12th May 2018 Silverstone
The Saker Returns To Racing!
After all the hard work, all the late nights, the planning, the re-engineering, the re-building – and the money – the day of reckoning had finally arrived! We had turned up at Silverstone on Friday for a final test day and despite the best-laid plans, the numerous red flags put paid to any real consistency in our day – we were happy that the car was as prepared as we could be before race day.
Saturday dawned to dry and somewhat overcast weather – but at least it wasn’t raining – yet. Team tactics amongst the drivers are always fairly simple – David, you go and stick it on pole Alan, just do your best to bring it home at the end of the race!
David Brise duly obliged by setting a blistering lap of 2:06.028 to put the car on pole for our class and 5th overall. To put this in perspective, this was a full 10 seconds quicker than some of the Porsche Cup cars in our class and less than a second slower than the Mercedes AMG GT GT3 in the class above.
Race 1 started well, with David opening up a 13 second lead over the second quickest car in our class before bringing the car in for the driver changeover. All Alan had to do was hold position and victory was ours. But it was not to be – not because of Alan (surprisingly!), who was clocking up personal best lap-times, but because of a small gremlin in the pit stop which meant we were held up by 45 seconds longer than necessary – and missed out on 1st by 25 seconds! We just needed that lucky break………but it was not to be and so we had to settle for 3rd in class.
The second race was always going to be a lottery – due to the unpredictable weather forecast in the late afternoon. As a small team we are not yet blessed with built-in air jacks, a support team of 30 and all the paraphernalia required for sub 3-second tyre changes, so what we start the race on is pretty much what we are going to finish it on.
We took the chance and started on slicks – looked a great choice for the first 30 minutes, but just as we changed drivers the first spots of rain started to fall – no more than mist really. What should we do? Waste 3 minutes changing tyres, or take a chance that it was just a passing shower and stick with the slicks? We selected option B. Again, it looked inspired as we held P1 until 4 minutes from the end, when Silverstone Monsoon season arrived and turned our race into an episode of Skating on Ice and, unfortunately, we had to retire.
However, 2018 – what a comeback! Last season we couldn’t finish a race (in fact, we only actually started 2). This season we have already finished 3rd and have a car that is capable of the top step on the podium.
Notable achievements to take away from Silverstone:-
Qualified 1st in class, 5th overall in a field of 34 cars
Fastest lap in class – 2:06 around the 3.66 mile Grand Prix circuit (average 105 mph)
P1 in both races until fate intervened
We have a race winning car.
We would just like to congratulate Steve Brown, Head Mechanic, for the absolutely brilliant job he has done in re-building what is undoubtedly a race-winning car, and all this achieved following the decision to bring the running of the car in-house. His engineering prowess and attention to detail has elevated the Saker into a different league and has, at last, made it reliable – as well as very quick!
We would also like to thank the friends who turned up to support us – it is always very much appreciated (even if we do appear a bit busy at times).
And finally, a big thank you to our sponsors who assist in making all this possible.
Our next race day is Saturday, 23 June at Oulton Park (bit of a trek for the Southerners!) – as always, everyone is welcome.