I can’t thank the team at 6CATS International enough for their support. 6CATS provided me the financial and logistical support necessary to make this debut weekend for me possible. It also enable it to be as big a success as it possible could be.
The weekend itself was a mixed bag. I had a shocker in qualifying. Somehow, on my 3rd lap I managed to lose the rear of the car. As I tried to correct it I ended up spinning in the opposite direction and ended up very well planted in the gravel. Embarrassing. Upsetting. Confidence destroying. Some of the only ways I can describe how I felt in that moment. Yet with only two full laps completed I still did not qualify last. Whilst I may have been clutching at straws in order to find a positive, it was a positive nonetheless. There was little time for me to worry about the woes of qualifying as the race was quickly upon us. The team had managed to remove the gravel (there was shed loads) and get the car ready for the race. This was it. My first ever race. There was no real expectation except for that I placed upon my own shoulders.
A poor start meant that I immediately fell to the back of the pack. I found myself stuck behind the chap in front and I was incredibly keen to try and make a pass on him. Finally I was able to follow him closely before then striking on the Sir Lewis Hamilton Straight. Once I’d overtaken him I was largely in a race of my own. My pace was quick enough to create a gap to the new back marker, but nowhere near quick enough to catch the cars in front. I really was caught in no man’s land. Having eventually been lapped myself the chequered flag was waved and that marked the end of my day. It was hugely disappointing as I knew I was capable of so much more. I was incredibly frustrated with my days performance. Ask the family, they’d probably agree that I was poor conversation on the Saturday night whilst eating dinner as I beat myself up about what might have been.
I finished race one in P36 by virtue pf the fact that there were a number of non-finishers. This meant I started 36th on the grid for race two. There were some incredibly quick drivers lined up behind me. A decent launch allowed me to hold a pretty good positions heading into turn one. In an attempt to remove myself from any ensuing danger I was very early onto the brakes when heading into Village which dropped me backwards slightly. I found myself where I was battling with the black car, 711. We exchanged positions plenty with audacious moves into the Vale Chicane and into Abbey. He did end up pulling off and that solidified my position. I had made some excellent progress though from my first race on the Saturday to the Sunday. I was 4 seconds faster on my fastest laps which was an immense step to take.
My final race of the weekend was another one I found to be incredibly entertaining from my position. Car 711 was my marker again but as the race wore on, he started to pull a gap on my car. It was frustrating as I had hoped I’d be able to perform a little more consistently than I did throughout the race. As I lost sight of him I was quickly checking my mirrors. I managed to finish the race 34th which was my highest finish of the weekend and kept many other cars behind me.
It was a great weekend and one that I will never forget. I am well aware there is so much more for me to improve on. With the help of the rest of the team I know exactly where it is I need to improve. Next time out, we are at Snetterton. A familiar circuit for me and I can’t wait to get started all over again.