13th May 2015

Nailing Silverstone GP

A day of instruction in the sun.

By In Race Prep

With the second race weekend of the season looming, I spent a day on the GP circuit at Silverstone with instructor Tom Oliphant – GT3 and Ginetta Supercup driver. The aim was to ‘nail it’. My fastest lap in 2014 was a very sedate 2:53. I’d managed a 2:44 in previous weeks, after having Tom in the car for 15 minutes – so today was all about building on that. Due to the relatively low amount of power in the Ginetta GRDC car, you have to focus on loosing minimal speed in all the corners so that you then carry it onto the long straights. It’s very scary at first.

I’d invested the previous Sunday, learning the track layout on Project Cars. I’ve found it really important to know what lies beyond every corner here otherwise you just watch the lap time drop if you scrub too much speed off on entry into a corner.

The day ended with a couple of laps of 2:43, quite a few 2:44 laps and an ideal vbox lap of 2:42. Tom’s instruction was fab and fun. I span the car once, trying to take Abbey flat out, without lifting on the International Pit Straight. I had a few further wags of the car’s tail in other places, but managed to control it.

Front wheel, driver's side is airborne.

3 wheels on the ground!

Vale seemed to be my signature corner, just like Pif Paf at Rockingham, I seem to find the zig-zag corners with a foot down exit, huge fun. There’s a good photo with just three wheels on the ground coming out of Vale.

Stowe is a tough one. Late braking and rolling in fast, takes some nerve. It felt like a game of chicken at times, waiting for Tom to tell me when to brake on Hangar Straight. Top speed was 114mph here, brake hard, roll in then power, power, power.

I struggled to get settled with Brooklands. I’m pretty much there – but feel like I’m on the edge of adhesion.

In a break from tradition, as the GRDC+ gets more competitive, I’ve decided not to post a video of my fastest laps from training. I’ll see what happens on race weekend and then maybe share some highlights.

Out on the track we had a range of cars creating traffic. There was even a rental Vauxhall Astra that seemed to struggle to get out the way to faster cars at times. The Ginetta was faster through the corners than some of the more exotic cars on the track – but lacked pace on the straights.

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