Donington Park GP, Rd.4

Donington Park GP, Rd.4

QUALIFYING:

James: “It was a mixed session really, the car felt good and I thought I could have gotten a bit more out of it on my fastest lap, but the tyres just started to drop away on the front. Plus there was a yellow flag out in the last sector for the final few laps, so I kept improving my time in sector one and then slowing for that. I didn’t want to risk a better time under yellows…”

RACE 1:

James: “Fair play to Nathan, he drove a great race, but I was half on the attack at him and half on the defence with Dan because he was really close. I think my front tyres suffered in the middle of the race, but then they came back to me towards the end and I was gearing up for one final attack but my gearbox missed a change out of the hairpin and that was just enough to give him the final gap. Still, it’s another podium and really good points.”

RACE 2:

James: “It’s been a decent weekend, but I wanted that last podium. I had a rubbish start and then had a massive tank-slapper up towards McLeans at one point. It’s a shame to lose the points lead, but there’s still a lot of the season left to go…

Driver Standings: https://www.minichallenge.co.uk/mc-driver-standings/

Images & Videos by kind courtesy of Mini Challenge

Next MINI CHALLENGE UK meeting: 20/21 July – Brands Hatch Indy

Silverstone, Rd.3

Silverstone, Rd.3

QUALIFYING:
Mini Challenge JCW Championship leader James took pole position for Race 1 at Silverstone, by a margin of 0.086s, thereby securing an extra 6 points towards his championship challenge.

James: I was quite surprised at pole actually. Before Snetterton we had loads of testing in the same conditions as qualifying, so I wasn’t surprised at the pace I had there, but this was the complete opposite. Combined with the fact I’ve never driven this configuration of Silverstone, I’m pretty made up to be fastest. It wasn’t an easy session. The data shows that I had to overtake another car on my fastest lap, which cost me about quarter of a second, so there’s some more time on the table. But tomorrow is a whole new challenge because this isn’t one of those tracks where you can just drive off into the distance because the slipstream here is so strong. I have no idea what will happen tomorrow.”

RACE 1
James: “I just didn’t quite have the edge in that one. I was being a bit of a wimp on the brakes and in the high-speed stuff and that allowed both Jac and Ben on to me, and it’s so hard to shake off cars around here in the tow. But I’ll take third because it’s solid points for the championship.”

RACE 2
Following a decent start to the race, James became embroiled in  a collision through Village corner. He continued to hold second, but later ground to a halt with a broken driveshaft.

James: “I’ve got no idea if the driveshaft went because of the contact, or if it just went. It’s a gutting way to end the weekend and doesn’t exactly do me any favours in the championship.

Driver Standings: https://www.minichallenge.co.uk/mc-driver-standings/

Images & Videos by kind courtesy of Mini Challenge

Next MINI CHALLENGE UK meeting: 22/23 June – Donington Park GP

Azanti’s growing popularity

Azanti’s growing popularity

With both teetotallers on the rise and Azanti leading the way among Halal businesses towards a “Sober Lifestyle”, its recent sponsorship of former British GT Champion James Gornall’s team in this year’s Mini Challenge JCW only seems natural.

Former British GT Champion James Gornall: “To be partnering with Azanti is great for me, because I can really push an alternative to drinking alcohol”

 

Snetterton 300, Rd.2

Snetterton 300, Rd.2

QUALIFYING
Pole at Snetterton: Mini Challenge JCW Championship leader James took pole position for Race 1 at Snetterton, by an impressive margin of 0.583s, thereby securing an extra 6 points for the achievement.

“That’s a great result,” said James. “I felt I had a better lap but got held up in traffic, but the time I had done was good. But then I saw that Lewis was only 0.2s behind me and just thought ‘Man, I need a bigger gap, this isn’t comfortable. Qualifying is one thing, but the races tomorrow are quite another. I’m starting in the position I want to be in, but we’ll see how it goes when we’re all racing in a pack toward turn one tomorrow.”

RACE 1
James looked very relaxed on the grid for the first race, despite a wasp invading his office! At the lights he got away rapidly from pole and immediately opened up a lead over his rivals. From then on things looked fairly straightforward. The gap steadily increased throughout the race itself, culminating with James taking the chequred flag 8.792s ahead and securing the fastest lap of 2.03.331s.

James: “That was a great race, I enjoyed it a lot. The start was pretty tight and I could see that I wasn’t getting much of a gap over Lewis, so I just concentrated on keeping things consistent and precise, trying to put in identical lap times, as I could see the train forming behind him and if I kept the pace up he couldn’t get past. It’s been a great start to the year so far, but race two will be a very different situation, starting in the middle of the pack on the reversed grid. Good thing there’s plenty of places to overtake here. I might have to shut my eyes and hope for the best heading into turn one though…

RACE 2
‘The Fast and the Furious’ film title could easily be the apt description for race two! Starting in P10 – top ten reverse grid from race one – was obviously going to prove more of a challenge for James. Pole sitter Newsham dropped out before the race even began with what looked like a mechanical problem, effectively moving James up to P9. Once the race got underway things were very tight with close battles being fought throughout. James moved up several places, back a few after losing a bit of momentum through no fault of his own, before once again moving forward behind Davidson and Harrison. Rain began to fall and the first three places remained the same right to the end of the shortened race. Once again – considering the congestion – James did extremely well to secure the fastest lap with a time of 2.06.563s.

It’s another podium so we’re keeping the run going, plus I got a handy haul of points for pole and fastest laps this weekend,” said James. “My car took a bit of a beating in that one, but it was a mix of aggression and the conditions.”

Driver Standings: https://www.minichallenge.co.uk/mc-driver-standings/

Images & Videos by kind courtesy of Mini Challenge

Next MINI CHALLENGE UK meeting: 8/9 June – Silverstone GP

Snetterton 300

Snetterton 300

Pre-Snetterton thoughts:

Oulton Park showed me who I’m going to be up against this year for the championship, after all I’m here to try and win it, and I reckon it’s going to be a tough fight,” he says. “In every championship – even the British Touring Car Championship – when you really break it down there are only ever five or six drivers in the frame for the title. And I reckon that’s exactly the situation in JCWs this year. We may have a fair few winners over the year, but I reckon there’s a handful of drivers who will be up there come the end of the season.”

Oulton was a great weekend for me. Contrary to what people think we didn’t do a load of pre-season testing, just a single day in the damp. What we did do is go through the car to identify all of the little bits that needed doing to make it a race winner. We found the dampers needed quite a lot of work and then it was just small tweaks here and there. It’s also helped that I now feel much more comfortable with front-wheel drive, because it is different when you’ve only raced rear-wheel-drive cars. Things like getting the car to turn in during braking zones to ensure you can brake later. It all just takes a little time to figure out.

I’m a fan of the Snetterton 300 track,” Gornall adds. “I’ve done well there racing in other categories and I like the fact it has a mixture of slow, technical and fast corners. It really makes you concentrate. People say you lose the most in the high-speed stuff there, but it’s the slower, technical bits where the time is really lost. You really have to be on it, hustling the car around and making sure you get the best exits possible onto the two long straights. It’s a great challenge.

New Partner: Azanti

New Partner: Azanti

James: “I am very pleased to welcome our latest partner Azanti to JIG Racing. Azanti’s philosophy and their premium non-alcoholic beverages fit perfectly with motorsport. You should never drink alcohol when driving, be it on the road or on the race track, and Azanti’s range of non-alcoholic beverages let you enjoy yourself knowing that you are safe to drive. They are also some of the coolest looking and tasting drinks you will ever have!”

Website: https://www.azanti.co.uk