Oulton Park Testing - Focus Cup
10th December was a day i was looking forward too, as i was out testing at my nearest circuit to home for a test day in the Ford Focus at Oulton Park. This circuit has to be one of the most difficult and technical circuits on the calendar.
A typical cold, windy and wet morning which only got worse throughout the day turning to torrential rain, but any testing is good testing in the UK as we seem to race more in the wet than the dry. First we needed to do a seat fitting as it was a different car than what i had driven at Silverstone in November. Short leg syndrome i think i have!
First session - The track was very greasy and i struggled with the car at first until i found the right bits of tarmac to put the car on, switching direction through the chicanes the car felt unbalanced and i was struggling for grip at the rear but it didn't matter what we seemed to do, conditions were still very tricky and i felt like i was driving on ice.
Session 2 -It started raining and i started to make progress with learning the track in these conditions and trying different lines enabling me to make progress on lap times so i just stayed out for the whole session just learning and improving in myself as there was more in me to come before changing setup on the car.
Session 3 - The rain continued to come and we used the session to start making setup changes to try and balance the car more so i could push harder through the corners and to make the car more stable on the brakes. We ran a few laps with each suspension change before coming in to the pits each time to make another change. I think they new when i was happy as i forgot to come in and was out for 30mins enjoying the wet conditions and passing almost everything else on circuit but i needed to come back in for fuel!
Session 4 - Back out after the lunch break and i thought we may start to get a drier session. We left the setup and the car was much better in the greasy conditions but still needed nursing through the chicanes . The rain then started to come down heavy and i was feeling really comfortable again in the car and i could put the car were i wanted it and put in some very good lap times for wet conditions. We tried one more setup change but soon went back to were we had it previously. Think we had found the optimal setup we needed.
Session 5 - We are now in torrential rain and struggling to even see where the next corner is and a few times i out braked myself as i literally was guessing where the apex was. Forget the rain light on the car in front , you just couldn't see it, still didn't stop me though, i wasn't for coming in and enjoyed pushing hard for the rest of the session before coming in again 30 mins later. You cant beat just going round and round learning as much as you can about every bit of usable or not usable tarmac.
Even though it was wet all day it was a good days testing and if it is wet then i am confident but we need to get back here on a dry day to do the same again and get a balanced car for racing
A big thank you to all our partners this year, Pemberton Tyres,, Fueltone, Bloc Eyewear, King Dick Tools, Opie Oils, Amt Autos, Individual Auto Design, Bespoke Extreme and BrandDrivers. If you would like to get involved and add to our list of partners please get in touch.