Motorsports

1st Race Weekend Report From Oulton Park - UPDATED With Video’s!

posted on Sun, 01 Apr 2018 07:10:50
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So that is the first race weekend done and dusted and what an experience it was, for me as I had spent so little time in the car the main thing was all about getting to the end of the day unscathed, which we just about did although I definitely had a few hairy moments, and to learn how a race weekend works, procedure, time tables etc and not to do anything silly.

Qualifying

Heading Out For 1st Qualifying Session

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Firstly we were blessed with the weather, I had been watching forecasts all week and whichever you looked at we would get wet at some point but miraculously other than the odd drizzle we had a day of dry running. Qualifying was at 10.40am and was a 20 minute session where your quickest time set the grid for race 1 and your second quickest set the grid for race 2.

Now I had been watching YouTube video’s all week on how to drive a Radical SR1 round Oulton Park, so in my head I knew what to do I just had to actually go out and do it, in an ideal world I to achieve a time of 1min 51 seconds which was 5 seconds quicker than I went in testing the week before, so we all drove down to the holding area 20 mins before qualifying was due to start and I sat there running the lap through my head, just like a real racing driver :-)

The only fly in the ointment was that due to heavy rain the night before the track was damp so it was declared a wet session so qualifying would be run on wets, so out we went but in all honestly on the racing line the track was pretty much dry, you just had to be careful to not go onto the wet stuff.

I slowly built up my speed and had a good few clear laps and by the end I could really feel the car moving around under me as I pushed it, in the end I got to the point on a couple of corners where the tyres were at their limit and I had a few scary sideways moments but at the end I achieved a couple of laps in the low 1min 52’s which I was delighted with especially as we were on wet’s, so this meant I started race 1 in 6th and race 2 in 5th, out qualifying my more experienced team mate on both occasions, so after Qualy it really felt like job done, now it was just a matter of 2 races to go.

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Post Qualy Interview

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Race 1

Getting Ready!

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I must admit both races flew by and in all honesty I really don’t remember much as I was so focused on keeping it on the black stuff everything else was a blur, you don’t even notice anyone watching until the end and also my team were displaying my pit board every lap but I never noticed it once, Oulton Park really is a challenging circuit that grabs your attention with the quick corners as there really isn’t any run off before you hit the barrier so it is really difficult to balance speed with bravery.

So race 1 was at 1.30pm so you meet in the holding area 20 mins before the start in race order, get yourself strapped in and comfortable then follow the pace car onto the track for your lap to the grid, here it is about warming the tyres and bakes, then you take your grid position, not really sure what happened here but the marshall’s got myself and 5th mixed round so we had to swap positions after our green flag lap which followed next, again this is all about getting the car up to temperature, So now it is time for my first race start, the first mission here is not to stall.

Once we were all in grid position we waited for the 5 second board then everyone ups their revs to around 6000 RPM which is all very exciting then the lights go out and we are off, miraculously no one stalled and we were off racing. In all honesty my problem here is that once the lights go out you have to be at 100% straight away, no building up slowly but it did take me a couple of laps to get to where I should be so lost a couple of places.

In the Radical SR1 Cup there are three different championships, I’m never going to win the overall as some of the younger drivers are much quicker at the moment but there is also a Rookie Cup and the Fangio Cup for drivers over 45, needless to say the Fangio Cup is my focus at the moment, it is here that we had a good battle, for the whole race I kept one of my competitors behind me, he was quicker on some parts and I was quicker on others, but then my team mate took me only to spin on one of the quick left handers but he recovered then came at me again, this time he got me down the straight but then the next time I saw him he had spun and hit one of the barriers but overall in the race he was definitely quicker than me, in the end I came home as the winner of the Fangio class which meant a trip to the podium and a trophy from my first race which in my wildest dreams I never expected.

A 20 minute race really doesn’t sound long but I was so happy to see the chequered flag, these cars as so physical and mentally draining I really had enough by the end, I really don’t know how the F1 and LeMans drivers do it.

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Really Happy with Race 1

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Another Interview as Winner of the Fangio Class.

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Race 2

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So we had a spot of lunch and waited for the 2nd race at 5.30pm, by this time the temperature had dropped noticeably and whilst sitting in the holding area it started to drizzle again, we had to wait longer as in the previous race someone had put it into the barriers and done some serious damage to the barrier so this had to be repaired first, but eventually we were on the grid revving the engines waiting for the red lights to go out.

Now this race didn’t go quite as well as the first, unfortunately the car in front of me stalled so I had no where to go so by the time I had drove around him I was pretty much last but I caught one of my fellow Fangio competitors and then ensued a great race where I finally threw it done the inside going into the chicane and took the place, I didn’t realise at the time but my team mate also stalled it on the grid so I was now the lead Fangio car but then it all went horribly wrong.

I really don’t know what happened but looking in the racing drivers book of excuses I think I was trying a little too hard on a cooler, damp track and going through one of the chicanes I floored it on the exit only to hit the inner kerb and the car instantly spun round and before I knew it I was on the grass and facing the wrong way, bugger, all that hard work lost, basically I just run out of talent.

So now I started to panic a little and for whatever reason I couldn’t get it into first gear so I tried to pull away in 2nd and then got it on the track only to stall it in everyones way, bugger again, so in the end I had to retire and just watched the rest of the race with the marshalls behind the barriers, once the race was over I jumped back in the car and drove it back, so in the end no damage was done, in reality I was very lucky as when I was driving back one of my competitors had binned in into the barriers on the last lap and had done some serious damage but luckily he was OK.

So in the end it was a very mixed weekend with a great Qualifying, a race one trophy then a spin and DNF for race 2 but overall I left the circuit with a big smile and an eagerness to get in the car again as I know there is still a lot of speed left in the car and myself.

Still Smiling after a rather eventful race 2!

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A Big Thank You!

Firstly I just want to say a huge thanks to everyone who came to support us, some driving a long way to get to Oulton, it was brilliant to see so many friendly faces there and despite the cold weather everyone seemed to have a good time.

Also a big thanks to Simon and Darren and UPE Motorsport for doing a stirling job in giving me a brilliant car to race and also thanks to Radical for doing such a brilliant job of making everyone feel so welcome, there were 8 rookies but there is such great sense of comradeship in the paddock it is a brilliant place to spend the day.

Next Race meeting and hospitality.

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So the next race isn’t until the 12th May at Snetterton but if anyone fancy’s coming along just let me know as we can get a limited number of passes and also if you want full hospitality please let me know in advance as I need to book it with Radical, basically it is £30 a head and you get breakfast and lunch on race day + drinks and nibbles through the day, I have to say the food was epic, if I had been given this in a restaurant I would have been happy so as you can imagine it is much better than any other race track food + you can spend the day in the paddock.

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I am going to try and edit some video footage later for my qualifying and races so if I can figure it out I will upload it.

Roll on Snetterton but until then back to the day job of being a HiFi dealer :-)

Thanks for reading,

Cheers,

Paul.

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A Couple of quick video’s

Hi Everyone,

So I have just figured out how to edit video’s, in true apple fashion is is made very easy.

Qualifying Lap

This is my best qualifying lap which I was very pleased with, especially as we were running on the wet tyres, to be fair though there is still a lot of time to be had as I really need to brake much later and carry more speed in the fast corners but for a 1st attempt I was very happy.

From Hero To Zero

This clip isn’t quite as good, I had just taken the lead in the Fangio Cup runnings but for some reason under acceleration from the chicane I just spun out, I had taken that corner the same lap after lap but maybe due to the colder weather and moisture in the air just touching the kerb was all it took, a lesson learnt definitely.

Cheers,

Paul.


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1st Drive In Our Radical SR1 -Report!

posted on Mon, 26 Mar 2018 04:34:49

Hi Everyone,

I thought I would just jot down a few thoughts from my first drive in the Radical SR1 at Oulton Park on Friday, I must say I was very relieved to finally get out in the car after our first 2 tests being cancelled due to snow and with my first race less than 1 week away.

So how did it go? well looking back a couple of days later I would say I was fairly happy although I need to go a fair bit faster but for my first drive in the car at a circuit I didn’t know and to be fair is a pretty scary track, then I was reasonably happy at the end of the day.

Blimey It’s Fast!

So as an overview of the day, basically it was a general test day so there was some seriously quick machinery there of all kinds, it was quite cool start to the day when sitting in the cafe on my own eating a sausage sandwich and Matt Neal walked in, the triple British Touring Car Champion, to get his breakfast, that actually bought it home a little that this was all about to get quite serious.

The day was broken down into 4 x 30 minute sessions, I had 2 drives in the morning and another 2 in the afternoon, below are my thoughts on how each session went.

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Session 1

So to say I was nervous would be a slight understatement as I had only driven 3 track days before and done some karting a few years ago but the guys as UPE Motorsport really helped me settle into the car and made me feel like there was no pressure and I need to get to feel the car first and to find my own limits.

So bearing in mind that the car had never been driven before in an ideal world we would have had someone who knows Radicals shake the car down but due to the test day cancellations this was never done so came down to me, so it was a case of going out for one lap then coming straight back in which I did and to me at least everything felt great, then I repeated the same but this time for 3 laps and then back in, again all seemed good so then I was free to go out until the end of the session and to start building my speed up but before I knew it the 30 mins was over and I was back in the pits but happy with my first drive.

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Session 2

So now it was time to start pushing the car a little, as the track was still damp we did session 1 and 2 on wets which still felt very quick indeed and to be fair I still wasn’t reaching the limits of the tyres or the car, it’s really hard to describe how fast and physical these cars are, I had been practicing on Project Cars on Xbox which is great for learning the circuit but has no real way of giving you the sensation of speed and how scary it can be, in the game I can take some corners easily flat but in real life this is a very different story.

So during this session I was reasonably happy with my progress and got down to a 1m 59 second lap time which apparently on wets was pretty respectable, one thing I did notice was that when going down the main straight I was noticing that my head was being pushed back due to doing over 100 mph without a wind screen and after a while my neck was really starting to hurt, so after a couple of trips into the pits the guys added extra padding to the headrest which ended up helping a lot, looks like I need to get down the gym to start working my neck out :-)

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Session 3

So after a quick bite of lunch I was back in the car, this time on dry tyres so I was expecting to take quite a chunk of my time but in the end it ended up being a bit of a messy session with yellow flags then a red flag to stop the session and I was still concerned about my neck pain so I actually ended up going 2 secs slower, to say I was not impressed is a understatement so I went off, sat in the van and gave myself a telling off :-) This was actually becoming a lot harder than I thought as the quick guys were doing 1 min 50′s so I was 10 secs of the pace which was quite shocking as it felt like I was going really fast, It’s much easier watching it on the TV that’s for sure.

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Session 4

So with this being the last session of the day and my last drive in the car before qualifying the following weekend for my first race I was determined to try harder and to find some time, in the end I got down to a 1 min 56 which made me a little happier as at least I improved and I got within 1 sec of my team mate who raced his Radical last year so he is a very good benchmark but there is still a lot more speed in the car, I just need to find it in myself to man up and to throw caution to the wind a little more.

I have spent all weekend watching quick laps round Oulton Park in Radical’s on You Tube and to be fair I am pretty happy with my lines and breaking but there are 3 really quick corners at Oulton and I am sure it is here that I am loosing most of my time as well as that I am lifting when approaching Druids which should be flat out so I am confident that when next back in the car for Qualifying I can find some more time.

Doing quick laps on your own is one thing though but once it comes to racing then I am sure that will be a totally different experience again.

1st Race This Weekend

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So this Easter weekend I have qualifying on Saturday followed by 2 x 20 minute races, certainly going to be a fun weekend, I hope my body has recovered by then as my arms and neck are still aching a fair bit, I have ordered some brave pills from the chemist as I know that all the extra speed I need is in me not being such a wimp in the quick stuff, to be honest though I am gagging to get back in the car to see if I can find that missing time.

Watch this space and I will report back after the first race weekend and will hopefully be able to load up some race footage.

Cheers,

Paul.


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HFL Race Team Wear, The Fashion Clothing of 2018 :-)

posted on Sun, 18 Mar 2018 06:50:51

Hi Everyone,

So with only less than 2 weeks to go to my first race the excitement is really starting to build, in preparation we have had our Team HiFi Lounge Race Wear designed with the help from Simon at UPE Motorsport who are running my car this year and it does look really great if I do say so myself :-)

We are going with fleeces and light weight jackets to start with, the fleeces are around £50 and the jackets £70, if anyone would like to grab any let me know and we can get more ordered.

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A Testing Time!

One major problem with only less than 2 weeks to go till the first race is that I still haven’t actually driven the Radical SR1 that I will be racing yet due to the first test being cancelled because of snow, so we are planning to be running at Rockingham tomorrow but once again the snow has hit us, hopefully the worst is out the way though and we actually get some miles in, being a big Nascar fan it is going to be awesome to run on some of the Oval at Rockingham :-)

Then on Friday we are up at Oulton Park, where the first race will be held, for more testing then it is straight into qualifying on the Saturday of the Easter weekend, no pressure then :-) but hopefully by the end of this coming week I will have a good feel for the car.

Here is my Radical all loaded up at UPE ready for action, hopefully.

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Please keep an eye on our Motorsports page as well as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for live updates from the track.

Cheers,

Paul.


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HiFi Lounge Goes Motor Racing - Update 4!

posted on Sat, 17 Feb 2018 03:08:33
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We Must Be Crazy :-)

Hi All,

So this is probably the craziest thing I have ever decided to do but we has just bought a race car and HiFi Lounge are going Motor Racing :-) We are entering a 12 round championship with races around the UK and I would love as many of our customer’s as possible to become involved by coming along to the races, other than being a hifi dealer I have always joked that being a racing driver would be my dream job so this is an attempt to merge my 2 passions together, I have spent my whole life watching far too much motorsport so I am hoping some of it may have sunk in :-)

So when we say race car, what have we actually bought? Well there is no point mucking about so we have jumped in at the deep end with the slightly scary Radical SR1, for those who don’t know Radical Cars they are a local company based up the road at Peterborough and make pretty much everything in house and offer a range of pretty epic cars and for many people Radical offer are their first steps into motorsport, especially with the SR1 as they make the whole daunting process of going racing reasonably straight forward, you can read more about the car below -

https://www.radicalsportscars.com/our-cars/sr1

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The Best Of British HiFi

The idea is to run a ‘Best Of British HiFi’ Car, we have a few sponsors lined up but as soon as everything is confirmed we will make an announcement regarding who is crazy enough to back us.

What started as an idea for a bit of fun has turned into a serious project now, basically I needed a race medical which luckily I passed this week, I have had to get all the racing kit, you know it is serious when you have to buy a Hans device :-) I have then got my racing licence test at Brands Hatch at the end of February, we have had to employ a race team to run the car, we have gone with the guys at UPE Motorsport so look forward to a fun year with these guys, please see a link to their Facebook page below and my my first test in the car is at Snetterton in a few days with another shortly after at Rockingham then Oulton Park, the Car is being built now then we can have the fun part of designing the livery.

https://www.facebook.com/UPEMotorsport/

Keep Up To Date On How The Season Is Going!

We have a Motorsport page now on HFL’s homepage where all this years goings on will be posted with live feeds from the track so please keep an eye on this if you are a fellow petrolhead and also we will posting regularly on our social media feeds so if you don’t already follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram please follow the links below

HFL Motorsport Page - http://hifilounge.co.uk/index.php?route=information/motorsports

Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/HiFiLoungeUK/

Twitter - https://twitter.com/hifilounge

Instagram - https://www.instagram.com/hifi_lounge/

We will also be holding a motorsport themed ‘Boys Toys’ open day shortly where we will be running a driving based competition where the winners will get full hospitality at one of the race meetings so please watch this space.

Please Support Us At The Track!

The races are on Saturday’s so it means HFL will be closing on 6 Saturday’s this year but as many of our customers are petrolheads I am hoping that a lot of you will come along to support our efforts and believe me I will need as much support as I can get as this is the fist time I have driven a car with real downforce which is a scary thought.

So please see the race calendar below and please put any of the races in your calendar that you think you can make it along to, if you can’t get to the track then the races are also broadcast live on you tube although you probably won’t see much of me as I expect to be trailing round at the back until I’ve got some experience in the car :-)

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So this is really just a headsup to the madness ahead for 2018 but please keep your eye out on the website on the Motorsport page for all the latest news, just hope I can get to the end of the year unscathed and with my dignity intact :-)

Definitely looking forward to a fun year though with lots to learn :-)

Please see a few photo’s below from the recent AutoSport show where I signed on the dotted line, I must say it seemed like a good idea at the time but as the first race gets closer I am already starting to feel the nerves.

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Cheers,

Paul.

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Hi All,

I just thought I would update this with a few pictures I took when on a Factory Tour of Radical Cars the other day, I have to say I was really surprised at the size of Radical as a company, good to see a local company doing so well :-)

This is just a small part of the factory!

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So this what my SR1 looks like under the skin

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Now onto the cars!

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Love the colour of this one!

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This is really is a road going version, the RXC GT, Nice!

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Cheers,

Paul.

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A Big Day Tomorrow!

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Hi All,

So tomorrow is a big day as I am off to Brands Hatch to take my ARDS Race License test, now that is something I never thought I’d be saying a couple of months ago :-)

All a bit nerve racking really as it is a 3 hour test and it must be 30 years since I last did a test of any kind and I have never driven Brands in anger before so lots to learn, I have been told that the test is pretty straight forward though which almost makes it worse as if I fail I will then look like a right Muppet :-)

Anyway plenty of PMA needed for tomorrow and I will post if I pass or fail.

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In other news I want to thank the guys at UPE Motorsports yesterday for collecting my Radical SR1 which was finished being built this week just in time for my first test in the car on Tuesday at Snetterton, exciting times, I wonder what adventures this car will see this year, hopefully not too many trips to the kitty litter of worse.

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Just need to get some graphics on it now :-)

Cheers,

Paul

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Cue Drum Roll ……..

So just got back from a day at Brands Hatch and I am pleased to say that I passed my ARDS Test.

Not sure that quite makes me a racing driver yet but it is definitely a step in the right direction and I can now look forward to a year racing in the Radical SR1 Cup around the UK.

In the end I was surprised how relaxed I was, I was expecting to be riddled with nerves but they never materialised, I think listening to Bruce Springsteen live at New York on the way must have helped :-)

In the written exam there were a couple of questions that were designed to catch you out but I got a 100% pass here then it was on to the driving exam, this was in a turbo Peugeot that was a lot softer sprung than I am used to but was still fast and I got commended on my speed, consistency and awareness, especially as I had never driven Brands before and passed with flying colours.

I have to say that driving Paddock Hill Bend at speed is awesome, so much steeper than you realise, can’t wait to try that in the Radical, could be quite scary.

So all in all an excellent day, the next steps are for me to head over to UPE Motorsports tomorrow for my first time to sit in the car so we can adjust the seat, peddles and belts etc and get me as comfortable in the car as possible before my first days testing at Snetterton on Tuesday, there could be a major fly in the ointment here though with the impending snow that is due to hit so we’ll have to see how that pans out.

Anyway really pleased that the ARDS test is out the way, such a small stamp below should hopefully unlock a year of fun :-)

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Cheers,

Paul.

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Hi All,

Just a quick update today to say that I was supposed to be having my first outing in the car today at a test session organised by Radical Cars at Snetterton, I got up at 5am and headed off but as I got closer the temperature dropped to -7 and the whole of the track was covered in snow, we waited around for an hour or so but the conditions got worse and it was decided to cancel the session which was a real shame as I was keen to get stuck in.

At this rate I won’t get any track time before the first race in a months time, just as well that I like a challenge :-)

My car is in there somewhere!

Good to see pictures of my racing hero, Mika Hakkinen on the walls of the Cafe at Snet though :-)

Better luck for the next test at Rockingham in a few weeks time.

Cheers,

Paul.


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