It was only in November 2017 that I did my first two races in the wet at Brands Hatch. So to finish the first season again in the wet at Mallory Park was fitting. The first season for me and the car we set out a plan. Finish the races and get that big X off the car. Have fun, learn and get better in every race which we did. The car finished all the races with very few issues. We drove on some great race tracks and had loads of fun. Thank you for everyone for the support during the season and as we look back while we did win four in class awards which made us all smile we did what we said and had great great fun.
We are already planning for 2019. The R53 Mini is going to get some upgrades over the winter. We need more power that is a given but there are a few other changes to make before we get back out on the track. As soon as we know the 2019 program we will confirm the dates and the race tracks.
A nice dry tack for qualifying. As we have done all season I took the track time as I have never raced on this track. We are also very lucky to be using the International circuit using the hairpin. I am getting faster and faster and into a good flow running behind one of the Smart cars and pushing on. Then bang. Right front is gone and I am out. I limp off the track to safety as I cannot get back to the pits. My fault keep of the kerbs.........
A delayed start as there was oil on the track from the Jaguars. A large amount of oil on the racing line down through the craner curves and just before you come onto the back straight.
Two R53 Minis in the race and the other car is at least 3 seconds up the track. I am in a race with the Smart cars and Ford Puma's. A slow start and I go backwards again. But on the second lap I start to sort myself out and get back past the Smart cars on the back straight. I am then chasing down the Fords in front.
A good pit stop at 18 minutes and David is out and running. The first Smart car and Puma's are taken quickly and we are now in a battle with some of the other cars on track. The other R53 is running third in the race and clearly has a power advantage over Mary Jane.
No first in class today but we had great fun and the race craft is getting better and better. Now for Mallory Park in October our last race of the season before we start to plan for some upgrades to Mary Jane. I am thinking we have to get this car pushing 250 BHP at least to catch the others.
Weeks before the race weekend everyone is telling me this is going to be a fast track and hard on the tyres. To be fair both are true but this weekend was race six so just needed to finish to have the X removed from the car and then ask the MSA to approve an upgrade to my license. Weather was not hot or cold and it was dry so perfect. Mary Jane has run with zero issues so far so with luck we were going to have a great weekend. Saturday AM and 30 mins to qualify. I took all of the time to learn the track - thank you David and as we move to the 30 mins mark I was feeling good with some OK times just off the Smart cars and Ford 's.
I started 21 on the grid and this would be my first standing start so all to play for. A good start and did not stall and we are off. Dropped a couple of places on the first lap but had two back quickly as cars go off before the race settles down. In the morning session we finished with very poor front passenger tyre so with a new one on I stated to feel we had grip. Mary Jane is easy to drive and as we had heat in the tyre's I slows started to push. The pit is open so after two more laps I am in and David is in the car. No surprise but he is 20 seconds faster than me and in a great race with the Fords. I am watching just hoping the car comes home safe and the X can go.
David does a great job and we finish 13 out of 21 with our fourth class win in 2018. All in all a great weekend for Team Pinnaca Racing.
Well as you can see from the picture another great weekend racing with Mary Jane and Race Car Consultants. Having missed the last two races due to work this was our first run out since Silverstone. I like the Brands Hatch Indy track - it is short track but it is fun and this was the track of my first race last year in the wet. This weekend's weather could not have been more different. Some Smart cars on the grid and a few other cars in the Ford Puma's that we should have a good race with. We are the only car in our C Class so we need to have a good race with the others.
I stated and David took over after 16 mins. I did not start well in the rolling start and even before Paddock Hill I was last. So much for me getting a good start. I thought I had it sorted out but got passed by all the Smart cars. From then on focus on the game in hand. A good run for a few laps with the times getting better and better. The car was running fine. It has to be said Mary Jane is a great little race car.
Time for a change and I am in. As we know David is the real racer in this team and he is quickly into the grove. David's times are eight seconds a lap better than the times I was posting so it was not long before he was in a race with the Smart and Puma's. A short safety car period and the pack is all together and we are then off for a dash to the line.
All in all a great weekend, another first in class and no damage to the car. Next race is Thruxton. The fastest track in the UK and one that will be a challenge with the power we have.
All that said it will again be a great weekend racing. A big thank you to Race Car Consultants, Lee and Peter for the support, Noel for the great pictures and my great friend Keith for being part of the Team Pinnaca Racing team for the day.
As this was the first race of 2018 we tested Mary Jane on the Friday as the track had a open test session and the car had not be run on a track since November 2017 at Brands Hatch. Over the winter we have fitted new wheels and rubber to the car updated the fire system and finished a few tidy up bits we needed to get completed. Two test session on the Friday and the car ran well with no issues. It was a dry for both sessions with some very nice cars on the track .
Saturday qualifying went very well but we were last on the grid. This was expected as we are the only 1600 SC car on this grid and down 200 bhp to the guys at the front of the grid running the BMW M3's. Aston and Honda Type R.
The race in the afternoon was in the dry. A rolling start after one warm up lap you go. I took the first stint and we would change around 10 - 15 mins in to give David a good run in the car. As we were so down on power by the time I had hit the gas the pack were well away but coming around the first corner as often happens a car had spun on cold rubber and I was already up one place. I knew based on the lap times I had three laps to run my race before a M3 BMW would come flying past and then would be followed by the pack.
From that point on it was going to always be about running a race for the little car and not getting in the big guys way.
David took over after my lap 9 almost as soon as the pit window was open. A slow change over as we have some work to do on this on getting the safety belts set for David. Great help from Lee and Peter to get David in the car and we were back in the chase.
Now while our little car is down on power we have reliability. So with other cars posting DNF and one running out of fuel on the last lap with some great driving from David for the second stint we got little Mary Jane to 16 out of the 26 that started and a First in Class.
As my first real race and against cars with so much power advantage I have to say I am very very pleased. Car is 100% ready for Silverstone, we can work on the belts issue and then time to give Mary Jane some more POWER!!!!.
Clive & David
The hottest day of the year so far and we are at Silverstone for our second race of the year in the Turbo Tin Tops series with the Classic Sport Car Club.
We made three changes to the car from our last race meeting. Smaller 15 inch wheels, an engine remap using BlueFin to a stage 2 mapping and an updated exhaust system. With these changes it is sounding very different, much more racy.
I took the qualifying session early Sunday morning. Forty Four cars on the track as it was a mixed qualifying session for 30 minutes. As I have said before this is my first season and I am still very much learning the trade so yes I was last. I could have been faster but spent a lot of time getting out of other drivers way.
While many people have said just hold the racing line, it is up to the faster car drivers to get around you, that is not that easy when you are flat out and the other guys are still 60 KPM faster. David let me have all of the qualifying session and I was happy with no spins and no damage. In the race we had the Smart Cars to race with and one other Mini R53 in our Class so this should be good for my race craft. I had the first stint in the car and would come in to hand over to David to bring Mary Jane home.
A rolling start again and as I started 14 with the Smart cars behind I was going to be in the middle of a battle straight from the off. By the time I get to the start of the hanger straight I am last.
Well at least I can focus and drive my race for a good few laps before the pack get me. I push on and start to recover and then hand over to David.
A much better driver change than our last race with the new belts working well. David is straight away into his groove, posting lap times much better than myself.
This is the first time he has been in the car all weekend and he is straight on the pace and catching the Smart Cars. Lap after Lap of faster and faster and we are moving up the field. In the mean time the other R53 has an issue and we are now first in class.
As the race moves on more and more cars have issues and drop out.
With David on a mission we finished 14th overall and win our class. So that is two races two wins.
Mary Jane has again run a outstanding race. No issues and while she does need need brake pads on the front she was perfect from start to finish.
A big thank you to David Ellesley an outstanding coach and a great driver. I just now need to up my game over the next few races to give us a better chance in the race. With Mary Jane and the R53 we are never going to be outright winners against the more power full cars but with some extra race craft from myself we can get further up the grid.
Thank you to Joel and Lee for the help and support this weekend.
Team Pinnaca racing had a great weekend and is 2 for 2. Maybe we should retire now !!!
You have to be in it to win it and still running at the checkered flag.
Clive and David
PS: We have to miss the next two races at Oulton Park and Spa due to work so the next race for Mary Jane will be at Brands Hatch on the 14th/15th July. If you can make it let us know. It will be on the Indy circuit and you get a great view from Paddock Hill.