2 days from groundzero!

13 05 2010

Hard to know where to start this update as it’s been several days since the last one, I’m sorry. Have had several attempts late at night after full-on days only to fall asleep while trying!

Maybe I’ll start at the end and work back!

It’s the night before the first day of the event, with practice and qualifying tomorrow. That means it’s finally time to get our bums in the Honda Civic race car and actually drive it. They look fantastic sitting in the team marquee with all the livery for 2010 and driver’s names on the window. I must admit to a little bit of emotion when my name was added to car 244.

Yesterday put the finishing touches on the cars and all the drivers passed through documentation successfully, although not without a few hiccups for some who had issues with some particularly anally obsessive german scrutineers (how unusual!), and had to run around and update HANS posts which had FIA notation but were missing a “vital” number.

The morning started for the new drivers with the on-track part of the New Driver’s Course. This course is compulsory for all drivers who have never done the 24 Hour before and consists of a half day of theory and a half day on track, over 2 days. The on-track day today was extremely good. The track was very wet and slippery at first and gradually dried as the session progressed.

I was fortunate to score Willie Moore as an instructor and he drove ahead in an Audi R8 V10 driving the perfect line with a group of 5 cars following playing touch tag and the end of each lap and rotating around. We had headsets so Willie was talking us through the corners as we drove. We started slow and then built speed as the laps went by. It’s amazing how your frame of reference shifts here. At one stage I felt we were dawdling along only to look down and we were pushing along at over 160kph! At least it explained why the Golf’s traction control came on through a couple of wet downhill corners! Street tyres and a wet Nordschleife can make a certain part of one’s anatomy rather tense at times!

After 8 laps behind Willie (how they flew), and we were let loose on our own onto the track with no other traffic apart from the odd maintenance crew which were marked with intervention vehicles and yellow flags. Which is all fine but it’s a bit scary when you come over the crest leading up to the Flugplatz at full chat only to find an intervention car immediately in front of you on the racing line and full brakes only just allow you to avoid it! Jeez these Germans can be mad at times!

I managed another 7 laps on my own during which I was able to deal to a few “issues” I’ve had with certain corners.

I’ve now driven 38 laps of the Nordschleife over 8 days. That’s nearly 800kms of track time, and I still feel like a newbie out there. While I know the layout of the track perfectly, driving the perfect line is still a huge challenge in parts of the track.

When another 206 cars are on the track at race speed somehow I think there will be a whole new ball game!

I’ll post some pictures up when I get time – the internet speed here without 3G at Jammelshofen makes uploading pics painfully slow.

There are plenty of pictures and updates on KTN’s Facebook page

BTW, on Sunday around 4PM NZ time there will be an update from the track during the race on TV3 from our KTN media crew. That’s be about 2AM here.

Cheers

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3 responses

13 05 2010
Matty & Becs

Great to hear all is going well Dad, good luck for tomorrow!! Wish we could be there.
Love Matty & Becs

13 05 2010
Andrew Johnston

Wow even I’m getting nervous! Remember to zig zag all over the road to stop those faster rockets from passing you!

13 05 2010
Jenny

“Anally obsessive German scrutineers”… now that’s a disturbing mental image.

Good luck, drive fast and drive safe!

xxx Jfer

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