Firstly, apologies for this blog taking a while to be put together, things are really busy at the moment (which is great).
The main event that has happened since my last blog is the race meeting at Croft. It was a bit late in coming together, it all kicked off on the pre-meeting Monday lunch time. I got a call from Primex Plastics Limited to say that they’d do a sponsorship deal with me for Croft.
It was then a case of going to the personal sponsors and couple of other companies and people who have helped us out before and by Tuesday morning it was a done deal. It would have been nice to get a fan element into it again but honestly there wasn’t the time. (Although we had thought about buying all the left over England World Cup t-shirts and making a new Max Coates Racing item.)
Onto the weekend, it’s the first time we have run a privateer team since the Ginetta Junior days. It was great to reform the ‘old team’ with my Dad taking on the lead mechanic role. We had Simon Finnis from Ginetta with us for most of the weekend which was really handy for developing a set-up.
The new Michelin tyres for this season felt very different to last years, the car has developed a large amount of understeer in comparison. Both driving and set-up had changed greatly from 2013. We started the first session with a set of last season’s fronts just to get us out on track.
The session went well but we didn’t really know where we stood until the second session. We got a set of Charlie Robertson’s old front’s to use for the second practice and the car changed dramatically. We didn’t have the right set up on the car and then immediately got to the drawing board to work out what to change.
With some pretty radical changes for qualifying I went out trying to find as much of the three seconds we needed to go from our position on test day to pole. I found the majority ending within 1.4 seconds of pole position. My final lap was better but I got held up out the back, looking back through the on-board I can see where the time was. Whilst new tyres make a difference you still have to drive the car faster to extract the most out of them and unfortunately I was still learning whilst the tyres were at their peak.
Onto race one and I made a place up at the start, in the knowledge I had the pace to move further up I pushed hard to make up more places. I touched the grass on the way into Sunny In and spun the car. With grass in the radiator I had to pit to clear it. We finished thirteenth which was disappointing as I was trying to get a better starting position for the TV race on Sunday.
We had a new front and rear tyre for race two which we used then to make the most of the TV coverage, if I want to race again I needed to perform well then. We had the pace, as everyone else started to struggle with tyre degradation I was getting faster and had I been able to clear a car that kept cutting the chicane each time I forced an overtake, then the result may well have been a lot better. We had the car to fight for a podium even starting from the very back of the grid. I crossed the line seventh and was later promoted to sixth after a penalty was given to the car in front cutting the circuit.
I really struggled in race three, as the tyre’s started to wear my pace dropped off. My new found confidence on the brakes from race two didn’t help in race three as increased brake pressure was causing a number of lock ups and stability issues. I fell back from sixth on the grid to come home eighth at the flag.
All in all I had a brilliant weekend and enjoyed every minute of it. A massive thanks to everyone who got involved and helped to make it possible, hopefully I can make it out again this year.
On that note the plan is to make another appearance this season, we are in advanced discussions with a sponsor and are expecting a decision in the next week or so, this will be announced if and when the sponsorship is confirmed. Apart from that I am working towards next season and being back in a full time seat.
I have been at all the BTCC events this season with HHC Motorsport fulfilling my role in Social Media and PR. I’m studying Sports Marketing at University so this has enabled me to put my academic learning to good use.
I’ve also been on a trip to the Nürburgring which is a must for all petrol heads. I’ll be writing a blog about my trip for iON Camera’s blog – http://uk.ioncamera.com/blog. (Don’t forget you can get 15% off all iON Action cameras and accessories using the discount code ‘Coates’.) Here’s an on-board video too: http://www.kinomap.com/watch/k9ftp9.
I’m also looking forward to getting back behind the wheel in some non BTCC support race action. I will be taking Want2Race finalists for passenger laps in the Ginetta G55 at Blyton Park on the 13th and 14th of August as well as competing for Farrow Karting at this year’s British 24hr race at Teesside the following weekend. I’ve got a motorsport packed time on the run up to starting University again in mid-September and hopefully I can make it back on track before the end of the season.
Thanks for all your continued support.