Monday, October 28, 2013

"Torminator" on tv!

Motorstv coverage from a few of the rounds this year! Slowly but surely they're all being put up, so I'll update as they come. Some great bits of racing, and had some really good tv time in a few of the weekends. Still working on next year, sponsors are hard to come by but I'm confident!

Donington, round 7

Silverstone, round 3

Snetterton, round 4

Monday, October 21, 2013

Donington Park, a return to where it all began a year ago.

Last year my first ever Ginetta Challenge races took place at Donington, I loved the experience and instantly knew it was where I needed to be to launch into something special.

This year started with the union of myself and MOMO. It's been a fantastic partnership, getting them on board was a huge inspiration. Joining forces with them motivated me to new levels of professionalism both in and out of the car. I look forward to many more years with them.

The two weeks leading up to the event I managed to get two test sessions, both of which opened my eyes to the cars handling and my own driving. I learned more about driving the G40 fast in those two days than I have in most of this year.

Qualifying was saturday afternoon, so for once I got to sleep in on a race weekend! I rocked up to the track at around noon, and made sure everything was ready. I went out and put some really solid laps together, extremely consistent but due to yellow flags and an unpredictable track surface I couldn't get a good groove. I threw the car into p12 on the grid for both race 1 and 2, with just a couple of tenths separating the times. P12, that's fine, I've worked miracles from there before, no worries, I'll keep it clean in the race and work my way up like I always do!

The first race of what was to be an extremely eventful weekend started at 9:30am SHARP, so I was at the track for 8:30. Focus exercises prepped me for the race as I sat waiting in the assembly area... and boy did I need it. I won't spill the beans for what happens in race 1 seeing as there's video for it, so watch and enjoy!

Race 2... well, the race 2 that started when race 2 was supposed to start was red flagged before we even made it one lap because of this incident... video curtesy of Jon Greenwood. The driver of the damaged car was bashed about a bit, but is getting better.

Race 2 was rescheduled to the race 3 slot, so just like a year ago we only got 2 races for the final round.

Now... that was a crazy race... unfortunately due to the unique G40 reg. stating that cars are only allowed 1 gopro camera in the car, and the required use of the judicial sd cards, I don't have footage of any of it. You'll just have to let me paint a video with words.

Race 2! It all started well, from p12 again, but on the first lap there was a crash going into the Old Hairpin at the bottom of the Craner Curves. I managed to take advantage and picked up a number of spots, as we came round to end the lap and collect the safety car I was in 6th place! A couple of laps later, the safety car left and we went racing again... I was stuck on the tail of the leaders, and as we all turned into the Old Hairpin we found the fluid on the track, sending as all spinning! There was no oil flag out and no cement dust to dry the track, so we all assumed it was safe for race pace. G40s went everywhere, I managed to control my spin to stay on the track rather than flying off into the gravel, which meant that my trick of going down the gears while spinning paid off! A full 360 later I dropped the clutch in 1st and chased after the car in front, passed him, and just happened to get myself into 5th place. Though, it didn't matter as the race was red flagged that lap... at this point all drivers were told to get out of their cars and go listen to the clark of the course. During this time a new grid was sorted out for the restart, the talking to was to calm us down... apparently half the pack shouldn't go spinning off the track on the first lap after safety car...

With the new grid, I started p6, what a result! I got a winner start, I picked up 2 places before the first corner and attacked the first lap in 4th place! I was actually being slowed down by 2nd and 3rd, I wanted to break free and chase p1, but also didn't want to chuck it off so stayed calm and drove behind waiting for the opportunity to pass. Coming round on lap 2, about half way through the lap p5 took a dive, and got his car to the apex. I of course gave him room, he caught the curb and bounced into me, just enough to put me on the dirt and junk off the racing line. He stayed close to me holding me wide, through this fast corner I just couldn't hold it and touched the grass, which dragged me quickly off the track and into the gravel trap. I couldn't believe it... I believe that this year if I didn't have bad luck I wouldn't have had any luck at all!

Well, unlike Silverstone where I was running p3/p4 and span out, I didn't run out talent this time. This was all luck, and it just happened to be against me. Similar to Snetterton where I started p4 but was collected in a first corner incident I had nothing to do with.

You know, I think I've had the most overtaking practice of anyone in the Challenge field! I've started from the back on multiple occasions, not that I've wanted to of course... but I can't complain at gaining experience! I'll have to do a count and see how many passing maneuvers I've done in each race, add them up and see!

This was my first full year racing, I've loved every minute and can not see myself doing anything else. Through some very solid top 5 finishes this year, I managed to finish the championship in 10th place. We are ecstatic about this result! With no karting experience, barely any racing last year in the Caterham, and yet on several occasions this year I ran with the much more experienced leaders. 2013 was a year to learn from, 2014 will be a year to remember. Be a part of that!

Now the Future is here... 2014 is on the books and I'm in the hunt for sponsor partners to push me onto the -so far- elusive podium. Donington proved that I have the potential to be up front winning races, this makes me more determined than ever to have a full budget for next year, to build on my experiences from this year, and further grow a motorsports career.

Thank you, all my readers, for continuing to view my blog and follow this young, crazy, determined dreamer! I've really enjoyed writing these blogs knowing they do get read, by quite a few people too!

Stay tuned on this blog for updates on my sponsorship hunt, video highlights from the year (the good parts, and the not so good), and perhaps other stories about what I get up to in the off-season.

I'll be back.

If you've kept up with my story and want to be a part of the future, send me an email - tor(at)

Thursday, August 22, 2013

A final word from Spa Francorchamps - pit lane start to 13th race video.

Well, in my race report I said that I had to leave before I could pick up the video footage from my 3rd race... I asked at Brands Hatch, and the cards hadn't been wiped yet! Woohoo! So here we have it ladies and gents - pit lane start to 13th in 7 laps.


Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Brands Hatch - clearing the mind and exploring the soul

Brands Hatch was an interesting event for me.... it was full of mind games and realization, epiphanies and exercises that made me grow as a driver and person.

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(© Jakob Ebrey

The two weeks prior to Brands Hatch, I had cut milk out of my diet as it inhibited my ability to think, clogging my head. Unfortunately, by doing this I accidentally cut out my breakfast as I normally had cereal. You can see where this is heading right? Yes, come the Friday testing I was feeling quite weak, and the normally easy act of driving the car caused me massive pain and exhaustion. So in order to get myself back in working order ASAP, I ate pretty much non-stop in-between testing sessions, and had two suppers that night! With a few changes to the car that day, I did find some reasonable pace, though I wasn't where I normally was after the testing... I was quite disappointed, and didn't make the connection as to why until after race 1 on the next day... read on my friend.

Saturday morning was an early start, 7 o'clock sign on and qualifying at a dizzying 9am. Feeling better, but still not quite myself, I had a large breakfast, and continued to eat fruit and energy bars when I got to the track. While Qualifying didn't go particularly well, pace was found, and a few faults with the cars set up were mended. Throughout Friday and qualifying I couldn't quite pinpoint why I wasn't driving as hard, why I wasn't trying to push and find the fast lines and limits... something was broken in my head, and I didn't know what.

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(© Jakob Ebrey

For race 1 I was positive in getting my normal quick start, and managed to pick up 5 places in the opening laps. Then something strange occurred, something I'd never experienced before; I simply could not drive the car. I was looking the mirrors way too much, driving in them almost... I was watching the cars behind get closer, while the cars in front got lost in the distance. To conclude the race, I lost two places on the second to last lap and nearly lost a 3rd on the final lap. I managed to hold on comfortably to 12th place though. Afterwards I did my best to figure out how it'd happened... what in my brain had suddenly snapped in-between Spa Francorchamps and Brands Hatch.

That's where Linda Keen came in. I met Linda last year when she was recommended to me for helping with motorsports drivers. She is a sports psychotherapist, and specializes in getting people to focus and use their minds to reach their goal. She is bloody brilliant at it to say the least, she helped me massively last year, and without a doubt made me realize just what had caused my problems this fateful Saturday. We spent a while discussing what my brain was thinking during the race, and what I'd been doing for the 4 weeks prior to the race. She lead me to see that I had been suffocating my brain with work, thoughts, and fears about the 2014 racing season, it had completely stopped me from being able to focus on my racing. Even with what I had learned last year, it was impossible to think and believe positive outcomes when my brain was stuck like a rusted gearbox. She helped me psyche myself up again, boosted my positivity, which in turn allowed me to free my mind of the clogging thoughts about 2014.

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(© Jakob Ebrey

Race 2 was hectic, from my position at 16th on the grid (I mentioned qualifying didn't go well), I narrowly avoided some turn one crashes and moved up a couple of positions before the safety car boards came out. With the restart, I lost some distance to the cars in front, but then pulled it back in the following 3 corners. Fighting hard for the next place, I put in a 1:42.8 which ended up being my fastest lap of the weekend. Following that was the biggest move for position I've ever done - something I can't describe with words, you'll have to watch the video!

Race 3, as a result of race 2, was yet another race that I'd be working my way from the back in. 25th on the grid, man am I tired of being there... Next year I will have a budget worthy of my pace, and I will be up the front. For now though I'll look at the positives, and take all the overtaking practice I can get!
(©Aron Vickers

From the start I picked up 3 places on the first straight followed by a further 3 in the second corner. All through the race I just worked my way up the pack, to where I was 11th on the road. My goal when I got in the car was to make it to the top ten. I was so determined, I moved my interior mirror so I was blind to cars behind on lap 3 (I used it way too much) and focused on taking the car in front. Lap after lap ticked by, and I was closing at almost a second per lap, putting in the most consistent lap times of my career, every one separated by less than 2 tenths of a second. 5 laps and I was up behind him, ready to find a way past... it's in the video, so you'll have to watch it to see how I got on ;).

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(© Jakob Ebrey

8th place after penalties for track limits were given to cars in front in race 3. I got to my goal in spades! All the way to the top ten from 25th, in just 20 minutes of racing. Not bad, but clearly I and my car belong at the pointy end. I crave being up the front, I want it more than anything I own, more than anyone I know... Money plays such a huge part of something that brings me such joy, it's saddening. Donington is coming up, and I've managed to scrounge enough money to do a test day before the Friday testing, and will be fighting because my life depends on it come race day.

(©Aron Vickers

Racing is my passion, my one true calling, I can't get enough of it... driving is more than just fun for me, it's more than a pass time or a hobby, it is my all, my everything.

My life is wrapped into this choice to follow my dream more than anyone could know. I tirelessly work to make sure this passion can be continued into 2014, sponsorship partners will be in my future, this much passion has to go somewhere, right?

 photo 255c82f0-ddfd-48a9-b0ed-45017d9cb1d1_zpsbd1c71e9.jpg
(© Jakob Ebrey

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Spa 2013 footage from the grand stands near Eau Rouge

Just found this footage by Megaracer100, and it's pretty awesome!

For this race, I started from the pitlane, and it's clear, in the shot of the pack going through Eau Rouge for the first time, I'm not even in it! The Medic car goes through the shot before I do! It just puts into perspective what I put in words, and shows how much time I had to claw back on that first lap to come through 2nd from last, then pull myself up to 13th!

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Summer MOMO news

The latest from MOMO UK.

Great writeup about my exploits at Spa Francorchamps. Brands hatch coming soon, and really looking forward to it! I have spent quite a bit of time on the indy circuit, but this will be my first experience on the GP track, it should be a successful weekend!

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Spa Francorchamps - Simply stunning. P4!

That piece of tarmac, that winding ribbon of black heaven, is quite frankly, my favourite place on this blue-green planet of ours.

Lets start with a picture. Here I am looking dashing, this is a great pic, Jakob did a great job on this one. The suit, undershirt, and everything else MOMO makes can be had through the MOMO links round this blog.
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(all pictures ©Jakob Ebrey

All of the week before the races I was watching the weather, hoping beyond hopes that the notoriously unpredictable Spa rain would hold off for my journey to the epic historic circuit. The day of departure the forecast still said fantastic sunny skies with warm temps - perfect. It's not that I don't like racing in the rain, I actually love it, but a place of such awesomeness just had to be driven in the dry.

For testing we had two 30 minute sessions, which for a lot of people wasn't enough, so a large number of the front running drivers went and did more testing beforehand. I did not, though I knew how the track moved and which way the corners went through religious study of onboard videos and Grand Tourismo 5. This, however, did not prepare me for the sheer elevation of the track, there isn't a single corner or straight on the entire 4.5 mile track that lacked a few meters of change. Never the less, in the first half hour session out on track I had knocked my laptime down to a very respectable 2:56, compared to one of the other drivers who had been there much much longer, they were running 2:50. Six seconds off in my first ever half hour session driving the track is something to be extremely proud of.

I'm working my way back up the field here, after some problems.
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Sadly the second session was full of red flags and problems, so out of the full half hour we got just two flying laps in. These were both 2:56, so at least I was consistent and could work on finding time in qualifying the next day.

For qualifying I knew that I just had to push to get the speed up, as I knew it was a chance  to find pace and lap time before the races. I qualified 13th with a 2:52.1, 4 seconds off pole position 2:48.4. As this meant I had found 2 seconds of pace against the fastest drivers overnight, with no practice, I was pretty pleased!

Fighting for position through Eau Rouge
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Race 1 went brilliantly! I started p13 and made quite a good start, not really moving forwards but not losing position either. Through Eau Rouge for the time, a big chunk of the leaders span and crashed, leapfrogging me from 14th to 7th. With the remaining 4 laps, I fought heavily with a few other cars, and made it to P4! Top 5! I was, and still am, ecstatic! First top 5 of the year... so fantastic. The safety car came out, and under that P1 blew his engine up, covering the track in oil. P4 slid off into the barrier, allowing me to move from 5th to 4th, however because I almost followed him into the barrier on the oil, the race was red flagged. Had it not been, P1 would have received a DNF and I could have been on the podium. It is pointless to think of what could have been, as focusing on how to make it happen properly is far more important.

Here is the race 1 video, from start to safety car. It's really exciting!

I work hard every day to make the podium my place, where I belong. In every race, every test session it gets closer and closer.

Race 2 was hectic, I started p13 just like before and got a pretty good start, but coming out of the first corner and continuing down the hill to Eau Rouge I was side by side with 2 other cars. Eau Rouge is hard enough as a single car. Spinning at 115mph is quite scary with 20 cars breathing down your neck. Luckily I stopped the car before ending up in the barrier, but it was a close thing. I rejoined at the very back of the 35 car grid. Throughout race 2 the car was just, unhappy. Unresponsive steering, no grip, lots of understeer, then oversteer, just a really unhappy handling car. Really I should have headed the warnings going into Eau Rouge for the first time, and not attempted to take the corner flat out like I had in race 1. As a racing driver though, with cars close behind and just ahead, I wanted the run, I wanted the positions, I needed to gain. It's just a shame the car was having some issues and couldn't hold the track.

I fought back up to somewhere around 20th position in the following couple of laps. I then came across three g40s in heavy battle, slowing each other down. I knew I was quicker than them, but on lap 4, I was in heavy battle and the grip was just... gone. Here's the video

As you can see, I catch the initial slide but the following snap of grip and reinstated slide just throws me off the track and into the tires. Damage to the car, but no damage to me thankfully.

Full race 2 video will fill this space soon.

Race 3!
Well, because I crashed out of race 2, my grid position was the 2nd to last row. The Optimum guys did a fantastic job getting the car out on time for the grid formation lap. The car wasn't in happy condition after my crash, but not nearly as bad as I thought it would be. These Ginettas are fantastically tough machines!

While out on the formation lap the throttle got gradually more and more stuck open, to the extent I was on full throttle with my foot no where near it. I tried lining up on the grid to be ready for the green flag lap, but it was just boiling and destroying the clutch. I got pushed off the grid into the pits after the green flag lap started, the guys were there, ready and waiting to fix it. A quick troubleshoot later and the throttle was fixed. Somehow the clutch wasn't destroyed, so I was able to move to the end of the pit lane and start the race from there. What an experience that was! The lights go out on the grid, however I'm not allowed to leave pit lane until -after- the last car has passed the pit exit. This meant I started the race with stone cold slick tires, about 10 seconds down the road from 33rd in 34th position. This was my race though, it was time to work and find the pace.

Things went swimmingly; the car was better than race two but still not as happy as race 1. I managed to turn similar lap times, in the low 2:50s, with traffic and low grip. It wasn't there to improve my times as I knew I could. By the end of lap one I had gained one place; through lap 2 I gained 8 more. Lap 3 saw another 5 fall; lap 4 another 2. By lap 5 I was up with the G40s and continued to gain another 2 positions, even chasing down my own teammate. Lap 6 saw a further 2 positions, and coming round on the last lap, I moved up passed my team mate and took 15th place. 24 places in just 7 laps, just 20 minutes of racing. There's no better racing than that!

Unfortunately, due to the train schedule and getting a lift home, I did not have time to grab my race 3 footage, I may get lucky and have it at Brand Hatch, but it is unlikely.

Making my way through turn 1
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Spa has left me wanting more. I love the track and the amazing hilly countryside in which it's set. It really made me see just how much I love driving, no matter where I am on the grid. I love to drive, I can't stop, it brings sheer joy to my heart...

Because of this, I'm always hunting partners to join me in my racing exploits, sponsors are what they're traditionally called, but as I only deal in mutually beneficial terms, it's a partnership. Don't hesitate to contact me, I'm more than happy to about talk what is available to you.

Till next time!