A friend of mine who races a 964C2 in the PCGB championship wanted to get some last minute practice at Silverstone prior to the final races of the season. Especially, since he had the championship to win or lose. He wanted to get some instruction from a professional racer/instructor (Ian Flux) because he'd never done well at Silverstone in the past. The only trouble was, his own race car does not have a seat or harnesses for a passenger.
So, I agreed to meet Marcus at the trackday (run by Goldtrack last Wednesday) and loan him my car for the day....on the agreement that if he broke it, he fixed it. On arrival it was obvious that most of the other competitors racing at the weekend had also booked on for some last minute practice. This meant that my car was going to be mixing it with dedicated race cars. In particular, a lot of Britcars that were preparing for the 24 hr race. If I had booked on to drive myself, I think I would have simply turned round and gone home. To cap it all, Marcus had been booked in the 'Fast group'!
As usual at Silverstone, it was pi$$ing down at the start and since Marcus didn't have the instructor booked until later, I jumped in as passenger for the first session. Now, Marcus has driven my car before when I've had him instructing me and had only driven the car at about 70% (which is all that is needed while teaching someone). However, this time the driving was at another level. Not quite 100% because he knew he couldn't take liberties with someone else's car but from my seat, it was pretty damn close! I was astonished at the speed we were going round the corners and how much later he was on the brakes than I would have been. Even though the car was drifting a bit on the wet track, it still had way more grip than I had ever imagined it had. Owing to the wet conditions (and the road tyres that we left on because of this) we were overtaking just about everything on track including GT3s and Britcars.
For the rest of the day I just watched from the trackside. By lunchtime the track had dried sufficiently so that we could put a set of wheels with Michelin pilot sport cup tyres on. Soon my car was flying round the track and although Marcus wasn't overtaking as many cars he was keeping up with a lot of the midfield Britcars that would be racing at the weekend. In fact, I did a bit of sly timing and at one point he was lapping a full 15 seconds quicker than when I was there earlier in the year and only 10 seconds or so slower than he does in his own race car. So....over the day I got much more idea of how quick my car is on track and how much difference the driver can make.
I'm glad to say the car ran without a hitch. There were no incidents or damage (although he does owe me a set of brake pads now). However, I will admit to have resembled a nervous, expectant father waiting for his baby, every time the car left the pits. I never knew I was so attached to this car. :blush:
I'm also pleased to say that on the back of all this, Marcus performed well at the weekend (5th, 3rd and 2nd in the three races) and ended up as the Class 1 champion. :)