ATL F1 Karting Challenge 2011

Karting Race ReportPublished July 18, 2011 at 12:30 pm No Comments

Monday 11th July 2011 was the date and Daytona mk was the circuit, as i work for Force India F1 we were invited to put a team in for this annual event, along with all the other F1 teams and a few other companies that use ATL fuel cells like prodrive.
The event was ran in an unusual way, with 2 point scoring 1.5hr team endurance races that the points got added together to make the final finishing positions, to add to the fun the 1st race grid was done through qualifying and the 2nd was a reverse grid from the results of the 1st race.

In Qualifying every driver had to go out onto the track so we decided to send me, chilly and marshal out to test the kart and get it up to temperature so that Underhill could have the majority of the session to get his times down, this plan worked out quite well qualifying in 2nd place right behind williams and just infront of prodrive.

Race 1
As Underhill had done qualifying we thought it was only best to let him take the start, after my little chat telling him to just hold 2nd at the start and work with williams and prodrive to pull away then battle. The race begun, completly ignoring my advice Underhill decided to make a move down the long straight to get the lead going into the final section of the lap sadly crossing the line in 3rd place on that lap constantly fighting for position throughout the opening stint. We swapped drivers to Dan Marshal who put in a great performace and breifly lead the race before pitting, we swapped over to Andy Chilton for the 3rd stint of the race as soon as he joined the track he got held up by a full course yellow this allowed the leading team (prodrive) to pit without loosing a lot of time so instead of being right on their arse after they had stopped we were about 18 seconds behind! but andy pushed on and got the gap down to 11 seconds before it was my turn to take the wheel, after i had taken the wheel and pro drive had made their final change i was closing the gap at a very small amount each lap no where near enough to get the lead before the end of the race, but lucky for us a red flag came out which put me on the tail of prodrive and with a lot of traffic to fight through so it was looking good, but sadly one of the back markers thought it would be funny to try to shove me off the track (Bandit!!) I lost about 3 seconds from this and the race ended pretty soon after that finishing about 2 seconds behind 1st place was a very good effort for race 1!

Race 2
With the reverse grid from the results of race 1 we lined up 23rd on the grid with me taking the start, with any race where you reverse the grid so the slow people are at the front and the fast ones at the back you have got to expect a little bit of contact as the faster guys go past the less experianced drivers. I was up to about 9th place when I got bumped from behind sending me into the guy infront and sadly he went spinning off. All the marshal had seen was me going into the guy that spun so I got shown the black flag and this was a 30 second penalty, when I rejoined the track I had dropped back down to 20th place and feeling like I had let the team down I struggled to get my pace back to how it was so I signaled to the team that I wanted to swap drivers thankfully they understood my hand signals and we swapped over to Andy the rest of the race was fairly uneventful as we slowly worked our way back up the order. At the end of Dan Marshals stint he got a black flag along with 2 other people for not slowing down enough under yellow flag conditions this was another 30 seconds penalty putting us back yet again! Dan Underhill took over during the penalty and managed to get back up to 7th place by the chequered flag.

The 2nd and 7th places put us tied on points with Lotus sport 1 but lucky for us they gave the place on who had the highest finish in race 1, which was us! so 3rd place overall was a fantastic result we can’t help but think we could have been on the top step if we didn’t get our 2 penaltys but at the end of the day thats racing and theres always next year!

Time to get the preparation done for silverstone on the 28th August!