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  1. Hi All, It’s 6.30 am Monday 27th June 2022 and I am at work the day after the best few days of my life, I really should be looking at the 400+ e-mails I have just come back to but I just want to briefly write down how I am feeling after this years Goodwood Festival of Speed whilst it is still fresh in my mind, there have been so many amazing memories made over the last 4 days that it is hard to know where to start but here we go, have to say that I have mixed feelings at the moment, even getting a bit emotional as I’m still buzzing from what just happened but am really sad that it is now over, it is going to be a huge come down, I’m such grateful that I have the best day job also to help me get back into the daily groove. So I went to the very first FOS in 1993, 29 years ago, where it was more like a garden party compared to now and I have been to nearly every one since when I can but this year was very different, after a few months of planning and negotiations we got invited to actually drive up the hill twice a day for 3 days in front of 10’000’s of people and the best part of it all is the car we would be doing it in. I am a big Nascar fan, started watching that in the early 1990’s, for me it is the best motorsport on the planet and can be misunderstood in this country but there is no purer form of racing in my view, the skill involved in oval racing is incredible, it is like chess at 200mph as the various strategies play out and the skill to race in a pack on 40+ cars at 200mph cm’s apart is incredible. My Nascar hero was and still is Jeff Gordon, a real legend of the sport, he famously raced No 24 for 22 years, winning the championship 4 times and 93 races from 805 start, it is the reason why I race no24 myself. So to cut to the chase, I was actually going to drive a 2012 Jeff Gordon Nascar up the hill, it is around 900hp and I had only driven it for 10 minutes or so a week before in a quick shakedown at Millbrook Proving Ground, so no pressure then, but never one to turn down an opportunity I just had to go for it, I mean what could possible go wrong. Firstly, I have to thank the UK Nascar Community, these guys are awesome, I’d met a couple beforehand at Carfest last year but at Goodwood I met many more of the gang and what a really lovely bunch of guys, within 10 minutes I felt I had known them for years, so knowledgeable and passionate about the sport but more importantly to me just really fantastic people, without these guys it would be impossible for me to drive a Nascar over here but with their support I knew I was in safe hands, when I left Goodwood last night I really felt like I had made some amazing new friends for life, so thanks again guys, thank you so much for the weekend and helping give me a truly off the scale weekend. Goodwood FOS Thurs - Sun. So here we go then, let’s run through the weekend, it is all a bit of a blur really of early starts, late finishes, very little sleep, a lot of coffee and thank god for adrenaline. I agreed to run the 24 a couple of months before but once I pulled into the car park on the Thursday it all became a bit real, this was really happening, I agreed to meet the guys in the car park where we sorted out all the passes and tickets then headed into Goodwood where the 24 was sitting in the paddock looking stunning, I want to thank Shaun at Road to Race for his support also in getting the car to Goodwood and collecting it after the event, so Thursday was a day of checking the car over, a few systems checks, getting signed on and collecting our access all areas passes and we even got a really cool medal to which would gain us access to the Driver Club where we were fed and watered for 4 days and then we had a wander around waiting for the big day on Friday. Here we go, the first run! Did I sleep Thursday night? Very little if I am honest, I really don’t get nervous but this was like nothing I had done before, it would have been nerve racking enough in a normal car but in a 900hp Nascar Monster it is enough to give anyone nerves, especially as it is a big car and the 2nd part of the run up the hill is very narrow, to make things worse as I sat in the holding area 10 minutes before Dario Franchitti, 3 time Indy 500 winner, said ‘Be careful, I’ve crashed loads of these, they are a handful’ thanks Dario. From the collecting area you drive back down the track to the Start line, here you line up and wait to be called forward where you are told to wait, you watch this one man and once the car in front is far enough up the road ahead he waves you to go, I sat there waiting and all I could think was not to stall it which is really easy in a Nascar as the clutch is like a switch, on or off, but then I was told to go so I gave it loads of revs and we were off with a little wheel spin, the last thing you want at Goodwood is to be the person who gets it wrong so I drove it more like Miss Daisy than anything and although I had practised it a lot on my sim there is nothing like going up the iconic hill for yourself, the funny thing was though that although the hill was lined with 1000’s of people I never saw one of them as I was so focused on not getting it wrong that I may as well have been the only person there, it was all very surreal, so we poodled up, around the flint wall that everyone made me were of and I have never been so happy to see a finish line before but that was run one complete, I’d just done something that very few people had done before, driven a Nascar up the hill at the Goodwood Festival of Speed, the sense of relief was amazing but I was absolutely buzzing. What is it like to drive a Nascar? It is basically like sitting in the middle of a volcano, it is a very brutal environment, incredible noise and power, you can feel the cars anger as you sit in it as it shakes and rumbles side to side, it seems to want to spin its wheels at every opportunity and it really wouldn’t take much for it to bite you but show it some respect and it is an exhilarating experience, it could be further away from my other cars I race which are generally lightweight but low power, but once you have tasted a thoroughbred top tier race car like this it is very addictive and as the runs ticked by I found myself just wanting to get back in asap for another go. We had 6 runs through the weekend but that was my run done for the Friday as I had been introduced to YouTuber PetrolPed, again a really nice guy, and we were going to split the runs, 4 for me, 2 for him, so that he could do a film for his Channel about the experience of running a Nascar up the hill, really can’t wait to see this. Next it was Saturday, this was going to be a full on day, as I had 2 runs then it was the Driver Ball at Goodwood House, the 2 runs went really well again, each time I was getting more confident with the 24 as I pushed it a little bit harder each time, that could be dangerous but I really wanted to get a feel what she could do. Our last run finished around 6.30pm and the ball started at 7pm, luckily the drivers had showers so it was chaos as everyone tried to get ready, have to say it is very surreal seeing loads of your heroes in the their undies getting dressed ready for a night out. The Goodwood Drivers Ball. Just when you think things can’t get any better Wendy and myself found ourselves at the Driver Ball, I was looking forward to this just a much as the driving to be honest. So we arrived at Goodwood house around 7pm, where all the Bentley’s and Supercars are pulling up with all the rich and famous, then walk in for a champagne reception in the Goodwood Gardens, again surreal surrounded by loads of your motorsport hero’s, now I feel that you really shouldn’t approach these drivers in this sort of environment, just didn’t seem the right thing to do but another of my real heroes is Mika Hakkinen, I used to follow him all round Europe attending Grand Prix to cheer him on so when I saw him I just had to go and say hello and get a picture with him, he was as lovely as he seems to happily stood there to have picture taken, what a great start to the evening. After the reception we are asked to take our table, we were sitting with 6 others, mainly from a Biking motorsport side of things but had some great chats, food was served which was incredible, basically smoked Salmon to start with, Beef for main and what was probably the best chocolate desert I had ever had to finish things off, all washed down with as much red and white wine as we wanted, as I was driving the next morning early I actually drunk more water than anything, what a shame. Next we were asked to go outside for the entertainment to start and what a show that was, fireworks like I’d never seen before, amazing singers, pyrotechnics, drone planes firing rockets, a jet man landing on the stage followed by more singing and fireworks, all you could do was watch in awe at the spectacle, I’d certainly never seen anything like this before and what blew my mind was that all this was for just around 1500 of us, Lord March really knows how to throw a party. After this was finished we were then asked to go back inside to the concert area for the live band, this is kept very secret and there have been many big bands over the years apparently, I knew that Lord March loves his rock music, as do I, so was looking forward to this, who could it be? Well it certainly didn’t disappoint as it turned out to be one of my favourite bands who I have been to see many times before over the years, The Darkness, and what a show they put on, pure rock’n’roll, Justin the lead singer was really on it, again it was like I had been imported into some alternative motorsport universe as I’m down the front row enjoying The Darkness then I turn round and Mr LeMans, 9 times winner Tom Kristensen is jumping up and down behind me standing next to Lord March who was really loving it, I look a couple of people over and there is Jenson Button rocking out along with his Radford partner Ant Anstead, in the end everywhere you looked there were famous drivers and boy do they know how to enjoy themselves, I guess if you are willing to risk your life racing cars at crazy speeds then you really are going to enjoy life at every opportunity. The Darkness finished around midnight then a DJ set started to finish things off, it was such an amazing night but I was keen to get to bed as I was going back up the hill in the 24 around 9am, so 3 hours sleep later I was back in the paddock and getting ready for my final run, who knew having so much fun would be this exhausting, although I am sure I won’t get any sympathy. The Final Run! Here we go then, my 4th and final run up the hill in Jeff Gordon’s 2012 Nascar, so I lined up behind world rally champion Stig Blomqvist, unbelievable I know, the Stig fired off up the hill and I was ushered forward, when I got to the line for the first time I looked up and as I did that I saw hundreds of people hold their phones up to film me pulling away, really wish I hadn’t done that as straight away the nerves set in, all I could think was don’t stall it now, I was given the go signal and I gave it loads of revs and we were off, I was determined to make this run my fastest attempt but at the 2nd corner I tried a bit too hard, touched the grass and got a little loose, at that point I decided to not be a hero and just get to the finish line which I did and that was that, I had completed my 4 runs up the hill with the car still in one piece, result. Next PetrolPed had one more run at the end of the day which he did successfully and that was that, the 4 best days of my life complete, huge smiles all round. I’ve been racing for 5 years now and this was the first time I actually felt like a Race Car Driver, to be in the inner circle at Goodwood is like nothing else I have experienced and being in the drivers club, this is basically where all the drivers hang out away from the crowds, when in your race overall then all the drivers are happy to talk to you, I’ve just jotted down some of the people I spoke to below, talk about a Who’s Who of motorsport. Jacky Ickx Stig Blomqvist Dario Franchitti Nigel Mansell Mika Hakkinen Damon Hill John Watson Karl Wendlinger Tom Kristensen Jenson Button Travis Pastrana Jackie Stewart I even got asked twice for my autograph, I explained that I was no one but as I had driven Jeff Gordon’s car they still wanted me to sign pictures of Jeff, hilarious really but great fun. So to coin a phrase, ‘if Carling did dream weekends’ then I have just lived mine, I really couldn’t have had more fun if I tried, I’m hopeful I’ll get invited back one day to do it all again but if not I’ll be fine with that as I now have the memories of a truly incredible weekend. Finally I’d like to thank everyone at Goodwood for the invite and the hospitality, it really is an incredible event like nothing else in the world and to be a very small part of it has been such an honour and privilege so thanks again Goodwood and the UK Nascar Community for making this Petrolheads dreams come true, a weekend I will cherish forever and will never forget. Regards, Paul. Please find some random pictures below - Damon Hill Nigel Mansell and some stalker! Wendy as a passenger with PetrolPed. Thanks for the Memories
    6 points
  2. Hi All, So the Brands Hatch Indy layout is one of the races I really look forward to every year as it really suits my driving style as to me it is just one big go kart track and although it is really technical with every corner seemingly having multiple ways through it I always seem to go well there. Thankfully that continued with our first trip there in the Elise where we had our best race weekend of the year, which was strange as my normal team where off racing elsewhere so I had Hangar 111 looking after me + I had a team mate for the first time this year which was great as you can compare times and notes, so thanks to Hangar 111 for doing a stellar job 👌 Unbelievably I have never had a lap time disqualified before but unfortunately my best lap in Qualifying was deleted for exceeding track limits so I ended up starting 4 places back on the grid to where I had hoped to start but that made the race more fun I guess. When it came to the race, we just avoided a big crash at turn 1 which I had to stop to miss so that dropped us right to the back pretty much so I got my head down and lap by lap caught the pack back up, now this was a 45 minute race with a mandatory pitstop so once I caught the pack I pitted early to try the undercut which worked a treat as I made 2 places, made me smile as I exited the pits and I said to myself, right now it is Hammer Time, below are my first 3 laps after the pitstop - Then half way through the race there was another big accident but I was 2nd in my class with 3 other forced induction cars behind me, who to be fair have been quicker than me all year so it ended up with a 10 minute race to the finish, as I am fighting these guys in the championship I was determined to hold my 2nd place so basically I just looked forward and ignored my mirrors and at the end we held of the assault from behind to finish 2nd in class which I was really pleased with. So we have one more race weekend left at Donington on the 30th October and if we have a good weekend we could finish 2nd in class and third overall but just checked the weather and it looks like it may be wet which will be a real shame as I’m much happier in the dry but let’s see how things pan out. Certainly going to be a fun end to what has been a really enjoyable first season racing the Elise, please find highlights from Brands below + a few pics - Cheers, Paul. Video Highlights
    2 points
  3. Hi Everyone, So it has been a good couple of years since we've held an open day for obvious reasons but last Saturday we jumped back on the saddle with a behind closed doors event which proved a lot of fun. Thanks to Covid I really got back into my sim racing, especially iRacing, and being that I raced a Radical in the real world at the time I naturally gravitated to racing the Radical SR8 in the simulator and then discovered league racing with the UK&I Radical Race Series where we all meet up every Thursday night for a weekly league race online, the main advantage of league racing is that you race the same people every week so there is a mutual respect there and the quality of racing is much higher and enjoyable. The funny thing is that we speak all the time on Discord and race every week but most of us have never met so with the iLounge Racing Showroom now ready for action it seemed like the perfect opportunity to arrange a get together which we did last Saturday and I have to say I was thrilled that pretty much everyone came along, travelling from all over the country and we all got along as if it was a old school reunion where we had known each other for years, obviously helped by our common love for sim racing but I must say everyone was so nice, such a great bunch of people. So we spent the day enjoying the Sims and HiFi, fired up the BBQ where Ady was top chef, then the real fun part was to take us bunch of Virtual Racers to Rye House Go Kart track to race for real, again I was so pleased that we managed to get a full grid of 24 Karts together for this and just like on iRacing there was great respectful racing throughout the whole field, not one to blow my own trumpet but I was over the moon to get pole and win the race in such a competitive field or racers but I am the first to admit that I had home advantage as I do race at Rye a fair bit so it was a little unfair. Then after the racing a bunch of us went out for a curry to talk sim racing some more, it really was the perfect day. Look forward to doing it all again next year. If anyone would like to join the RRS league please find a link to the website below, you'll be very welcome and will experience some of the nicest people in Sim racing and will have some excellent racing too - Also this week's race at Monza is well worth watching, one of the most fun races races I have ever raced on iRacing. Cheers, Paul.
    1 point
  4. Hi Everyone, So here we go again with another season or racing, for the last 4 years I have raced in mostly 20 minute sprint races with the odd longer 45 minute race in both the Radical SR1 Cup and Lotus Elise Trophy and it has always been the longer races I have enjoyed the most and have been the most competitive at so for this year we thought we'd try something different, endurance racing in the Elise in the 750 Motor Club 'Club Enduro' championship, which it turn out is the biggest grid in UK motorsport, for our first race at Donington we had 58 cars on track which certainly kept me busy for the 2 hour+ race. So there are 3 classes we could enter depending on the power to weight, we decided to unleash all of the Elise's power to be bang on the 300bhp per tonne limit to be in the top class A group, I was going to share the drive with my driver coach Tom and we really thought that we could be competitive and maybe fight for the title, how wrong we were. We arrived at Donington for Friday practice but we suffered brake issues all morning but once we sorted them we soon realised that the Touring Car type cars, TCR's for short, are much faster than us even though we all run to the 300bhp per tonne limit, they are basically specially built race cars where our Elise is a road car we turned into a race car. Anyway come race day I did my mandatory 3 laps for qualifying then Tom went out to see what could be achieved, he is basically one of the quickest guys around and he could only manage 14th on the grid, it was decided I would start the race and Tom would jump in at the fuel stop. I must admit I was a little nervous at the start as I starting higher up than my natural speed would normally put me being Tom qualified and at the start I got eaten alive by all the quicker guys but in the end I fell back to where my pace was competitive and settled into the race, after an hour or so I was summoned into the pits for a fuel stop and driver change, I jumped out the car and refueling started and whilst out the car I decided that I'd like to do the whole race which Tom was happy with as I need the practice and he doesn't and at the end of the day we weren't competitive so I may as well get more seat time, so in the end I did the full 2 hours and 5 minutes which I must say was brilliant fun, towards the end though I could see I was getting low on fuel and as I was going through the Craners with a couple of minutes left when the car spluttered and I thought, bugger, I'm not going to finish the race so I decided I would limp home to the pits but as I came round the last corner the chequered flag was out so I just made it across the line to finish, talk about relieved. In the end we finished 25th out of 58, there were quite a few Elise's entered and we finished as the top Elise so I guess that's something to take away from the weekend, but it certainly wasn't the weekend we were hoping for, at the end of the day though I loved being in the car for 2 hours+. What to do for the rest of the season? well there are 6 rounds left, I have decided to do the next one at Croft in 2 weeks as never raced there then we are off to Spa in July so will do that as that is a huge tick on the bucket list then I will decide what to do from there, I have an historic racing itch I'd like to scratch but more on that later. Please find sme pics below, they are quite funny as they make you realise just how small the Elise is. Cheers, Paul.
    1 point
  5. Hi Everyone, So this is a little different, to celebrate 10 years of association together Naim and Focal have created a very limited edition system in a Tin / Aluminium look which traditionally celebrates a 10 year anniversary. I must admit I wasn't sure on the look when I first saw it but it has really grown on me, particularly like the look of the speakers. The system consists of the below components making a very nice setup indeed so if you fancy something a little different which will be very limited and is going to sound great and ready to go as a complete solution, plus save a few quid compared to if buying it all separately, then please feel free to get in touch to discuss more - Focal Sopra No2 Speakers in a Light Concrete / Tin finish Naim Nac 282 with NAPSC (Tin Special Finish) Naim HiCap DR Power Supply (Tin Special Finish) Naim NDX 2 Streamer (Tin Special Finish) Naim NAP 250 DR Power Amplifier (Tin Special Finish) Naim Super Lumina Speaker Cable (3m Pair) Price as Seperates - £31,695 Anniversary Bundle Price - £28,000 Launch Video Cheers, Paul.
    1 point
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