Taelor Shand gets to grips with her JCW at the Oulton Park Mini festival

Taelor charging around lodge (Photo by Marc Waller)Taelor Shand recently had the latest rounds of her debut Mini Challenge JCW season when the championship headed for Oulton Park for the second Mini festival of 2018.

This is Taelor’s first season in the JCWs and with her only racing experience before being the Scottish Mini challenge in Cooper class cars (Plus a single British round), this year has been a massive step up and a nearly vertical learning curve.

As various drivers have proved in the past, the JCW car is a tough one to tame with many good drivers getting nowhere with it. Taelor is determined though and her previous rounds at Silverstone saw her make a huge step forward with her progress and she headed to Cheshire feeling more confident than ever.

She had a test session first on Friday which was her first chance to drive the car since an incident in the final race at Silverstone. This would be the first time she would race on a circuit that she had already raced on in 2018 with the championship also having it’s initial rounds here supporting British GT.

Taelor made sure she ironed out the bad habits she had picked up in the first rounds and tried to optimise her lap as much as possible. The set up seemed perfect and she set some great lap times with things looking good for race day.

Race day would be very busy with qualifying and two races all in one day. Initially Qualifying went well with Taelor into the front half of the field in fourteenth. Unfortunately, a red flag brought the session to a temporary halt. When things restarted, Taelor found it hard to get back into a rhythm and so she didn’t improve which dropped her to twenty third but just 1.7 second off pole. She was feeling more confident than ever before though and was looking forward to the races.

She got a great start for the first grid and was soon racing with the group of cars in front. As the laps ticked by she gradually picked off cars in front of her finishing in nineteenth only just behind the competitive midfield group.

“After qualifying 23rd but only 1.7 seconds off pole, I knew it was going to be a very close race!

I managed to pick off 4 cars to finish 19th place, my best yet.I can't wait for the next race after lunch.” She said after the race.

Tight battles (Photo by Marc Waller) Racing with BTCC star Collard in the guest car (Photo by Marc Waller) Taelor meets fans on the grid (Photo by Marc Waller)

 

 

 

The second race went even better with Taelor looking like she had been racing a JCW Mini for years. She fought her way up to the secondary pack just behind the leading group. She peaked up at fourteenth place and looked set to finish in this position but her tyres started going off losing her pace. Despite this only one car slipped past her and she took a season best result of fifteenth. She was pleased with her day.

“What a day! Fifteenth, my best result so far. Two great results!”

There are now just three race weekends left for the JCWs. Two at Brands Hatch (DTM support and the Mini festival) with the finale at Donington Park.

Taelor will be looking to continue her rise up the order and a top ten is a realistic target now she seems to have tamed the difficult to drive JCW Mini.

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