15, Dec, 2020
ROB’S BLOG – OCTOBER 2020 Donington
Classic and Sports Car Club’s Autumn Race Meeting, 26/27 September
At Donington, the faster cars were lapping 2 seconds a lap quicker than before as competitors battled to improve on the record set last year by Boss Racing’s clients. But that’s fine. As far as I’m concerned, unbridled competition is the sincerest form of respect.
We were supporting Colin Watson in our No 92 Caterham C400 2400, Tim Davis in his similar car, Hugh Coulter (C400 2000), Richard Carter (R300 2000) and Peter French (Superlight R400 1800). In addition, we had rebuilt the engine of Ben Simmonds’ CSR 2300 and carried out some work on the Bates/Bates Westfield SE 2000. They were among the nearly 500 entrants for the two-day meeting. The Classic Sports Car Club continues to go from strength to strength.
Two test days helped us set the cars up. The first, a tyre test a week before the Donnington meeting with the help Avon Tyre’s Phil Carder and race driver Ben Clucas enabled us to get our heads round the performance/longevity conundrum of the new ZZR tyres. It also gave us a chance to sort out an electrical problem on Tim’s car, although that also meant a rolling road session and a hurried dash to the circuit for qualifying. Hugh and Richard both took advantage of the test session the day before the meeting.
With 43 entrants the track was pretty busy during qualifying. Tim suffered a punctured front tyre within a couple of laps of the session starting, which meant he had to limp into the pits to change it. He still managed to set sixth fastest time with Ben Simmonds second. Colin lined up eighth, Hugh was 10th and Richard just behind him in 11th. Peter was 41st, two slots behind Bates/Bates (Bates2?)
Ben romped into a lead which grew to 3 seconds by the end of the first lap. But by the end of the fourth he was slipping down the field with fading brakes. He eventually retired on the 18th of the 32 laps. Tim, meanwhile, was back in fifth spot as Rich Webb took the lead in his rapid Caterham whose turbo-charged Suzuki Hayabusa engine is reputed to develop over 400hp.
Tim then began a charge which signalled the start of a close battle between him and Webb that lasted the rest of the race. On the pit wall we were cheering Tim as he snatched the lead just before making his pit-stop.
John Cutmore then took over in one of the two very quick works-entered Spire RB7s. When Cutmore eventually pitted, Tim in his distinctive black and day-glow orange Seven traded the lead with Webb as the pair carved their way through the back-markers.
At the flag a delighted Tim was just over 0.2 seconds ahead but his joy at winning his first race of the season was to be short-lived. Officials announced that he’d incurred a 30-second penalty for a pit-stop infringement. I have to admit this was due to a small miscalculation by his pit crew which dropped him behind Webb in the final order. Lewis Hamilton wasn’t the only driver to suffer a race-losing penalty that week-end for what was a relatively minor infraction. There are three lines on the Donington pit entry each 20 feet apart and when our data guru was calculating our pitstop windows with Google Earth he used the wrong one. Twenty feet was enough to put us over, such are the margins.
Colin’s pit-stop was longer than it should have been. This dropped him down the order so he did well to finish sixth and second in class. Further back, Hugh and Richard resumed their customary battle for class honours. This ended prematurely when Hugh tangled with a back marker and found himself in the gravel with damaged front suspension. Richard finished at the head of his class despite a 30-second pit-stop penalty. Peter failed finish.
For us, the interval between the end of the race and the start of the second Mag Sevens event meant a race to repair Hugh’s car and get him on the grid. Rich Webb and Tim Davis lined up first and second and when the lights went out they resumed their first race duel.
This time our anxiety to avoid any further pit stop problem probably made us over-cautious. As a result, Tim’s stop was five seconds longer than it should have been and he was unable to make up the deficiency. This put him just over four seconds behind Webb at the flag. But for the slower pit stop the result could have been a different story. There was some compensation with a class win and fastest race lap.
Colin had a better race, finishing third overall and second in his class. Hugh also won his class and set fastest lap but Richard Carter’s car suffered crank sensor failure, stopping him on the track and putting him out of the race. Ben Simmonds was 14th and Peter French 30th.
It was a good week-end with good results for Boss Racing’s clients but it’s clear that competition in the Mag Sevens series is hotting up with new power plants and rapid Seven look-alikes from a specialist race car manufacturer.
Tim’s performance showed that Boss Racing still builds the fastest Sevens but we’re not resting on our laurels. I’m not going to say more at this stage but we’re thinking hard about further development options. The race is on!
Next round was home territory on the Brands GP circuit but this time with the MSVR All Comers series.