Racing at Donington Park 2nd / 3rd September CRGC
The sixth weekend of the 2023 Season in the Caterham Graduates 150 Class in the Superior Freight sponsored car was at Donington Park Circuit near Derby. A change to the schedule though as the shorter National Circuit layout was used instead of the Grand Prix layout.
Friday was free practice, split into 4 sessions of 25 minutes giving the opportunity to get the car setup done. A lovely dry day and the car felt good
Qualifying: Cloudy but Dry. Car 34 put in some good times in the qualifying session and was 0.981 of a second off Pole. Sadly though, as the top 18 were covered by 1.009 of a second over the 1.96-mile course, this meant starting in 17th. A similar story for Race 2 qualifying
Race 1 - Saturday A reasonable start but lost a couple of places during the initial fight for position, but recovered those and gained a place over the first lap. The rest of the race was the race saw car 34 consolidate 15th place slot, moving up to 13th on lap 12. The race came to an early conclusion though when car 33’s engine failed in dramatic circumstances and dumped all it’s oil through the the very fast Craner Curves. The result was many cars sliding off with little to no grip. The Red Flag was shown, and the race positions rolled back 1 lap meaning Car 34 finished 14th overall.
Race 1 onboard: Click here to watch the race
Race 2 – Sunday Very hot day and Car 34 setup was left alone, except for minor tyre pressure adjustments. A good start and maintained position, with the car feeling quick and planted. Disaster struck on lap 2 just going into McLeans corner when the nose cone dislodged and became jammed between the left front wheel and the chassis. This caused Car 34 to drop to 27th and last. With compromised steering and the car billowing smoke from the jammed nose the car was set to pit when at the end of Starkey’s Straight heading in to the chicane, the nose finally dislodged. Car 34 was now about 10 seconds behind the next car and the chase was on. The next lap saw him close to about 4 seconds behind the next car, with the first car overtaken at the start line as lap 5 was started. The next car was overtaken on the outside of the Schwantz curve and the next at the end of Starkey’s Straight. Lap 6 started now in 24th. Lap 7 saw the next car overtaken on the outside into Schwantz Curve. Now 23rd, but a long way behind the next car. Lap 10 with 13 minutes remaining of the race the next group of 4 cars was within striking distance when a crash occurred brining out a Red Flag. Thinking the race was over but the two crashed cars were removed and those remaining were gridded up for a 12-minute sprint. Car 34 started 21st. The next 12 minutes saw close racing, many overtakes bringing car 34 to 11th position but was overtaken at the last corner by the recovering Championship leader dropping to 12th. However, a post-race scrutineering decision disqualified a car in front meaning a final place of 11th, which was 7th in class.
Race 2 onboard: Click here to watch the race watch the bonnet at 2 min 35 sec+
The final round is at Oulton Park on Saturday 14th October.