keep up with the lead group. My car then suffered understeer problems which meant I dropped to seventh. Half of race two was spent under the safety car, and I spent the rest of the race defending for seventh.
In my experience of car racing, I’ve never had such close racing and had to defend excessively, this was a new challenge for me and I felt as though it was great experience and added to my confidence. Being able to deal with my frustrations from Thursday testing and be in the mid pack during the races was a positive point to take from the weekend and something I can build on.
The last round of the Mini Challenge is at Snetterton in October and from there I aim to test over winter with an instructor to improve on techniques I’ve been struggling with since moving to FWD with such close racing.