Rockingham 3 Hour Race Review

With 30 minutes to the start of the race, we were being called to Assembly. As #MissFire and Lowe left the pit garage, the GoPros were started. Although knowing the battery would expire at some point, we wanted to get some footage of the rolling start. It’s been subsequently been noted that as per Regulation 14.1.1, power can be taken from the cigarette lighter socket with a multi way adaptor for the lap timer too. Time for some thought and also maybe a helmet mounted system for each driver?
Lowe At Tarzan
Lowe At Tarzan

All cars were allowed onto the circuit for two green flag laps behind the safety car. Then, as the safety car peeled off into the pits, eager eyes were on Lowe as the red gantry lights went out. No, there was not a raw of thunder or change in speed, but a continued buzz of a 68BHP engine as they passed the start line. The race was on!

Cracking work by Lowe from the off. Within the first lap he was in 6th, in clean air between a small gaggle in front to chase and a rather larger gaggle chasing him. With some 10 minutes into the race, Lowe was secure in position P5 and all was looking good!

Transponder Problem

It was noted at qualification that there was a problem with the transponder for the car. The transponder was working for timing, but not recording sector times. Then around 20 minutes into the race, we seemed to plummet to position P28. However, there were other cars with a similar problem. Seemed quite strange as at 23 minutes into the race, we were back to P7.

Back To The Team Name

Throughout the commentary, it was clear that the commentators were struggling with the #BastardGate team name. That said, they make an interesting comment that the name was allowed on the race entry. You can hear through the live YouTube race coverage, they continue to struggle. Here’s that they say at 30m16s into the race:

Commentator 1: “Plenty of cars still going side by side. I have just seen the car 400, actually um, well running side by side with a, ah…”

Commentator 2: “Was it the 332 by any chance?”

Commentator 1: “I believe so and…”

Commentator 2: “So, that’s TCS Motorsport against ah, Inglorious 332 as we are going to call them.”

Commentator 1: “Oh, yes, yes, yeah.”

Commentator 2: “Yeah. So we, we….”

Commentator 1: “I tell you what, Inglorious went very, very defensive into the Deene curve as well. I am not quite used to a, to seeing cars like a, cars enduring, eerh, cars defending like that in, in an endurance race. But yeah, it was entertaining.”

It is nice however to here the commentators calling it an “inspired name” and part of some “great team names”. Later in the commentary referencing us as the “Inglorious 332”.

The Inglorious Bastards
The Inglorious Bastards

First Pit For Driver Change

Cox Is Looking Pensive
The first driver change from Lowe to Cox was around 0h54h00s. Time was 1m20s due to an issue in a twisted harness strap. When Cox joined back to the circuit, the team had dropped from P7 to P18.

Second Pit For Driver Change And Fuel

Cox had only been out for some 30 minutes. The safety car was deployed due to a stranded car on the entry to Gracelands. His wisdom was to pit and allow the second of the mandatory three driver changes and refuel. An excellent decision and a quicker driver change. So Lowe is back in the seat for his second stint.

Third And Final Pit For Driver Change

Lowe pulls into the pit for the last time at 2h14m55s holding a respectable P8. Although out of camera shot on the live coverage, the driver change must have been completed in less than a minute as the car is not visible at 2h15m50s. Mark Cox will now take #MissFire for the final 45 minutes until race end, but has dropped to P11 at 2h16m15s. This is where it starts to get exciting as both commentators from 2h29h00s are getting quite vocal about a battle between cars #381 ‘Gala Performance’ and #400 ‘TCS Motorsport’ in positions P7 and P8. Cox in #332 ‘Inglorious Bastards’ are in P9. The commentators making the observation that Cox is 29 seconds behind P8.
Lowe Feeling Pleased

Final Stages

With 20 minutes of the race left, the ‘Inglorious Bastards’ are now P8, behind #420 ‘Caterham Racers’ in P7, #351 ‘GMP Developments’ in P6 and #381 ‘Gala Performance’ in P5. There are a lot of pit lane and on track position changes in the closing half hour, Cox holding P8 for the duration.

Then, as the rain starts to fall with 10 minutes to finish, there is a change. The ‘Inglorious Bastards’ are still P8, but the next three change positions. Car #381 ‘Gala Performance’ is now P7, #420 ‘Caterham Racers’ in P6 and #351 ‘GMP Developments’ in P5.

Lowe Checks Position After Last Stint

This position does not change until the final minute, with Cox less than a second behind P7. Within the last half hour of the race, #MissFire and Cox have progressed from P9 to P8 and now just one second behind P7. Then, as the race timer reaches zero we can hear the commentator:

"And the 332 has passed the 381, so that is for 7th position. Inglorious, you know, 332 has passed the Gala Performance With Amigo Motorsport going onto the final lap."

In Closing

A superb effort from Mark Cox and Mat Lowe and of course the support team of SPY Motorsport. Next race? Saturday 9th June 2018 in Pembrey, which sees Lowe and Cox joined by Humphrey Bucknell for a 5 hour race.
Mark Cox and Matthew Lowe

"Our first race in the C1 was step into the unknown – I’d never driven a front wheel drive car on track before the test day, let alone raced one, so a steep learning curve ensued… I quickly found out what fun these little cars are to drive and to race. The phrase steering on the throttle has never been more apt. A slight lift or jab on the accelerator will dramatically alter your line through a corner and there’s a lot more grip that you might first imagine looking at those skinny little tyres."

"Our first race was a success and certainly provides a foundation on which we can build. Our pace improved steadily throughout the race and we both (Matt and I) learned a great deal about how to get the most from the car. There is still some considerable way to go to match the very best teams lap times, but with more time in the car and as we regain our race craft I’m hoping we’ll break in to the top 5. Having said that we were happy with our 7th place this time out – and more importantly, we had a great deal of fun."