Sunday, 1 June 2014

The first test of a new approach at Brands Hatch in the Skip Barber

At the end of last season I put in a week of testing at Brands Hatch in the Skip Barber.

I'd come to realise that at the start of weeks I'd put in a fast time, then as the week went on I became progressively slower. I was pushing too hard. And a big part of that was a lack of structure to what I was doing.

About eighteen months previously I'd put in two weeks at Laguna Seca, and concentrated on markers; brake, turn in, apex and corner exit. I'd finally come to realise just how important it is to really understand a track, not just jump in and drive it. That's where consistency comes from, hitting the same points over and over.

I didn't improve on my personal best at Brands Hatch by all that much, two tenths if I remember correctly, but I had a much better understanding of the track, and through a really considered and thoughtful approach I understood what I needed to do to improve my lap times.

Another realisation that I've come to, is that most of the time, when I have the line and markers worked out, I should just turn off the sector times, forget about the deltas, and just drive, with the aim of being consistent, without the constant pressure and concentration on whether I'm picking up or losing time.

Here is the best lap from that week long session. There's about two tenths at least to be gained in hitting Stirlings - the second last corner leading onto the straight - better. I dont use the rumble strip on exit, which is down to a lack of confidence, having spent much of the week trying to hit that corner right.

Next week the Skip Barber series returns to Brands Hatch. It will be the first time I've been able to look at the reference laps I produce at the end of a race week, so that will be a test of the theory that I can save myself a lot of time re-learning the same lessons with a fifteen minute "track walk".

Two days of testing, a little practise on Tuesday, then into the first race of the week.

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