For Round 6 of the BRSCC Audi TT Cup Racing, we were at Croft, which turned out to be VERY eventful! You can read about it below. We were then back to Snetterton for another triple header on the 300 Circuit. This would be the last round of the season, and thankfully the last round on Nankang NS-2Rs as the serious announced the move to Direzza since the series will be following the TCR UK Championship, which are supported by Goodyear (who own Dunlop - yes it's confusing!).
It will also possibly be my last in the TTs, as my car will be up for sale after this round, so we can concentrate on the Darkside projects more for next season, although looking at the 2024 Calendar, Thruxton is on there and I have always wanted to race there, so I might have to do an Arrive-and-Drive there to scratch that itch!
Below is the layout of the Snetterton 300 Circuit:
For the TTCR everyone is in the same equipment, but there is a Masters Class for the 'more life experienced' racers. I would be in the regular class.
The BRSCC uses TSL for all the timing info, so the results can be found using TSL link.
With a short Qualifying session, I've been trying to test at all TTCR rounds. Snetterton is pretty far (over 3 hours) for us so I just booked on the Afternoon session. This was looking like a good idea with wet weather forecast all weekend, but then it changed to be just rain on the Friday, and dry the rest of the weekend. Perfect, most time wasted testing!
In the end I had 1 lap of dry running before a Volvo C30 decided to set on fire and leave a streak of coolant around Coram as well. We took the red flag opportunity to change the pads and bed them in. After 2 laps of that it decided to rain like it had never rained before, turning the back straight into a river. I decided to call it a day before I smashed the car to pieces for zero gain.
We were first out on Saturday morning, and despite there being no rain since the early hours, it was still pretty damp in places around the track, the exact conditions the other guys had managed to get laps in yesterday before I arrived, so again, I was on the back foot!
I knew that conditions were just going to get better with each lap, so it was a case of pushing right to the end and hopefully it would work out. I was sliding all over and improving by big chunks every lap. As I passed Luke, he was holding out my position, and luckily most of the time he only needed 1 hand! By the end of the session I settled on a 1:17.078, which put me 5th overall. I was pretty happy with that.
As expected, everyone did their fastest lap on the last one, as the track conditions improved massively. We were still a good few seconds away from the dry lap times from earlier in the season.
The goal for Pole Position was in the grasp of quite a few over the course of the session, with Carl claiming it at the last second.
My fastest qualifying lap is shown below:
I have one of the better starts so far in the TT, and was right on the tail of Harry in a battle for 4th. I decided not to go round the outside at Turn 1 for fear of being pushed onto the wet grass, so backed off and went for a go down the middle into the hairpin. Harry braked quite early, leaving a gap for me that eventually closed as Ross turned in. I had a few taps from Harry, which was expected, followed by a massive smack on the exit, which was not expected, especially considering I was almost at the edge of the track with Ross to my left. This sent me into Ross, pushing him onto the grass and allowing Harry back through as well as Forber. This was going to be a repeat of Snetterton earlier in the year, with more rubbing than racing.
I got my head down and stuck to the back for Richard, getting alongside in places but managing to not make any contact.
Starting lap 3, Carl was up in front, but exited stage left at Turn 1, his rear tyre delaminating and sending him onto the grass. Adam and Harry checked up, allowing me and Richard to be back on their tail.
As we turned into Palmer, Harry lost the back end then front, sliding off onto the dirt and allowing me and Forber through. He was not done with me though, and gave me another tap on the back into Agostini.
The smack on lap 1 must have knocked the toe out, as it was very lively on the back end since, and it bit me at the next corner, pushing me onto the grass. I knew I needed to defend so took a tight line into Oggies. Harry went across the grass, and pit maneuvered me straight into the barrier. Race over.
The position chart does not show it, but I was in P3 just before the crash, with Adam and Richard just ahead. How frustrating.
The lap times were down to fully dry pace, with Adam doing a mental 2:12.381 in middle of the race. I'd got down to the low 13s on the first flying lap, maybe I could have got into the 12s once a bit of fuel burnt off?
My onboard from Race 1 is here:
Luckily we had the rest of the day to get the car sorted for Race 2 and 3 on Sunday, and with the help from all the guys, as well as Adam at the TT Centre with the spares, Luke and Jack had the car looking 90% ready to go.
The Clark of the Course have Harry 3 points on his licence and a 30s penalty for causing a collision. Not exactly justice but something at least.
So me and Carl were starting from the back. Not ideal when I was on for a solid 3rd position, but I guess this would be a challenge. I was definitely not in the mood for the guys to do another rebuild, so was a lot more cautious than I would normally be in these situations! I was up to 14th by the end of lap 1, then 11th by lap 2 and 9th by lap 3 when the safety car came out. Harry (who had punted me off in Race 1) had been involved in another incident, sending someone else into the barrier. Then a car broke down, so we had a few laps behind the safety car while that mess was sorted.
I clawed back a few more positions to end up 7th. Not terrible from P22, but I was hoping for more, especially as Carl got to P4 (then inherited 3rd when Adam was given a 5s penalty) but at least there was no damage this time. Had I been 1.8s further up the road, Adam would have been behind me as well.
The position chart shows Carl got to P7 on lap 1! He was on a mission!
I never had a clear lap and it showed, not even managing to get into the 13s this time!
My onboard from Race 2 is here:
Harry was given another 4 points on his licence and disqualified from the race, meaning he would need to start from the back. He decided to go home instead of giving it a go like me and Carl did.
I was hoping I could make a few places up again in this race, but figured a podium would require some bad luck on those in front, and that was as expected. I got a great start, jumping Ryan and Luke (who had the worst start in recorded history I think), but then was retaken by Ryan when he took the outside line at Turn 1 probably 20mph more than everyone else!
From there we both battled hard but fair, with no way for me to get round without doing a stupid move on the brakes that would have probably ended in tears. I settled for 5th, which I was pretty happy with considering the car looked like a write off 24hrs earlier and a lot of teams would have probably gone home at that point!
So not much progress on the position chart this time, but at least it was positive movement.
My latimes were not too bad considering we were battling throughout, but I am sure I could have been into the 12s had I not had Ryan in front. Who knows.
My onboard from Race 3 is here:
So that is it, the end of the season for the TT. There have been a lot of ups and downs in this series (that has championship status for 2024), so it was a tough decision to make to sell the car. The main motivation is to concentrate on the Darkside diesel projects, such as the new TT we are building for Class B in Club Enduro to hopefully retain the title we have already wrapped up for this year. Thanks a lot to Luke for all the spanner work this season, Jack for helping out on a few weekends including this, then Luke, Tom and Carl for all their help this weekend to get the car back on track for Saturday.
Also thanks to our main sponsor in this car, Partly, who are helping us with fitment data for some exciting changes to the website, coming this year hopefully!
Photos courtesy of BRSCC, SJNPhotography
All the details and dates for future races we are entering can be found on the Darkside Motorsport Page.