Another round of the 2020 Formula Vee championship wrapped up and it was certainly a lot more positive this time around than before, in Mondello Park where I got 2 DNFs and zero points. I learned a lot this weekend, and I can’t be too disappointed in it.
fresh start in Friday testing
Friday mornings going to Kirkistown are always far too early for someone like me, however 5:30a.m. up and ready to take on the day and the long journey to Down.
Out for the first lap on the damp & drying track I made it to debtors for the first time in almost 12 months and did the cardinal sin – lifted before the apex. The Formula Vee is such a different machine to the Ginetta and I was sure that it wouldn’t be flat out through the corner. However, I built up the confidence over the rest of the lap and next time around held the throttle to the floor and it felt like entering warp drive! (It did not feel nearly that cool by the end of the weekend, but great to have that new experience, haha!)
The sessions were decent and I spent the day just cutting down on times and making minor adjustments to the car.
saturday – out for qualifying
I went out for Qualifying early Saturday morning after a cold night in the tent (and a nice hot chocolate to warm up!) and got a decent feel for the car right away, taking 7 tenths out of my best testing time and with no tow to give me sympathy for my fairly slow pace I was delighted to hear that I had qualified 11th overall and 3rd in class. Brilliant! Or so I thought.
As it turns out 8 people had not gotten a time recorded, so it might have been a bit of a fluke, but I could make something from this I was sure.
Onto the b/c race… Or was it? – Qualifying again
I was so ready to take on the B/C race starting 11th and only 2 positions behind the Pole-sitter in class, but before the race we were all called to meet in regards to a timing issue and after a vote it was decided that we would re-run qualifying. This was the fairest option of any that we had and so we all got our hotlap hats on again and off we went.
It became clear during this session that the engine was quite a bit down on power, as I would wait to get in somebody’s slipstream and by the end of the straight the other car would be too far ahead to have any effect at all. However, I still cut another 0.650 off of my first qualifying time to get a 1:10.9 which landed me 17th overall. This was quite painful but I think I was getting as much as I could from the car.
Onto the actual race…
In my short racing career I had never felt so nervous for a race as I did before this one, in paddock assembly I even felt weak in my stomach thinking about trying not to repeat what happened last time out in Mondello in turn 1. I know that I shouldn’t let these things affect me as much as it did and I ended up getting a bad start as a result and lost a position but after a clean turn 1 I was ready to take on the race.
It had showed to be a mistake to let the other driver ahead at the start as I got stuck behind for a few laps, faster in the corners, slower in the straights, it was like a game of cat and mouse. One of the laps, coming into colonial from around 4 maybe 5 car lengths back the gap opened up and I was past and made the gap over the following laps to almost 30 seconds
I’d say if I had’ve fought a bit harder at the start I could’ve been in a good position to take my maiden motorsport podium, however I have to be happy with P4 in class when I really wasn’t able to compete on the straights, of which there are a lot of in Kirkistown.
If you want to watch the race in it’s entirety, click here.
The engine will be something to take a look at over the winter, however I can be quite sure that my strength lies in the corners and the experience I got in Kirkistown has me feeling more comfortable than ever bringing the car to it’s limit. I feel like Mondello at the next race has the potential to be decent for me, being a more technical track and I couldn’t be more ready to take it on. Especially after the potential of the last race that I had there, running in P2 until a mistake put me out.
Only 2 weeks until we’re back, and I have 3 words for it;
Bring. It. On!