By Abbie, 16-Sep-2013 09:53:00
Well as some of you may know I managed to get out for the last three rounds of the BRSCC Mazda MX5 SuperCup this season. The rounds were at Donington, Brands Hatch and the finale at Oulton Park. I didn't really know what to expect as there were a few new drivers in the championship and after having a year out and going back in with no testing I was a bit nervous. However, after the way I left the championship in 2012 just as we were starting to understand the car I felt i had some serious unfinished business to attend to.
I qualified 4th at Donington Park and managed to finish 3rd and 4th. It took a while to settle back into the car again however I was pleased with the results and also how the car was handling back on the old Federal tyres we originally ran in 2011.
Qualifying at Brands hatch was tricky, the track had changable conditions with damp patches around the circuit and for some reason I just didn't gel with the car. I managed to qualify 4th again but felt uncomfortable in the car, so come race time I was extremely nervous.
I managed to get a good start and fought my way up to 2nd place in which i held until the end of the race- result! I felt much more comfortable in the car by the end of the race, i guess that is track time for you! It isn't easy heading straight into qualifying and feeling on it straight away.
I started in 2nd position for race two and quickly headed into the lead, Andrew Clarkson passed me into druids after a sideways moment from me through Paddock Hill bend. I soon regained the lead with a similar pass and held it till 3 laps from the end when my engine started firing on three cylinders periodically. Unfortunately it caught me out on Surtees and I ended up not finishing the race. Gutted as it was only 3 laps from the end and I had fought hard under pressure to keep that place. But sometimes that is just how the cookie crumbles.
I qualified 5th on the 18 car grid but I knew I had a lot of time in myself to improve on so I wasnt too worried for the race.
Race 1 was one of the best and most competitive races I'd been in. The top 5 cars were all swapping places for the lead and I was one of them- up to second, down to 5th, into 4th, up to 2nd and back down again. I entered the last lap in 5th place and made a lunge into 3rd into Old Hall corner and then proceeded to chase down the top 2 cars of Paul Sheard and Andrew Clarkson. On the penultimate corner I lunged Paul Sheard into 2nd position and held it till the end of the race.
Race 2 I got a great start and headed into the lead straight away. A few points of contact later I ended up on the grass hurting through the air and dropped back to 6th position. Eagerly trying to get back to the front again I noticed there was a noise coming from the rear of the car round right handers and the car was fairly lose at the rear. Coming into Old Hall I ended up off the track and even further back.
Unfortunately the race was red flagged due to the Air Ambulance taking off for a previous race incident, however it got restarted a few minutes later.
A 3 lap dash to to the finish occured. I entered the last lap in 4th place and until the very last corner held that place until i got a great exit and manged to take the win over the line by only 0.012 to Mike Comber behind.
A bizzare race but a win is a win and i'll take it however it comes!
So the issue now is finding funding for next year to compete the whole year and go for the championship!!
By Abbie, 16-Apr-2013 14:00:00
1) Generally I tend to agree with him.
2) It is about the % of women drivers in comparison to males. Say you have 100 males competing, only maybe 2 are capable to race in F1 and do a good job. For those 100 males there may only be 5 females. And maybe 1....maybe none at all are actually 100% committed to racing and have the determination, passion, aggression and focus to do it well.
3) Then comes the opportunity part of things. Everyone knows in motorsport in an ideal world you need talent, money, luck. However if you have money, everything else is irrelevant. So perhaps the females that are getting the opportunities are the ones who are BUYING them rather than earning them, as is similar throughout the whole motorsport world, male or female.
4) In terms of 'mental aptitude' i think those that are committed and passionate about racing have an even BETTER mental aptitude for racing as personally for me, throughout my whole racing career i haven't dealt with sexism as such, but always a doubt from male drivers as to my ability. Now those that could compete in F1 will use this doubt to make them stronger and define their driving and those that aren't will take it to heart and get upset about it and doubt themselves.
5) I think that if anything women lack the physical strength to compete at the level of F1. I believe this can be equalled by probably twice as hard training to gain the same level of fitness as a male. It's just fact that males have a higher muscle % and in terms of neck strength in an F1 car, the G-forces are HUGE. Are women physically capable of standing these forces for a long period of time? Who knows.
6)Finally i think you should take what he said with a pinch of salt. His generation are all of these kinds of opinions that women are not on par with men, which is fine, that's how they were brought up and how their society was. However we all know that it is a dated opinion. I am personally not offended by his comment and i don't think any other female driver should be either.
By Abbie, 23-Sep-2012 12:44:00
Thought it was about time I updated you all on what’s happening with myself and racing! As you know for the full year we have been struggling with budget to race and after the engine gave up at Castle Combe we just decided to stop for the season. There’s no point in racing with little preparation and poor equipment, it’s rather demoralising!
I had hoped to be out at Croft for the last race of the season in September but unfortunately my mum had to go into hospital for some major surgery so obviously my number one priority was her.
I also applied for the KX Academy however did not get through to the final.
So I guess you could call this a very tough year! I’m currently putting together sponsor proposals to send out in hope for some funding next year so I can get back on form and continue the good results we were heading towards before my engine went bang!
“Success is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm”
By Abbie, 17-Jun-2012 14:16:00
We made some great progress throughout the day in both wet and dry conditions and was in the top 3 cars putting in some quick times.
However in the 4th session out the car lost power and then started with a missfire, so i coasted into the pits to see what the problem was. Unfortunately one of the spark plugs had exploded and put a hole in one of the valves, so that was it. My weekend was over before it even started.
I was gutted. Absolutely gutted.
The engine is currently in pieces and will hopefully be rebuilt for the next round in 3 weeks at Brands Hatch. Lets hope the pace I had continues and I am able to convert it into some good results.
By Abbie, 05-Jun-2012 12:57:00
Finally we were able to do a test day on the Wednesday before the meeting and things seemed to be going pretty well. My sponsor Mike from OH Facilities came down for the day to have a fly round in the car and thoroughly enjoyed it!
There was a few other Mazdas doing the test day and I was holding my own throughout the day so things were looking promising for the weekend.
Saturday was dry and I went out eager to get a good qualifying position however I messed up my fastest lap which would have put me in the top 4 so had to settle for 7th place- I was gutted! But with all three races being tomorrow and the weather looking questionable I knew it was all still to play for.
The weather could not have been any worse- heavy rain all day. So we made a big change to the car and went out for race 1 hoping for the best. I had never driven Cadwell in the wet before so I viewed race 1 as more of a glorified test session.
Straight away I could feel the changes that had been made to the car worked! There was still a rather large amount of understeer that would need to be fine tuned out but the general feel of the car was a million times better than the previous wet races.
I managed to finish 5th overtaking the championship leader and going 4 seconds quicker than my qualifying time. What a result!
We made a few changes for race 2 and once again they worked brilliantly, I started from 5th and made it up to 3rd place. I was battling with the front bunch and had to go defensive for the entry of Park corner, unfortunately I braked on an area where I usually wouldn’t have and I locked the brakes up and by the time I had regained control I was on the wet grass and heading towards the barrier. I managed to position the car so that I just kissed it with the left hand side of the car so minimal damage occurred and rejoined the track in last place.
I fought my way back up the grid to 7th place and I was much happier with how the car was feeling.
For race 3 I started optimistic of a good result as long as I kept it on the track! Off the start I managed to get into the lead and pulled a good gap and held it up till the dreaded corner where I went off before, and did the exact same mistake! Off onto the grass however was able to rejoin back into 7th place. I ended up finishing 6th but was so angry with myself for throwing it off on the very same corner as before, but I guess that’s a lesson learnt the hard way!
All in all a very successful weekend, we now have the basis for a good wet setup and can look forward to the rest of the season.
A big thank you goes out to my Mum and Dad, Martin at www.mx5city.com , Mike at www.westfieldhomebuyers.com and last but not least Mike at www.OHfacilities.com.
Your support is thoroughly appreciated! Bring on Castle Combe!!
By Abbie, 05-Jun-2012 12:33:00
Due to lack of budget I turned up to Snetterton yet to drive the 300 circuit so was very aware of how much of a learning curve qualifying would be, especially in the wet conditions. I managed to qualify 9th which I was more than happy with as I was the only car out there to have not tested on the Friday however the car was a real handful to drive and changes needed to be made.
Race 1 was in appalling conditions and the car was a nightmare to drive, I was just merely keeping it on the track and managed to finish in 10th place. Due to not being able to test at all during the new season we have yet to find a decent setup for the wet with the new Khumo tyres, and after a poor showing at Silverstone in the wet and again in race 1 I asked the team to do something radical to the setup as frankly it couldn’t get any worse (or so I thought).
So changes were made for race 2 and unfortunately they didn’t work, it just added understeer to deal with as well as snap oversteer. So once again it was just a case of keeping it on the track and I brought it back in 10th place once again.
Before race 3 the track had started to dry out a little so we put the dry setup back on and I started in 10th place once again and managed to finish 7th. The car felt much better in the dry but there was still an understeer issue that would need to be addressed before the next round.
As you can imagine, after having two poor showings at Silverstone and again at Snetterton I was rather downbeat and decided to miss the next round at Anglesey due to a) having no budget and b) to concentrate on trying to find a wet setup that works for the round after at Cadwell Park, my local track.
By Abbie, 10-Apr-2012 15:05:00
The major challenge for any young racing driver is to secure the sponsorship necessary to develop their career. I have been working with Managing Agent, Martin Jarritt, of MGMS for the past two years, during which time a TV documentary has been produced about me and my racing by Blue Rider Films to be aired on Sky or ITV4 in 2012/13. Discussions are progressing with large corporates and their marketing agencies to enable me to enter the British Touring Car Championship (BTCC) at the earliest opportunity.
By Abbie, 09-Apr-2012 12:25:00
Unfortunately my main sponsor had pulled out only a week before the first race at Silverstone so it was a last minute decision whether I was going to make it or not.
On the Wednesday my parents at www.vanzone.co.uk decided that they would make sure I was on the grid for Silverstone however I wasn't able to test on the friday- so straight into qualifying it was with brand new brake pads and a brand new set of the new regulation tyres from Kumho. Unfortunately we were desperately in need of a new gearbox too, fearing it wouldn't last the first race never mind the weekend, but once again budget didn't allow us! So our fingers were crossed that it would be okay. Not only that, the championship had organised an ECU upgrade for all the cars, however the company that was doing the upgrades went home on Saturday so I was left with a car that was down on power compared to the rest of the grid- great!!
Qualifying was more like a glorified test session, running the pads in and also trying to scrub the tyres in and get some heat into them. The car felt pretty shocking to drive and also felt quite down on power hence I qualified 13th. So we made a few changes and hoped for better in Race 1.
Race 1 was dry and I got a good start however gearbox problems resulted in me dropping back the places I gained off the line. I was so frustrated but tried to channel this into racing hard to get back up to the front. The car felt better than it did in qualifying but was too grippy this time and the engine felt even more slow and bogged down coming out the corners as well as lacking top end speed. However I managed to finish in 10th place.
Race 2 was on Sunday in very wet conditions and starting in p16 I had a lot of work to do to get back up to the front but hopefully the changes made to the car would help me make my way through. Unfortunately the car was even worse than in the wet qualifying. It felt like I was driving on ice, the car had absolutely no grip what so ever and was still down on power! Needless to say I was extremely unhappy when I came into the pits and just about ready to throw the towel in! Its one thing being able to make a race weekend last minute but to struggle with setup to the extent I was was so demoralising.
We made some huge changes to the car and also FINALLY had the ECU upgrade done and with the weather looking dry I was somehow optimistic for a good result.
I started p12 and immediately on the warm up lap I could feel the car felt great and also it seemed like it had a bit more grunt. By the end of lap 2 I made it up to 9th place and was hunting down the cars in front. I lunged Enyon Price into Beckets and held the line out of the corner and then overtook Will Chappelle into Luffield so made it up to 7th place on lap 7. I got past Matt Davies on lap 12 and was up with the top 6 cars and was challenging for places. On the last corner of the last lap I made it past two cars into 4th place however they got the better drive out of the corner so I finished in 6th place.
It was the confidence boost I needed, I managed to get the 2nd fastest lap and was up with the front group where I had been last year.
So all in all it had been a very tough weekend.
We now know a decent dry setup, and just need to work on getting the wet setup sorted. Also my gearbox lasted the weekend (just) but it definitely needs changing before the next race at Snetterton at the end of the month. The ECU upgrade helped the power deficit in the car however on lap 3 of the last race the engine management light came on and there was a on-off hesitation of power at the top end which needs addressing!
I'd just like to say a big thank you to my Mum and Dad for getting me out this weekend and again to Dad and Chris for not giving up and finding a good setup for the car in the end.
The last race gives me good hope that the season ahead is going to be a great one, I just hope someone decides to come onboard and help me make the next round at Snetterton on the 27th April.
By Abbie, 20-Mar-2012 16:34:00
Every month I will be writing a column in the Racing and Waiting Online Magazine at www.racingandwaiting.co.uk. So keep your eyes pealed to see what I've been up to!
By Abbie, 17-Mar-2012 14:00:00
Great to see the F1 back on the TV screen!
And great to see that the Redbull domination that was seen so much in 2011 hasn't carried through into the new season.
Australian Quali Results- Hamilton, Button, Grosjean. Looks like it's set to be an exciting season!
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