This week we performed our final shakedown run of the car ahead of the 2019 season. The venue was Snetterton circuit, the longest track on the calendar and one that featured just about every type of corner and a very long straight, allowing us to test all aspects of the car’s performance.

It’s been a challenging winter. The car I originally bought needed more work doing to it than we initially realised, and it’s taken a good deal more time and money than I expected to get it up to racing standard. However, having driven the car for the first time since its upgrades this week, I am happy to report that it now feels like a real racing car!

With so many new bits on the car, my first run was simply a shakedown and systems check. With nothing appearing to be broken or malfunctioning, I then went out to do a couple of race simulation runs, really pushing the car for 20-minute intervals. To my relief, the car stood up to the punishment (and so did I!) so we can go to Brands Hatch in 4 weeks with the confidence that the package is up to the challenge.

A small change to my suspension setup ahead of the second run knocked a full second off my best lap time, and I headed into the lunch break ready to hit the track in the afternoon and continue improving. Unfortunately, the weather had other ideas, and whilst I recharged my energy with a delicious lasagne from the circuit cafe, the heavens opened and soaked the circuit. Thankfully we’d covered the drivers seat with a tarpaulin, and we were also lucky that another competitor left early and let us use their garage for the remainder of the day!

I went out straight after the break to get the measure of the wet conditions, but less than half a lap in I spun the car, thankfully denting nothing except my pride. I subsequently had no further incidents and managed another 20-minute simulation run in wet conditions, but it was clear that I wasn’t going to be able to push the car any more. Still, given that I’m racing in Britain, it’s likely that I’ll be driving it the wet at least once this year, so it was good practice.

Overall, it was a good day and an important confidence boost to get some uninterrupted running in the car. The next challenge is to make sure the car is fully compliant with the regulations before submitting it for scrutineering at Brands Hatch. Fingers crossed for no more nasty surprises!