Find out how the race at Brands Hatch went below:

Brands Hatch 5

I was apprehensive going into practice as we had made a lot of changes to the car over the winter and I had no previous experience at Brands Hatch whereas a few of the other drivers had already raced there before. I went out, learnt the track as best I could in the short space of time we had and then went for a push lap. The car felt very quick in a straight line and much more balanced than last year but I kept locking up the wheels into almost every braking zone and the car was under steering quite a lot on these new tyres, so we worked with what we had during that session and still managed to be the fastest overall with a lap time of 55.227 which I was happy with considering we were struggling with front end grip. 

After our little struggle in practice with front end grip, I spoke to Josh from Sussex Road and Race who made a couple of setup changes based on my feedback and we went out again to see what we could do. From the get-go, I could feel the changes made by Josh after practice and the overall front-end grip was much better which allowed me to grow more confidence in the car so we could push for a faster lap. We again warmed up the tyres and gauged our braking points then went for a push lap. We managed an initial lap time of 54.825, came into the pits for a quick adjustment and then completed a faster lap of 54.773, almost half a second quicker than our fastest lap in practice. This time put us on pole for Race 1 and we were also 0.855s faster than 2nd place!

Brands Hatch 2

Race 1:
I was nervous but excited going into race 1 as this would be my first time launching the car from the start line on its current setup which completely differs to last years. I warmed up the tyres and brakes as best I could on the warm up lap and then we went racing. Stephen Berry managed to beat me off the line and led the first few corners until I got a cutback out of turn 3 and out-dragged him into turn 4 putting me into 1st position. With the clear air and dry track, I pushed as hard as I could and focused on improving every corner and braking point which allowed me and the Sussex Road and Race car to finish the race in 1st place with the fastest lap overall and a whole 16 seconds ahead of 2nd place!

Race 2:
I was much more confident going into race 2 as I knew how our race pace compared to the rest of the grid. Again, Stephen Berry managed to beat me off the line in his R58 Coupe so I chased him down and I found a gap on the inside of turn 2 which put him off line for turn 3 and again I setup a cutback which gave me the run out of turn 3 and into the lead. This race was made much more difficult by the fact that there was a safety car which wiped out my 5 second lead over 2nd place and put Berry back on my rear bumper until the safety car went back into the pits and I strategically restarted the race on the final corner which gave me a better lead down the start finish straight and allowed me to pull a 4 second gap win with the fastest lap overall for a second time.

Brands Hatch 6

Race 3:
Race 3 was a complete game changer as the heavens opened and it absolutely poured down with rain. This put us in a position where we had to pick between the dry race spec tyre and the road spec wet tyre which was difficult as we had no data on how either tyre would perform in these conditions. The decision was eventually made on the flip of a coin which put us on the wet road tyre for this race. Josh from Sussex Road and Race also made a couple of changes to the setup to help with grip in the wet conditions. In assembly prior to going onto the track I could see that the tyre choice was 50/50 with half the grid using the race spec dry tyre and the other half using the road spec wet tyre. Thankfully my main rival Stephen Berry was on the same tyre as me which was a leveller for us both. Berry managed to get a very quick getaway off the start line and was up to speed very quickly in these wet conditions and managed to pull a 5 second gap on me by the halfway point of the race while I was still finding out where I could utilise the grip of my tyres on the track. I eventually found the wet line and got up to speed and chased Berry down before lining up a move and again getting the cutback out of turn 3 which put me in the lead and resulted in another 1st place with the fastest lap overall for the third time this weekend.

What an amazing weekend it has been; I couldn’t be happier with both the car and my own performance! A huge thank you to all at Sussex Road and Race who have completely transformed my car for the better and to all my friends; family and supporters of my racing career.

I’d also like to thank my sponsors Sytner MINI and Alcon Brakes for their support so far. Let’s enjoy this moment but also look forward to Castle Combe for Round 2 of the MINI CHALLENGE CLUBSPORT.


Brands Hatch 4

Images provided by OJL Photos