I spent the entire weekend pretending to be a racing driver and it was absolutely awesome!
On Saturday Adam and I both took part in a track day organised by Lotus on Track Racing Drivers Club. It was at the Hethel Test Track in Norfolk, the home of Lotus Cars, and the ‘birthplace’ of our car, Steve.
Unfortunately, due to the nature of the site, photographs weren’t allowed (possibly because they are busy developing too much awesomeness there!) I did manage to get this photo of the lovely chairs in the drivers lounge though, I sat on a yellow one and had a cheese and onion sandwich.
In other amazing news, I had a driving lesson from ex F1 driver Martin Donnelly! How cool is that? I’m not sure Martin thought it was cool, as pretty much ever time he got hold of the wheel I let off the throttle! “Why are you taking your foot off the gas, Karen?” in his fabulous Northern Irish voice. “Because I’m finding it a bit hard to accelerate when I’m not in control of the wheel, Martin!” in my confused wimp voice!
On our way home I started reminiscing about the lovely Mallard we’d seen walking across the track whilst I was driving round, the lovely Mallard that I’d got excited about and exclaimed “Look at the beautiful Mallard!” Adam didn’t see a Mallard, he wasn’t there when the Mallard was there. Which can only mean one thing… poor Martin! I’m not used to having ex F1 drivers as passengers.
Sunday was Round 3 of the Lotus Cup UK Speed Championship, at Hethel. I thought that doing the track day on Saturday would give me an advantage, but they changed the layout and everything felt different.
I struggled to get the line right on the first part of the track. I did a pretty slow first run, knocked a few seconds off my second run, and then on my third and final run I got that first part right and I was going really well. I felt pleased, this was good, hooray for Karen, and then, the red flag came out. Someone had gone off into the gravel and they had to clear the track.
I did get a re-run, but by now I was all flustered, I had to rejoin the queue, my head was really hot too! I tried to get it right, but it just wasn’t good enough, and then I braked too late for a chicane and punted the cones. I carried on, but that lap was disqualified because by hitting the cones I’d technically had an off. Disappointed – again!
I was stuck with my second run time of 169.55, which was an okay time in comparison to other people’s second runs, but over 5 seconds slower that the next person on the best timed runs.
And, to top it all, look what I did to my poor little car! Two nasty breaks in the front of it. I’m so sorry Steve!
I’d best go and find the gaffer tape.