An action packed weekend as Time Attack visits Cadwell Park for a thrilling double header.
After Round 1
The lead up to the only double header of the season was a surprisingly quiet one. With not much needed to be done after round 1 last month. Some new Tarox calipers where picked up to replace the old units that caused some issues at Oulton. Other than that, just the standard spanner and fluid checks.
This weekend was a bit more ‘normal’ and just like previous years, it started the day before the event. travelling down to the circuit to get set up, ready for the following morning. However, like Oulton, there was no on-site scrutineering, so things where much more relaxed.
Saturday | Warm Up
The plan for the first session of the weekend was the gain confidence with the new brake set-up. After a few laps, Jonny could feel something wasn’t quite right. The pedal just wasn’t how he liked it, with much more travel than what would be ideal. Jonny went back out to finish the session and familiarise himself with the tight and technical circuit. After letting the car cool down, we gave the brakes a final bleed which thankfully brought the pedal to how Jonny likes it.
Practice confirmed the brakes where now how Jonny liked them, providing him with the confidence to start pushing the car and lower his lap times. Other than getting in some valuable track time, practice was uneventful and we where ready for the afternoon sessions.
After lunch, it was time for quali. The first points scoring round of the weekend. It was now time to really push the car. The times where tumbling lap after lap. But while the car was feeling good, Jonny was struggling to nail turn 1 and because of the nature of the corner, you lose time all the way along the back straight. We suspected 2-3 seconds where being lost through this sequence.
As a result Jonny qualified 7th with a lap time of 1.41.753. A solid effort but Jonny wasn’t happy with it. We checked the car over once more while Jonny composed himself for final.
Heading out for the last session of the day, Jonny knew what he needed to do. Get to grips with turn 1. After that everything would fall into place. But again, turn 1 was causing some difficulties and Jonny couldn’t quite get it right. Track temperatures had also dropped, as a result the circuit was around 1 second slower than earlier.
By the end of the session Jonny managed to put in a lap good enough for 5th place. Scoring some decent points for the overall championship, although left feeling frustrated, believing much more was in the car.
After the final on Saturday we packed up for the evening ready to go again on Sunday. With many more opportunities to try and get on top of turn 1.
It was clear from the outset today was going to be a whole new challenge. With completely different weather from the previous days running. The track was wet and the air was full of mist with no signs of clearing up.
As the first wet session of 2020 it was likely to throw up a few surprises and it didn’t disappoint. After heading out on track spray from other cars immediately covered Jonny’s screen with water, as to be expected. However, when Jonny attempted to clear away the water the wipers didn’t work. Jonny had to limp back to the pits peering through the spray.
Luckily it wasn’t a motor failure, simply a connector which had come away from the switch. It could be fixed mid-session and Jonny was able to get back out and learn how the car behaved in vastly different track conditions.
Despite the lurking mist, the track was slowly drying out. With grip levels constantly changing, practice would be a case of getting as many laps as possible on the board. Searching for the grip whilst pushing the car that little bit more.
It was all going swimmingly until a competitor had a huge moment exiting turn 1. Hitting the barrier and bringing the session to a premature end. Thankfully he was ok, the same couldn’t be said for his car which had sustained quite a lot of damage. Over dinner, Jonny adjusted the suspension set-up to try and maximize grip after another down pour left the track soaking just in time for qualifying.
The third session of the day provided a third set of conditions and grip levels and the tweaks made to the set-up had not worked. If anything, they made the car more difficult to drive. It was incredibly bouncy over the bumps. So much so it managed to shake the window slider on the drivers window off the slider itself.
After the session ended, Jonny reverted back to the original set-up. Knowing he could extract much more out of a car he had confidence in.
A dry line was starting to appear on track and Jonny was able to throw in some fast lap times. Unfortunately, just as he was getting into a rhythm the session was abruptly ended. Miscommunication cost Jonny those extra few minutes on track and he was not able to improve on his lap time of 1:54.765. Jonny finished 6th in class.
It wasn’t the weekend it could have been, it appears Cadwell is still our achilles heel. However, there are many positives to take forward to Brands Hatch on the 13th of September, a circuit Jonny loves!
Images: Time Attack UK, Rich Sams Photo & Eat My Pixels