Friday practice- When I went out for the session with the instructor I found that the track is very technical and required a lot of confidence in certain corners. I got a feel for the car, how it handled and got used to the tack ready for Saturday. After going through the data I found that there were areas all around the track were I needed to improve on.
Saturday practice one – I went out and found that the car handles different and was able to carry a lot more speed through the corners with out an instructor in with me. I got used to the car and was able to push the car bringing my lap times with in 8 seconds off pole with a 1min 52 seconds. I knew that I needed to find a big chunk of time to be in with a shot of gaining a good place in qualifying on Sunday.
Saturday practice two- when I started I was aiming to be able to get a 1min 49 seconds. I was pushing the car but just didn’t quite have the confidence to go through hall bends as quick as everyone else. This was affecting my lap times considerably. I ended the session putting in a lap of 1 min 51 seconds. When I came in I was disappointed that I was unable to put in the lap that I was aiming for but the team encouraged me and told me that I have improved through every session knocking time off every lap. This made me determined for Sunday qualifying.
At night me and Nicholas from the team went out to walk the track to find out where we can make up time and get a better idea of the track layout. On the walk it made me realise where I could push the car and how the camber in the corners could allow me to carry more speed. This helped me a lot going into Sunday.
Sunday qualifying- before going out I spoke to Michael (my mechanic) and he encouraged me that I was doing well and I just needed to keep improving on my lap times and not to worry about other people. Nicholas spoke to me as well and ran through a few of the difficult corners and told me that I was doing well on such a technical track. When I was sat in the car ready to go out Simon also came over and told me to stay calm and just push through the corners and he has confidence that I would be fine. This helped me a lot to believe that it was going to be a good session. We were let out and part way through we came in to the pits due to a red flag on circuit. Michael let me know we’re I was on live timing and my best lap. I knew that I needed to improve and was ready to go back out. When the green flag was shown I went out found some space and put a quick lap in my personal best knocking four seconds of my time with a 1min 47 seconds. I was happy with this and now started to realise that i wasn’t to far away from the leaders.
Race one – I was thirteenth on the grid for race one. As we lined up on the grid waiting for the lights to go out I was a bit nervous to make sure that I got the start right. The lights went out and unfortunately I didn’t have the best of starts dropping me down to last place. I caught back up and passed a few cars which put me twelfth at the end of the race. I came in and knew that I made a couple of silly mistakes that could easily be fixed for race two. I also improved my personal best dropping into the 1min 46.9 seconds.
Race 2- I started twelfth on the grid. I knew that it was going to be a difficult race but was prepared to go out there and give it my all. After another unfortunate start dropping me back down the field I knew that it wasn’t over yet. I looked at my data showing my lap times and concentrated on getting minus in each of the sectors. I caught back up to the grid and made a overtake coming in to the mountain by being as late as I could on the brakes making sure I had a good exit out of the corner. It was a good clean overtake and I got ready to chase the next cars down in front. As the race went on I could see that I was closing the gap down especially in the fast flowing corners. Unfortunately there weren’t enough laps to be able to close the gap down leaving me with the second twelfth place finish of the day and dropping my lap time down to a 1min 46.3 seconds.
Overall I enjoyed the weekend and got on with the team really well. I feel like i progressed massively over the weekend and I have confidence in the car. The support from Simon, Neil, Nicholas, Michael and the rest of the team was great and they made me feel a part of the team and welcome. I would also like to thank Brian for making all this happen and giving me an opportunity to prove what I am capable off. I am looking forward to silverstone now and can’t wait to get back in the car again and now get the lap times placing higher up the field. I am confident that I am able to set the car up to how I am comfortable and work with the team to find the best set up. By Jamie-Lea Hawley