Hey guys, thanks very much for coming back and reading my blog and thanks very much to TCF for asking me to write for them for another season!
So Brands Hatch was our season-opener and I was filled with both nerves and excitement going into it. I hadn’t done any testing over the winter at all, meaning Friday was the first day I could really drive the car in anger. I had also moved into the JHR Developments team and although I’d spent time getting to know the guys, I obviously hadn’t driven for them.
Arriving late Thursday night – after doing a talk at my old school and then having the nightmare of trying to fill my car up – I had a look at my G55 sat in the JHR awning. It was absolutely stunning, and I just couldn’t wait until Friday when I’d be able to get out in it for the first time!
The morning session went very well; it took me a few laps to get used to the car, but once I did I was up at front-running pace which I was over-the-moon about. FP2 went even better, and I was quickest for a while until a few of the others put on some fresher rubber, but I still finished the session only a tenth off the best time.
On Friday evening, once everyone had finished testing. I went for a run around the track and then spent some time watching the on-board video and looking at the data to see where I could make some gains ahead of qualifying the next morning.
In qualifying, it was difficult to set a time as being such a short circuit, there were a lot of people either warming their tyres, on a fast lap or slowing down. I came in, waited for the track to warm up and for a few drivers to pit and then went for another shot. The time I posted put me P3, but only thousandths off P1, which I was very pleased with.
Race one later that afternoon was also very good – a very uneventful race for the first one of the season, but I ended up finishing second, which was a great result considering Friday had been my first day in the car!
The two races on Sunday, however, certainly made up for the uneventful start to the season with a DNF in race two following an incident with another competitor after he tried a move around the outside of Paddock Hill Bend that left both of us out on the spot with damage. My car was in a bit of a sorry state after that, but the boys at JHR worked so hard to get me out for the final race! I’m still amazed at how they managed it!
In race three, I decided to start from the pit-lane to avoid any of the first lap incidents that I was so conscious of. I had a few issues on the car with brakes and a problem with the differential, so I wasn’t too keen to really push on and thought I would just collect some points and not take too many risks, but unfortunately the issue with my diff became more-and-more prominent and on the last corner of the last lap the car just came round on me under power as it didn’t really fancy playing ball anymore!
On the whole, though, I was pleased with the weekend. We showed that we have good pace and we know we have some changes to make before the next round at Donington Park which will certainly help us.
I’d like to say a huge 'thank you' to all the boys at JHR for all their hard work, Hansford Sensors for their support this year, Matthew and Leigh-Anne Kirby, One Dry Wash, Race-Keeper and Teng Tools.
Thanks again for reading my blog, guys, and you can keep up-to-date with what I’m up to by following me on Twitter @TomIngram80 or by visiting my website: www.tom-ingram.com.