Endurance and Sprint racing at its finest, the first time in India.
To preface this blog, as the name suggests, the weekend included a sprint race (10 laps), and an endurance race (50 laps).
The race for open-wheel cars ran at the same time, i.e. the F4 and the F1300 ran races at the same time, just like it would at the WEC.
OKAY. This was fun. Sit back, relax, and enjoy the blog.
I flew into Coimbatore yet again. My second home now.
I flew in with my dad for the weekend as my support system. (This info is useful at the end)
Anyways, we were supposed to drive on Wednesday for extra practice but that did not work out for us.
THURSDAY: The car was the F1300. I had only raced in the F4 until then which is a completely different machine compared to the F1300. The F1300 is more tail-happy and kicks out ever so often whereas the F4 LGB is the exact opposite, you guessed it, understeery! Getting used to the car was a challenge, but hey I call myself a racing driver so I must adapt quickly right? Which indeed, I did. Thursday was all about getting used to the car for me and trying to get to the limit while not overdoing it and preserving the car for the weekend. I did a best of 1:19:1 which was the fastest I'd done on that track. I felt good with the car and the setup. I was excited for quail and the races because I felt that there was pace for a podium.
FRIDAY: Official practice went well with a fastest of 1:18:7.
Quali was banger with a quickest of 1:18:1 which put me 8th on the grid and 2nd in my category.
alignment and setup pad
Sprint Race: The race was intense. I was fighting with guys ahead (not in my category) and keeping up with them and even passed a few. This rival of mine (from DTS racing) tagged along for the passes and kept up with me, we battled it HARD and I defended as if my life depended on it. The best part of the racing: CLEAN-HARD racing. Okay, fast forward to lap 8, we were side by side going into turn 1 and he pushes me into the gravel under braking, I lock up and spin. Frustrating, I know. I manage to get control of the car and do a 360-degree spin, which lost me only that P2 position, I was frustrated and tried driving in anger (didn't make me go faster). I ended that race in P3. Podium, YAY!! No, I was very sad to lose the P2. I picked up myself and got ready for the big challenge of Sunday, the Endurance race.
We had a team meeting later in the evening to discuss the strategy for the long 50 lap race since it included a Pitstop. We were all set to take on the big 50!
The morning of the race, I was pretty nervous and doubted everything. I was terrified.
My dad calmed me down and asked me to look at the bigger picture, I had nothing to lose.
Pre-race I hydrated well and was ready to go. It was my first endurance event, so the nerves began to creep in, but nothing could take away my excitement. ADRENALINE flushed through my veins and I was ready to go.
Starting position: P8 (P3 in my category).
I had a decent start and managed to keep P8. The race went on and even after lap 15 I was running P8 (P3 in category).
Lap 30 I pitted.
This was fun.
My pitstop was one of the quickest for which I give full credit to the crew of M-Sport team.
With this, I managed to jump P2 in my category and went up to P2.
as GUIDO would call it: peet-stap
Video clip of the pitstop(onboard view):
After the pitstop, I started to push just a bit, not too much as there were instructions to preserve the car and not to push it. I kept P2 and crossed the checkered flag. I pulled into the weighbridge but didn't know where I had finished since it was a long race. P2 it was. I was elated and very happy to get on to the podium. My first season racing, and a double podium in the endurance event, FANTASTIC, I'll take it!
Later in the day, we had the podium ceremony for all the races that weekend. REAL FUN and SATISFYING.
Sprint Race: P3
Endurance Race: P2
Okay here is the best part, during the podium ceremony, I see my mother and brother standing and cheering on. They flew in just to attend my first ever podium ceremony, the best day of my life!
That's all for now.
Until next time, FLAT OUT!