Race Report – Silverstone 10th May

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Image copyright Ian Lockley, used with kind permission.

Karen and Richard were a little unsure of how Karen's car would perform compared to others in the CSCC Modern Classics series on the Silverstone National circuit. Silverstone is a bit of a power circuit made up of three straights(ish). It was expected that cars such as the BMW M3, Porsche 911s and Boxsters would romp away due to decent power and higher top speeds. More importantly, how would it compare to Richard Hayes' Celica GT4 which is rapid in a straight line?

Conditions were dry for qualifying and Karen was first out. It was clear to Richard from the pit wall that something was definitely wrong when Karen passed by on her second flying lap. The car didn't sound right and it was visibly slower than the previous lap. After a couple more laps Karen came into the pits. Richard checked under the bonnet and couldn't find anything amiss. After sending Karen back out for another few laps there was no improvement...

They swapped places and Richard drove out onto the circuit. It was immediately apparent that the car was totally flat and there was no reading on the boost gauge. Richard drove carefully around the circuit and straight back into the pit lane. There was no point continuing in this manner. Enough laps had been done to qualify for the race, but as expected the grid position was extremely low. They were 31st out of 32 runners. Virtually last!

Meanwhile the Celica GT4 had qualified in 18th position, this meant he was in a much better position to take class honours.

Image copyright Ian Lockley, used with kind permission.

Karen, Richard and Neville Anderson set about trying to resolve the lack of boost. If they didn't manage to fix it there was little point in Karen and Richard starting the race. Neville was the most successful driver in the series the previous year and it was fantastic to have his help and support. Between them they solved a boost solenoid issue, a loose boost hose and a loose vacuum hose from the turbo. With that done, the car was taken for a short test drive and it worked perfectly. The race was on!

Richard took the start and made steady progress through the field. Towards the end of his stint he could see the Celica GT4 a short distance ahead. The pit stop went well and Karen drove out onto the circuit full bore doing her very best to try and gain pace on the Celica. Unfortunately it was too high a mountain to climb and at the end of the race the pair finished in 20th position. A very creditable finish considering where they started but not enough to beat Richard Hayes who's Celica GT4 finished in 16th position, a mere 22 seconds ahead.

It was the following day when Karen and Richard discovered that Richard Hayes had been given a drive-through penalty for a pit stop infringement. It turns out he never undertook the penalty and was given two penalty points on his race license. Yet for some reason the race result had not been amended with any time or position penalty. Having spoken to club officials it was too late to change the result but plans are in place to prevent such things happening in future.

The AIM SOLO GPS successfully recorded all the race details and below are combined traces showing  Karen's and Richard's best laps. (Karen's in red, Richard's in green).

As can be seen, the traces are very close with only minor differences. It shows the maximum speed attained was 121mph. Plans are to being drawn up to try and improve this. It will very interesting to see if the traces are so close after the next race that Karen and Richard plan to compete in at Rockingham, which is a much more technical circuit.

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About Karen Phillips

  • Karen races her Impreza WRX in the Classic and Sports Car Club (CSCC) Modern Classics series, with her husband Richard as a 2nd Driver. The races are mini-endurance events involving a driver-swap. Karen has previously raced in the Nippon Challenge, a race series for Japanese and Asian cars. Karen has been racing since 2006, having started in the MR2 Challenge.
  • Please check this site regularly for updates on Karen's progress through the season and developments with her race car.

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