A return to form, great fans and RWD controversy
11th June 2014
So, that was a better weekend hey…
We knew that the Exocet Audi would go better at Oulton Park but we did even better than I expected with two P5s and a P2. The key was qualifying; I managed to get a reasonable lap together just at the right time to put me P6 and the new track layout meant that overtaking was very, very difficult so unusually how you got through the first few turns determined your position for the race.
I do love the long circuit to drive but I don’t think it suits our racing. The fans see the cars less and without the Island hairpin there was hardly any overtaking. That makes it boring for both us and the fans. I’m glad we gave it a go as there was a lot of fan pressure to do so and it was nice to drive but I hope we go back to the previous layout in the future.
The highlight for me was the fans all weekend. We had our Owners Club meeting on Saturday evening which was great fun and our hospitality awning was packed. It’s always great to see the team owners again. Straight after that I had to rush over to the KX question time with Jason Plato where they also had a big crowd and again it was great fun. Jason’s always good for a bit of banter. Then on Sunday morning we had the Owners club photo shoot with the members flooding through our pit garage into the pit lane before the autograph session to have their picture taken with Sherman and I. Most humbling was the podium for race 2. The cheer when I was called up was amazing and having not been up there in a while it really was a big reminder to me that “this is why I do what I do”. Awesome!! So a big thank you to all our fans, you really made my weekend and you drive me on to push harder. I can not tell you how much I appreciate the support of every single one of you.
So I guess the next big topic for debate is rear-wheel-drive vs front-wheel-drive. I know it’s coming; all the FWD teams are already in the media complaining about us. In my humble opinion it seems a bit off… They seem to forget the many advantages they have over us and that we don’t complain when there’s an MG or Honda dominated weekend. During the development of NGTC, RWD has been hugely disadvantaged (engine position, aero, geometry, the lot). At the time I was the only RWD team and if I said anything I was simply told that I should have built a FWD car… clearly I couldn’t afford to do that, I was already committed to my decision, I stuck with it and now we have a level playing field they want us pegged back…
I think we have seen great racing this year (maybe Oulton was the exception overtaking wise), we have a great grid, great drivers, great fans, great TV coverage and as a whole I think the package works incredibly well. It’s world class! It seems a shame to change that, but I do know the FWD boys like to club together and they need something to complain about so although disappointing I wouldn’t be surprised if we are handicapped to appease them. It’s kind of flattering that they consider us such a threat. OK I know Turks is their main worry, but I've seen my name mentioned a couple of times as well!
In other news it was great to see my brother in law Christian Dick, team boss of Speedworks Motorsport, hobbling around the paddock on Sunday. Lucy and I stayed with him and Amy (Lucy’s sister) on Sunday night and it’s such a relief to see him recovering so well only a week after his big crash at Zandvoort. I’ll tell you, though, four broken ribs, a broken sternum, a broken leg and a punctured and collapsed lung does NOT look like fun! Mind you, after the amount of beer I drank on Sunday night I think I felt almost as bad on Monday morning. LOL!
Anyway, looking ahead. I think and hope that this is our pace now for the rest of the year. RWD is disadvantaged at a couple of the remaining races but overall we have got our two worst circuits out of the way and we need to get some more points on the board if we are to hit my personal target for the season (which is a secret – I’ll let you know at the end of the year). Croft should be strong for us, we have seen the podium there before and I’m also looking forward to Knockhill which not only is a great track that has great memories for me but it’s also the next RAR Owners club gathering so it will be great to see everyone again.
Before I finish I would just like to once again thank the fans for their incredible support but also my staff who have done the most amazing job this weekend. We would be nothing without such fantastic people around us, each and every one of them going that extra mile in our attempt to make up the deficit to the big teams. It’s them that make these giant killing podiums positions possible and for that I and I’m sure all our fans are eternally grateful. Good work kids. Right… Best get on with some work. Thanks for taking the time to read this, I hope it’s an enjoyable read and I will be back with my next blog after Croft.