After a few oval races I headed to Summit Point: Jefferson in the MX-5. I put in plenty of practice while I learnt the track and the car in the new setting.
My first race couldn’t have gone better; started 3rd, finished 3rd, with zero incidents. Perhaps that gave me too much confidence, as I get a 6x and a 9x next! I remember some of the incidents but not exactly which races they were from; getting rear-ended into turn 4 on the first lap of one race; losing the car on the fast downhill left (turn 6) and then, while recovering, being sideswiped by another car losing control at the same turn. Aah, rookies…
I also had one better memorable moment. A couple of laps in to one race, I have a car right behind me, and the driver asks over the radio if I’d let him go. I was all over the place so decided it was the right thing to do. For the next two laps, I get myself sorted and he’s all over the place, and he lets me back past! Really respectful racing, the kind of driver I’d be willing to have an actual race with.
I needed just 6 races to get my D licence; in the final three, I got two pole positions, but no wins. Cleaner racing all around.
From there, I can move to the Grand Touring Cup, which is running at two free tracks for the next two weeks; Lime Rock and Laguna Seca. This will give me the MPR for the C licence, and keep me away from the rookies.
The Solstice is understeery (which I prefer) but I found it satisfying to drive once I got used to turning in really early for certain corners. I managed a 2nd (in class!) in my first race, although with 10 incidents, so not so great for the licence – but it was still an increase. I ran 8 races at Lime Rock; had 2 pole positions, another 2nd and a 3rd, and a couple of disasters too. A few races lost from self spins, not a lot of car contact thankfully. I got my SR up to 3.42 and my iRating was on the up.
Before heading on to Laguna Seca, I joined Ollie in a couple of rookie races in the MX-5 at Phoenix Road Course. We never ended up in the same split, but stayed in a call while we both raced. The track has some tricky corners… I qualified well and raced badly. My iRating took a huge hit but I came away with another .21 SR. I really needed more practice at the circuit.
I convinced Ollie to try a Grand Touring Cup race at Laguna Seca. Again, we got split apart, but it was worth a go. I went into the first race, again, with only a little practice… and it showed with a 15x and -0.14SR. Ouch! I was lucky to get to the end of the race.
A few days later I ran three more races at Laguna. The first I raced from 5th to 4th, taking the fastest lap in the process. The second one, I qualified badly, in the middle of the pack, and elected to start from the pit lane. I had fun racing through the pack, learning a bit more about passing cars, and got back up to 10th (of 20). The final race I got up to 3rd from 7th on the grid, again taking the fastest lap.
That was it for my road racing; up to a D 3.66. At the end of the season I was promoted to a C licence.