Branching out

2022 116 Trophy.
Round 6, Brands Hatch Indy.

I was invited to race at Brands Hatch in the 116 Trophy cars at the end of August. It’s a 90 minute endurance race and my team mate would be long time friend Lewis Tindall.

Lewis and I raced karts both against each other and together as team mates from 2001 and this would first time we would race cars together. Brands Hatch was the sunny venue and it was brilliant to see so many faces from those karting days come along to help and support us.

Friday testing went well; I spent most of my track time getting to grips with the car. It is surprisingly different to an MX-5, but once I’d got my head round a few idiosyncrasies I was pleased to be close to Lewis’ pace.

We left it late to set a good time in qualifying. Lewis put us in the mix at the end of his stint and then I only got a decent lap in at the end, but it was good enough for second fastest. I pretty pleased to be on the front row, but we went faster in testing!

Lewis drove the first stint. It was close racing – standard for a one make class. We were always in the top two and Lewis pulled some great moves in the early part.

There is a rule in 116 Trophy stating that teams cannot pit under safety car. About 20 minutes into the race an incident happened and while others dived into the pits, we were already past the pit entry. Shortly afterwards, the safety car was deployed and we were stuck as our competitors gained almost a free pit stop over us.

Lewis continued to lead and had pulled a gap when we had our driver change half way through the race. I got out onto circuit and was confused to be told over the radio I was in 12th!

All I could do was get my head down, try to set consistent fast laps and be efficient in traffic. With 28 cars starting the race there was plenty of traffic to be efficient with, which was good fun.

We were running eighth when there was another safety car period near the end of the race. It was handy this time, as it closed us up to a few cars in front and in the remaining few minutes I was able to get up to fifth place.

Many thanks to Lewis, Danielle and everyone else involved with Hollywood Racing. It was a really fun weekend and was great to finally race with Lewis, although we should’ve had a podium at the very least! Next time…

You can follow both Lewis and Hollywood Racing on their respective Instagram pages:

Lewis Tindall
Hollywood Racing

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