MINI Challenge Cooper Trophy Pre Donington Report
Posted by BRADLEY GRAVETT
I hope you've enjoyed the second lockdown as much as we have... not..! Well let's be honest, it didn't feel much like the first; however, it seems to have done enough to convince the government we can all go racing again, happy days. :)
So, this round was actually scheduled for the start of November, but obviously, the second lockdown pushed it back to this coming weekend. If I am completely honest, I didn't think this round was going to go ahead, or at least this side of the new year. In fact, I am actually quite surprised the meeting has been allowed to run with Leicestershire being (I believe) a tier 3 area, I am really not understanding these new rules, but, I can't complain.
Donington + Craner Curves + December / 4 degrees - any sign of grit + The MINI Challenge should = some pretty interesting racing... I hope.
Donington, just like all the other circuits this year, I've never driven it. Although, unlike the others, Donington is one of the few circuits I have spent quite a lot of time at over the years following dad and his racing, and I am quite familiar with it and its layout. I am very excited to have the chance to drive Donington, and I am very much looking forward to this weekend.
Running a race meeting in December is not ideal, especially with the weather we expect over the weekend. The problem we and everybody else has is that if it's dry; we will struggle to get temperature into the tyres, especially the rears and if it's wet, it could be icy - although I've been ice-driving, so the latter wouldn't be too much of a problem. But, to be totally honest, I am usually very good at driving in tricky conditions; I have always been very good at finding the grip on the circuit, and I'm not frightened of the car or of what it's going to do; and, if it does go pare shaped, my car control is strong enough to recover it.
What does concern me with the conditions, is the other drivers; not necessarily hitting me, but more taking themselves out and causing red flags in testing. I need as much track time as I can get, and red flags cutting our testing session down would be a real nuisance. We have however planned for this; I've done about 150 laps around Donington on the simulator with both dad and Steve (Soper) shooting me hints and tips, and I eventually ended up going about a second faster than Stave, so I am quite happy about that.
Overall I feel confident about the weekend, and I'm hungry and ready to go. The long break since the last round at Croft has allowed me to reflect and think about what I can do differently; my conclusion is "just drive a bit faster than everyone else". But, as I always do, I will give it everything I've got and more to try and secure the result we still all very much deserve.