James Palmer goes to Silverstone with the Classic Sports Car Club

May 13th, 2014 by alisonpepler.

 James Palmer of Smarts4you Racing went to Silverstone on Sunday to see how the Classic Sports Car Club run their events as we are racing with them as part of the 4two cup series in the Modern Classics event being held at Castle Coombe on sat 12 July 2014, here is what he had to say……

Qualifying was slightly damp with small spots of rain, not having a lap timer in car, (but soon will have a new VBOX lap timer as Smarts4you Racing are now an official dealer), I only did 12 laps, thinking to myself the track was going to stay wet, so I came in to save fuel and tyres.

My lap times started at 1:23:194 and I managed to get this down to my best timed lap of 1:19:217 which was on lap 4. The smart of Rob Baker (S2Smarts) stayed out for all of qualifying doing 22 laps, he set a first lap time of 1:28:929 getting it down to his best time of 1:20:927 on lap 19. I was really happy to have qualified in my JCMotorhomes sponsored smart car 1:71 seconds faster than the only other smart car on track.

With a 5 hour wait until our race, I ventured off with those who had come to support me to find somewhere to watch F1, which we did in the Brooklands suite, this was great as it enabled us to also see all the on track action going on in front of us.

I was really looking forward to the 40 minutes mini endurance race with a compulsory driver change for teams of two, or for the single driver, this meant shutting down the engine, releasing our belts, getting out of the car, closing the door, getting back in and buckling up before being released for the second part of the race.

So as the red light went out the race began, I got a good start and kept to the left of the circuit going in to Copse corner, there was a big 3-5 car pile up on the first corner, but both Rob and I managed to avoid it, I was able to get a lot of heat into my continental tyres very quickly and managed to gain a 5 second lead over Rob, however, unfortunately coming round to Copse on my 2nd lap approaching the waved yellow flagged area, I was held up by an over cautious novice driver in an Alfa Romeo allowing Rob to close the gap. I pushed really hard to get myself in a different track position as I knew it was going to be waved yellow for about 4 or 5 laps and by lap 9 I had gained a 3.753 second lead over Rob, who had just set his fastest lap time on lap 8 with a 1:20:761 and his 2nd fastest lap time straight away on lap 9.

On lap 10, Rob came in for his compulsory pit stop but I stayed out pushing hard to gain more lead, when I came round onto the pits straight, I noticed the black 58 sign which meant Rob had gained a stop/go penalty for speeding in the pit lane, I did another lap and then I came in for my pit stop being very careful to keep below the pit lane speed limit so as not to make the same mistake. I came to a stop, jumped out and back in, the boys from Fudge Smart were all over me strapping me back in and off I went, once again keeping a good eye on the speedo. Looking back at the timing sheets the boys did good and I am really grateful as I was in and out of the pits 18 seconds quicker then the S2 smart allowing me to create a further gap between us.

On lap 18, Rob came in for his penalty and at this point I was running second in class until approaching Beckett on lap 22, when the lead car in our class, the Ginetta G27, went on to the grass and spun nearly collecting a BMW on the way, I slowed down, went wide of them both and took the tight line back on to the back straight. By lap 24 I could just see Rob at the end of the straight, I needed to make up 9 seconds to lap him and as any driver knows, when you can see a car in front, you will try as hard as possible to catch them. I managed to put in all my fastest laps towards the end of the race but was at that point thinking to myself “I hope the Ginetta doesn’t get back out on track” I kept pushing and not realising I was on the last lap I managed to get round the outside of Lob at Luffields and was met by the unexpected chequered flag securing my 1st win in class with the Classic Sports Car Club.

I had a great day and thoroughly enjoyed being out on track with all the different cars, I would like to say a big thank you to every one that turned up to support us as you always do and I look forward to seeing you all soon.

Next race of the 4two cup is on Bank Holiday Monday, the 26th of May

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