I arrived over an hour early for today’s practice session. It was hot again and I enjoyed my time in the sun watching a few private owners doing some laps.
About half an hour before my session, another competitor arrived. He has written some software for learning tracks before you get an event. He has been to this track a few times before to get data on the fastest lines for his software. I’m surprised by how friendly most competitors are at these events. I was hoping I could learn a bit from him on the track too, given the data he compiled for his software.
Two more people turned up, a competitor and his friend. Both have done some serious racing before, and this was their home circuit. They had all the kit; race suits, boots, gloves, and lids. There’s me with my own knee pads and newly purchased gloves, and there’s them with full race gear!
When we actually got started, I left the pits third but was leading by the end of the first lap. Alright, it wasn’t a race, but it’s good to get ahead anyway. Later on I did pass several cars, but I’m not sure who and how many times.
The circuit has an electronic timing board on the start/finish straight. As you finish the lap, you can see the time for the previous lap. I was pleased to see that I was quickest almost every lap. They were getting times in the 42 or 43 seconds range mostly, and mine were mostly in the 41 something range.
Each lap I’d see the board and see my fairly consistent times reducing slightly. As they did so and got around the 41.4 second mark, I really wanted to get a sub 41 second lap.
It’s amazing how consistent the times can be. On a track with 8 turns and a 40-odd second lap time, it’s amazing to see some consecutive laps within 5/100s of a second (that’s 0.05 seconds for those born metric). The analytical ones amongst you would have worked out already that that’s 0.1% difference. If I could remember my A-level statistics, I could work out the standard deviation too.
Anyway, working really hard to shave a few tenths here and there worked. On three out of 70 odd laps I did achieve a sub 40 second time. The lap chart afterwards confirmed that, with 40.74 being the quickest.
I think I’m pretty well prepared for the event next week now, given the fact we only had seven days notice of the venue. It’s hard to predict how quick I am compared to the 200ish competitors when I’ve only seen three of them.
All 200 are taking part on the same day, as far as I can work out. No doubt the judges will be looking for quick times, but also sensible driving and a good attitude. The event is being filmed for TV too. Men & Motors is going to air the event in eight prime time episodes. Maybe you’ll see me on TV!
I was on TV last year when I entered the event, but only for a few seconds in a crowd of others. This time though, I’m hoping they’ll do a few interviews. What they do is pick a few competitors, and follow them through the rounds until the final. It’ll be good for any sponsors I get if I can get some exposure.