The Donington decider, the season finale, the last hoorah, our final race of the year took place this weekend. After a long season of many highs and lows it was time to put a wrap on our 2022 GB3 campaign with Hitech. Before the final event of the season I had managed to
stay busy here in England preparing. Many of my days spent prior to the finale were at Hitech, either looking at data, onboard video, or doing physical training. I was determined to end my season strong and no matter what I knew I was going to be the most prepared going into the weekend.
Thursday marked the beginning of on track activities and surprisingly enough it was a dry day. That might not mean much to someone who hasn’t experienced the Autumn season in the U.K. but usually lots of rain is the norm. From the get-go we showed some solid pace in an extremely tight field. In fact, the top 15 where covered by merely half a second and everyone knew when it came time to qualify it was going to be extremely close. Friday practice only seemed to back this up and we ended the day only few tenths off of P1. Both days of practice showed promise and I knew if I hooked it up I could be starting at the very front of the grid.
Saturday once again proved to be dry but just. The night before it had rained and by the time we were about to qualify the track was near fully dried but the conditions were still tricky. We had a strong tailwind in all of the high-speed corners which affected all the cars’ performance as it altered the effect of the aerodynamics. In short what it meant was it wasn’t going to be easy and a good lap was going to take a lot of commitment. My engineer and I decided on waiting about four minutes into quali before starting our run as it would allow the track to become just that little bit better, then it was up to me to get the job done. On my flying lap I was fully committed, trying to carry as much minimum speed as possible, the rear of my car was moving around as I pushed the limit. Halfway around the lap I saw my lap delta, I was up, by a lot! I kept pushing, firing as much speed through the chicane as possible, I was up further. Two corners later I crossed the line. I knew it was good, very good but I wanted more. I had time for one more lap and after turn four I was up again, it was looking like we could be on for pole! I kept pushing and to my horror I saw a slow car appearing in front of me, I had to abort the lap. Darn! (I said some more impolite things in my helmet). Once I pulled into the pits I saw my engineer, who looked very happy, he was holding up three fingers. Despite the traffic we managed to qualify third, the highest result of our three car team, including my championship leading teammate. It was a stellar result if I don’t say so myself. Now it was time for the races.
Race 1 took place Saturday afternoon and I was excited to see what we could achieve. After a not so stellar getaway I ended the race 6th as it was very tough to fight back with the aerowash. We had good race pace and it was a solid points paying result but not quite what I was after, Sunday would be my final chance.
The next morning provided an interesting challenge. It had rained overnight and the track was very damp but the sun was out. Pretty much the entirety of the grid (besides three other cars) opted for wet tires My engineer and I opted for slicks. It was going to be crazy and that was an understatement. My nerves were going crazy and once I pulled out of the collecting area onto the track I realized it was even wetter than I thought. As a matter of fact there was even enough water for a bit of spray. My first goal was simply to survive. The first laps were just about hanging on for dear life, everyone on wets were much quicker and we dropped all the way back to 15th. I thought we made the wrong call but then we started to catch back up. The slick tire finally began to turn on with about five laps to go but I had a lot of work to do. Every lap became a battle, I went inside, outside, anywhere there was space I was putting my car to get by. Soon enough we were within the top five and on the final lap we were into fourth. I could see the leaders! I went around the outside of turn seven to capture the podium but I wasn’t done yet. By the end of the final lap I was on the gearbox of second place. One more lap, we would’ve won but it was an awesome podium result to be proud of. We had the pace, the team, and the guts, and I am so happy we were able to get what we deserved this weekend! What a way to end the season. Now it is time to prep for next year! The hard work never stops and I won’t be satisfied until we are champions. Until next time.