2023 MSV Miata Trophy
Rounds 1 & 2 – Brands Hatch Grand Prix circuit
2023 sees a slight change of scene for us. Although we are continuing to race Mazda MX-5s, we’re moving over to a new champions called Miata Trophy, run by Motorsport Vision. The season is made up of six race weekends, across some of the best circuits in the country. They are one day meetings and consist of Qualifying, SuperPole and two races. Points are scored in qualifying and the races, while SuperPole is a one lap shoot out for the top five in qualifying, to set the grid for race one. The race two grid is based on the result of race one.
The main change for us it the switch to the Toyo R888R tyre. It’s designed to be used in wet and dry, but is very different to the Avon used in SuperCup, in terms of handling, feel and performance. It’ll take a little while to work it out, but everyone is in the same boat.
The first race of this new adventure is on the legendary Brands Hatch Grand Prix circuit. I raced here once back in 2015, but haven’t driven the full circuit since, so I was learning as I went along in qualifying. It was a busy session as over 30 cars had entered this first meeting, but I kept working at it and finished up 5th quickest, so made it through into SuperPole.
My SuperPole lap was a bit conservative, but while I was slower than my fastest lap from qualifying, I gained a position for the race 1 grid, where I’d line up forth.
I made a good start and took an aggressive approach on the outside, but got boxed in as we went up the hill and I fell down to fifth. Followed the front guys was pretty useful and I changed my driving in a few corners which helped. After slipping back into forth there was a bit of a gap to the front, so I started chipping away and was able to catch Michael Knibbs. We enjoyed a great battle, but touched going into the fast Hawthorn corner. Knibbs went off, so I decided to wait and let him back past. We had a good gap behind and I am keen for this championship to start on the right foot. With that all sorted out we continued and he went on to run wide at the next corner, so I overtook for good! It was still close afterwards but I held on for a podium. Great start!
For race two I started third, but dropped down to forth as Knibbs had a flier. Happily keeping in the front pack, the race was settling down until the safety car came out. I had a good restart and pressurised Declan Lee, before launching a big move into Surtees to go third. Another close battle with Knibbs followed, but I couldn’t quite take him this time. I felt quick in this race, and my fastest lap was just a fraction off the quickest. Had I got into second I would’ve enjoying a crack at Aiden Hills, who is dominating the start to the year in SuperCup. Maybe I will get another chance later in the year.
So, we headed home with two third places. A great start to the year and the championship as a whole. It was a fun meeting and I was happy to do well on basically a new circuit. Looks like it will be an exciting season.
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