Ginetta really know how to put on a day! They must have booked the sun months ago, because it ws a beautiful day out, bright skies and warm tarmac. Optimum, as always, handled the day brilliantly, everything ran smoothly, and the car was in peak physical and mechanical condition. All bodes well.
I spent the morning sessions blowing the cobwebs out, and just making sure I was still putting down consistent times, to random "lucky" laps, or any one lap slow one lap fast shenanigans. After the first 20 minutes, it was clear that, yeah, I was still rocking the consistency side of things. That meant I could do nothing but bash the lap times for the rest of the day. Second session, lap times down to a solid base for the afternoon, about 1.5 seconds behind the current pace.
After the lunch break, I jumped back in the beast (named Ripley, I think all my racing cars will carry that name...), and started kicking the times down. 10 out of the 15 or so laps in session 3 were well over a second faster, with the remaining 5 or so about the same as session 2. Fantastic! Current fastest lap after session 3 was under a second off the pace, now that's workable!
Session 4 went amazingly well, lap 3 saw a spin going into Maggotts. An error on my part sent the rear round faster than I could blink. I simply didn't blip the downshift from 3rd into 2nd enough, the rear wheels locked and it just rotated. No worries, threw it into first half way through the spin, got it the rest of the way round, dropped the clutch and continued on for the rest of the lap, and session. Turns out I ran about 5 or 6 seconds slower on that lap... and it had a full 360 in it!
By the end of session 4, and indeed the day, I was sitting a comfortable ~.5 off the pace! The best part being, for 90% of the session, my times were within a few tenths of themselves.
Considering that I haven't touched a track, or car, since October last year, that's brilliant headway for this season. Last year I struggled to put fast laps down outside of a race, and for practice and qually, this meant I was behind the pace by too much to be able to pull the places needed for podiums.
This year though... Well, here's the video of my last two runs, and see why I'm so stoked for the 2013 Ginetta Challenge!
And, for your viewing pleasure, the spin during the last session.