Race Report, Brands Hatch - 27th June 2004

Race Report, Brands Hatch - 27th June 2004

Mark Mailer

Car 22

05:00 � Far too early in the morning.

I haven�t slept, just kind of closed my eyes for long periods without ever quite reaching unconsciousness. However I�m up nice and early, load my equipment into the car and off to pick up some friends.

I arrive at Brands Hatch, been here plenty of times and maybe a little too confident when practise and qualifying come around, we were the first out so no time to get too nervous! So off we go, everyone there is very friendly and all willing to point out certain tips and tricks. Off onto the circuit and trying to get used to the car, it had been a wee while since I�d driven a MR2 and somehow the car still didn�t feel too comfortable on the limit.

So as Steve quite enjoyed pointing out I had a couple of excursions into the gravel at the bottom of Paddock Hill bend, one of the slippiest and daunting corners on the Indy circuit� The first time I knew I had the entry perfect! Nice and early to get a fast sweeping arc, this is where I felt the car was� �interesting�, normally as the car approaches the level of grip all 4 wheels will drift across the circuit, however the car felt like it was snaking back and forth, so I ran too wide, then again trying to get a clean fast line through paddock. Unfortunately this ended up giving me a puncture in the front nearside tyre, I managed to finish a couple of laps before coming in� Thank God for Matt Jenkins (I owe him several pints for that!) who lent me his spare.

After this I decided to drop the tyre pressures by 2 PSI all round to try and get a little more grip.

So only managed to qualify 3rd out of the 4 (I heard mention that there was 5 but my head still spinning from the experience), so off we go after much waiting and anticipation, to line up in the assembly area.

Then we�re lead out to the grid and shown our spot, sitting right at the back I was at least safe for my first ever standing start! I can feel the sweat on my head, my gloves battling my leaking hands! The 10 second board is shown then the lights are red and the rev�s everywhere start to rise! The light go and we�re off! I managed to get a pretty good start managed to stay in front of the white car, Matt just in front and the McLaren car shooting off! Paddock and Druids we just insane with that much traffic, truly an amazing experience!

Once the tyre smoke had cleared, I was sitting in 3rd right behind Matt with the white car right behind! As I was struggling with the handling of the car I was managing to keep pace, but the times I was feathering the throttle to keep the car on the black stuff (much to Steve�s dismay!) Matt was able to feed in some more power. After a few laps I see the white car behind spin in a cloud of smoke at Paddock I knew I was in the clear and just needed to keep it going, try and reel in Matt. However every corner he could just get the power down and pull the little bit away.

This is pretty much how it stayed for the rest of the race, obviously getting lapped by the much (read � much much much!) faster cars. All I was thinking was to not make any mistakes and keep up the pace! So crossing the line was a relief and exhilarating knowing that your first ever race has been survived! And then as a pleasant surprise I receive a trophy for 3rd place which is already getting a great amount of sentimental attachment.

However while I struggled with the car it has bitten me! I would like to take this opportunity to say sincerest thanks to everyone in the club and Red Dragon Racing for this amazing opportunity, and so of course I MUST do this for myself! I�ll be handing the car back with a new (scrubbed) tyre and as ready to race as can be and will be spending the next 6 weeks leading up to Mallory preparing my car which will be purchased shortly.

6 weeks is plenty of time for anyone to get prepared so if Peter or Rob will not take up the challenge there are many more people who could and certainly should be given this great opportunity to get into racing for a realistic budget!

So come on one and all! Live that childhood dream, be a racing driver!!! We get enough of us to have a own race and not be a mobile chicane for the faster cars and it will be an excellent series focusing on driving skill than depth of pockets!

See you all on the black stuff at Mallory!

Kindest regards,

Mark Mailer

For more info: http://www.reddragonautomotive.com/

Remark Lima

hats off to you matey boy… you dun good sun…

excellent report and superb that you finished and even better that you picked up a trophy…

cheers and good luck for your next race.

what kind of budget is this type of racing likely to require?

Yeah, well done & good luck for the rest of the season

Yup, well done and keep it up -
any chance you will be racing the Exige next year?

Cheers all

Well this is great for the budget, a car can be had for �1000 top whack! You don’t want a minter obviously and the engines truly are bulletproof so you’re pretty sorted there, then all that’s really required is a cage, seat, electrical cut off and plumbed in fire ex. Apparently if you do this yourself (as I will be and documenting it fully) it’ll be about �2500 tops! Which isn’t too bad IMHO Then you’re also not massively fussed if it bends LOL! Also there’s loads of MR2’s in scrap yards so parts a plenty!

Yeah to finish was my priority and to get a 'iccle trophie was just ace

I’d love to race the Exige but don’t know if I’d want the cage in it, all the external cut off’s and extinguisher points, I can see some oik pulling it whilst sitting at some traffic lights But saying that, if I can do well for the rest of the season then it’s time to go in hunt of a little sponsership and who knows, if I can get the budget I’d love to race the Exige! Makes me all tense just thinking of racing it!!!

Seriously tho’, everyone should give something like this a go! The feeling sitting on the lights is just awesome and once I’ve got my own car to exactly how I like it then the racing should be a lot closer and so a lot more exhilirating!

That does sound very good. What is the budget compared to the Seloc BMW series?

Mark, I think it’ll be on a par with the BMW series, car’s are gonna cost about the same as will the cage and prep work.

However this appeals a little more as it’s racing 2 seater midship cars, rather than front engine’d German Uber Barges


I agree MR2 does definately appeal alot more than the BMW, and look forward to your reports on the building of the car etc