BaT Member of the Month - July 2012My enthusiasm for track days began in 2008, when a colleague at the time would describe his antics on airfield days in his turbocharged MX5. After completing a couple of ÂEveryman 6th Gear DreamdayÂ experience days in a 911 and Ferrari F430, on some airfields of questionable surface quality, the bug had bit!
After becoming a member of the Pistonheads forum, I began scouring for information as to who would be the ÂbestÂ track day organiser. By ÂbestÂ, my requirements were simple: minimal traffic, a no-numpty policy and quality circuits. BookaTrack was a consistent recommendation from the PHers.
My original intention had been to spectate at a few track days before deciding whether to book myself as a driver. However, for some inexplicable reason, I booked my first track day with BaT in my current car at the time (a Vauxhall Corsa - the desirable and rare 1.4 16v ÂDesignÂ model), in November, at Cadwell Park. That dark November morning, snow had fallen overnight. I was expecting the worst, and I arrived at Cadwell with a front grille and bonnet covered in snow. Except it hadnÂt snowed in Linconshire. Needless to say I received a few funny looks from the marshals and other attendees.
IÂll admit I was a little intimidated on my first track day, mainly by the pace of other cars and my lack of track driving experience. The poor Corsa was really out of its depth (quite literally when I went straight on at the esses before The Mountain). One thing I did notice, however, was the BaT rental Caterhams. This is probably because they were going past me so frequently. The following July I managed to cajole my Dad (George) into going halves on a BaT Caterham for an evening session at Donington Park. We arrived to see Jonny castigating some would-be racers for overtaking three abreast on the national stretch. No-numpty policy: check!
Anyway, the bug had well and truly set in by this point and weÂve been booking track days regularly with BaT ever since 2009. We always hire the rental R300s simply because of the stress-free nature of doing so. We love being able to drive a race car with the flexibility of not worrying about mechanical failures, tyres, brakes, fuel and so on. Our highlights to-date are driving Spa-Francorchamps and our favourite circuit, Cadwell Park.
Track days are a great contrast to my day job, where IÂm a Web and Applications Developer at 9xb, a digital agency in Harrogate, North Yorkshire. I often try to make track days into a Âmini-holidayÂ, where family members will join us for the trip. In the rest of my spare time, IÂm completing my Msc by Research in Internet Computing at the University of Hull.
When I heard BaT was building the Superlight R300 race team, BaTsport, I contacted Jonny with the offer of working for the team on race weekends. Jonny agreed, and IÂve since taken up the role of managing their social media with race results, video montages of races, and photographs, alongside trying to help with the race engineering where possible. This has already given me some great experiences, alongside learning about the functions of a race team from an internal perspective.
Track days have given me some great times, on and off the circuit. I love being at race tracks, and remembering some of the great races and drivers that have occupied the same piece of tarmac. We hope to continue them regularly over the coming years.
Bens first track day with BaT back in 2008 in the ultimate track weapon, the Vauxhall Corsa! The first time Ben drove a BaT Cat in 2009 and more recently, Ben and dad (George) enjoying a wet Donington Park in BaT R300 #1.
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24 July 2012
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