It's terrifying. That's what it is. You strap into a vehicle armed with anywhere north of 600 horse power and compete in a sport where you're allowed, nay, encouraged, to drive into other cars. You ask me what it feels like to drive in BriSCA F1 and there is your answer.
A lot of the best things in life are.
It's unfortunate that so many wish to purge the world of all that is dangerous. Whilst on the face of it, this may seem like a very noble action, I can assure you it isn't.
Imagine trying to invent Stock Car racing in this day and age. Explaining to some Health and Safety lobby that what you want to do, is put people in very fast cars and let them crash into each other. First, they would think you are joking. Then, people in white coats would be trying to fit you into a backwards jacket and lock you in a padded room.
Stock Car racing is not for everyone. But some of us, drivers and fans alike, need it like the very air we breathe. Sometimes, terrifying is a good thing.
Of course, driving Stock Cars isn't nearly as terrifying as listening to doom-mongers talk about it. Change is scary too, and the loss of Coventry Stadium clearly had quite an effect on a lot of people. But a good sport is bigger than any one venue or any one exponent of itself. BriSCA F1 is no exception. A lot of fans seemed pretty distraught about the World Final going to Foxhall Heath Stadium in Ipswich.
In my last Kunstvoller blog we were getting ready to go to Ipswich, so lets start there.
Ipswich is a fantastic venue. It doesn't meet every stock car fans ideals but I defy anyone not to be impressed with what Spedeworth have done with the place. It could and should be a mecca for all short oval motorsport. I have had both amazing successes there and bitter disappointments in the past, but I have learnt two valuable things about racing at Ipswich:-
1. Its fast.
2. Its dusty as balls.
When we went to Ipswich with the European Late Model Series, we were given a short amount of practice time. We would spend this time trying to carve an outside groove through the dust to give us some way of overtaking. Whilst it did help the brave and the lucky, the track was rarely good enough for a proper race until the final. Of course, outside grooves are not a problem for stock cars such as F1s, which are equipped for a little "bump'n'run". Their only problem lies in the first point, the track is fast. A long sweeping bend means you don't need to kill as much speed on the entry as you would at say Birmingham or Northampton, this makes the hit less effective. Of course, if someone really wants to commit and come in hard, they run the risk of going wide and following you on to the aforementioned non-existent outside groove, undoing much of their good work. Whilst it may not sound like it, all of these things make Ipswich a great place to race. Different drivers find different ways to overcome the nuances that our many different stock car tracks have. Ipswich is no different.
At Hednesford earlier this season, I had my eyes opened to just how much disparity of engine performance there is between the many cars that make up this formula. Hednesford again is a fast track, but you need to scrub off more speed than you do at Ipswich in the turns. Hednesford adds its own complications in that the two ends of the track are distinctly different. A car that is set up well for turns one and two can be a bit pushy through three and four, requiring you to reign it in that little bit extra through the centre. A car set up for three and four can turn uncomfortably loose through one and two. Both these outcomes can be cured with power though. The straights are long and if you have the torque to get you from the centre of the turn to the exit and beyond, you can afford the scrub time in the middle. In a Legend it was noticeable. There are two classes in Legends, divided on engine size 1200cc and 1250cc. The difference is probably 10 to 15 bhp but you certainly knew about it when you were driving a 1200! But in F1, as you get to the middle of the straight, you can measure it in metres. Some of the red tops can just drive away from us peasants in the lower grades. It isn't all power, of course. Forward bite off of the turn and balance through the centre play a large part. But after that first ten feet of straight from the exit, grunt rules.
So what is the answer? Same as it has always been. Drive tidy, hit your marks, make the most efficient use of the tools at your disposal. It's the same answer for any driver from NASCAR to Ministox, from FIA F1 to karting. Do all of those things and, more often than not, you will get a result.
This year has been a learning year for me. Next year will be too (actually, motorsport always has something to teach you, you never really stop learning). I wanted to get a shale meeting in this year, but I'll be learning the shale next season. I have some set up changes in my head I want to try and of course we have some new rules being imposed on BriSCA F1 next year, which should work in our favour.
One question that has been cropping up all season is venues. I live in Eastbourne, near France, so I'm a big fan of southern venues. Arlington is my favourite track and I would love to see F1s race there, however unlikely that may be. The pits are small and the track isn't the widest, but it is my home venue, so I will always throw its hat in the ring when people ask me where I want to race.
Far more realistic is Arena Essex. Big pits, close enough to the mainland to lure some Dutch drivers, I could see that really working.
But what I'd really like to see on the calendar is Lydden Hill in Kent.
This could mark the return of the BriSCA F1 Long Track Championship, and who doesn't want to see that?
I know at least one member of the BARC South who is very keen on the idea.
Think about it...
Two day event at a beautiful venue, camping is available, tried and tested format used previously by RDC CAMSO ELMS, and RTS, easy for the Dutch to get to, very fast and fun oval!
Anyway, I live in hope.
I thank everyone that followed Kunstvoller and me in the #13 Newson Racing car last season. All in all I'm expecting a fantastic season of Stock Cars in 2018 and I hope you guys will come along for the ride. If you've been watching on Freesports or Premier, do try to get out to your local venue and watch some live racing, you wont regret it.
Be good to each other,
***All the crap you see written here is Kelvin's opinion and not that of his associates, race team or marketing partners . . . with the exception of Kunstvoller, 'cause they're adept at backing and swerving anything ; D ***
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