As well as racing in the two SuperCup races, this weekend also saw a return to racing the ClubSport Trophy endurance race. A 45 minute race against a huge grid of almost 60 cars around the Silverstone GP track.
We competed in Class D, amongst some other MX-5 SuperCup race cars as well as some other cars such as Toyota MR2s. One of the lowest power classes in the race, we just didn't have the straight line speed to compete with the faster classes like we did at Snetterton back in April. The long straights of Silverstone left nowhere to hide from the lack of power!
That left us competing squarely within our own class.
A solid result in qualifying saw a convincing P1 in class and qualifying ahead of many of the cars in faster classes, resulting in an overall starting position of 29th of 58 cars.
However, a little buffer from a Class C car behind wasn't much to hold back the rest of the Class D grid starting immediately behind us. A solid start was needed to keep them behind in the race...
A forty-five minute race with a mandatory two minute pit stop meant there was plenty of time to win or lose the race... You can't win the race at the first corner, but a solid start and getting some cars from other classes between myself and the Class D competitors behind was a clear goal at the start to take some pressure off.
Like previous ClubSport races, it was definitely an elbows out start! Making up several places through the opening few corners, but as we got onto Hanger Straight that advantage was quickly handed back as the faster cars I'd passed simply powered back past.
From there on out it was a case of getting my head down and just putting in the laps. Still holding the class lead with a big gap to the Class D cars behind, just prior to the mandatory pit stop it looked like a done deal...
But as the pit window opened, a crash caused a safety car and meant the field closed back up, wiping out my lead. Further to that, coming out of the pits I got stuck behind another car going well under the pit speed limit and so ended up with a very slow pit stop. P2 and P3 in class managed to get ahead of me during the pit stop because of this, but were still in sight on the road.
Still under safety car period, the car I followed out of the pits was in a different class and between me and what was now P1 and 2 in Class D. There's no overtaking allowed under safety car, and the car in front continued to drive well below the speed of the pack ahead, which was driving steadily further away. By the time the safety car period ended, we had dropped quite far back from the main pack which meant P1 and 2 in class were now pretty up the road.
Still, the race had quite a bit of time left and there were more than enough laps left to catch up.
However, it wasn't to be. The MX-5 was much faster through the corners than many of the cars in the faster classes, but extremely slow in comparison down the straights. There were several of these cars between me and my Class D competitors, and we spent the rest of the race tripping over each other. They would drive away from me on the straights, I would catch them up on the brakes and get held up through the corners (or pass them through the corners), and then on the next straight they'd power back past again. Rinse and repeat for the rest of the race.
It was incredibly frustrating being stuck behind slower traffic and seeing P1 and P2 drive further and further away each lap.
The race finished with us getting P3 in class, with a bit of redemption coming from the fact that the car that got the class win received a penalty for a pit stop infringement that saw them drop down to P3, promoting us to P2.
Some fun racing, but more bitter than sweet when the win was there for the taking!