Lotus F1 Team Filming Day At Brands Hatch

Today we all got involved at our home circuit Brands Hatch at the Lotus F1 team  filming day. The track was open to the general public, Ben is still here till Friday when he flies to Barcelona so it was a family affair, we took both our girls with us too!

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Brands Hatch to me is the home of the British Grand Prix so to have some bona fide F1 cars driving around it again was something I was not prepared to miss out on. It’s also a 10 minute drive from where we lived until 18 months ago and during the 7 years I spent in the Wrotham area it was pretty regular that weekends were spent at Brands. Since moving further out and having the baby I’ve hardly been, so it was a great excuse to all go for the day together for one of the final times till the European season is over in September.

We’d planned to meet up with a few people, our friend Mark who lives close by and Simon the editor in chief of ThePitCrewOnline and Nigel who we’ve met through twitter, great to have people to converse with inbetween car outings and great to meet up with likeminded people and maybe see a few faces recognisable from Twitter, and so onto the day…

We set up camp on the grassy bank opposite the pit garages so we could see the nose of the Lotus E23 sticking out of the garage waiting patiently to blast round the Indy circuit as the team and film crew worked together to set up the shots they needed. Then with the loud sound of the starter probe the car was fired up and a lap or two was completed with a custom made Mercedes ML500 AMG fitted with a roof top boom camera did its best to keep up and get those dynamic shots we come to expect from modern film making.  Although Romain Grosjean was driving the E23 was crawling round, playing with the ML like a lion with a mouse. It was a great demonstration of the power, speed and acceleration an F1 car is capable of. On normal roads a ML AMG would have the ability to disappear from view in seconds but against the E23 its speed was just enough to get the F1 car out of 2nd gear! Having completed several runs like that the car then went out with a fixed camera fitted to the top of the air box. This gave Romain a chance to drive a little faster but the E23 was not going flat out.

Lunch time called for the pit lane walkabout and the team laid out the E23 and a 1970’s Lotus 72 side by side for a photo opportunity with the complete Lotus F1 driver line up along side.

After lunch we were lucky enough to see the circuit from a different view as we were kindly invited to have a coffee in one of the hospitality suites. (To be covered in another post). Romain took a Lotus Europa round the circuit giving people a hot lap and then came a very special moment. The Lotus 72 was fired up and driven round. It was in 1986 that Brands Hatch last held a championship F1 race and seeing a car from that era driving around evoked the imagination and made me and many others wish we were there 40 years earlier watching a complete field of cars like that. A little later on both the E23 and the 72 went around together. This was another special moment and probably the only time i will see 2 different generations of Lotus F1 car together on track.

So to conclude, the day was a very unique and special opportunity and i would like to thank the Lotus F1 team and Brands Hatch for putting together the day. One day in my lifetime i may get to attend  an F1 race at Brands Hatch but for the time being this was a day that will keep me happy for many a year.

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Graham And Leigh Single Circuit Review

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Hello again friends, I know its been a little while since my last post, lots going on recently  but that’s for another post.

A little while ago Ben won a competition with Graham and Leigh through their twitter, this involved 56 circuit maps and naming all of them, actually there was 57 as the other 56 were in fact contained within the 57th circuit.

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Ben in the end was the only person to get all 57, yes his job at European circuits was a minor help, some of them were obscure with only a handful F1 tracks so really we had no more an advantage than anyone else.

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The prize was this amazing single circuit of Spa in Belgium, which i must say now before I even go into the piece itself is absolutely stunning! When i say that I truly mean it, the quality is out of this world and worth every single penny of their price tag.

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There is nothing on this piece that does not scream quality, craftsmanship & care, from the beautiful yet robust and thick frame to the  expertly and intricately carved track layout which sits floating above so is in 3D, its such a beautiful item that words fail me in searching for ones that can adequately describe this beautiful piece that would enhance any motorsport lovers wall.

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We have a friend that came round and saw it the other week, I passed it to him to take a closer look and he was blown away by it, he quite literally said ‘wow that’s amazing’ and then as I passed it and he saw how lovely a piece it is he said ‘oh wow!’ That’s really how stunning these pieces are, even writing this i feel like I’m failing to convey the beauty of it however much I try and also this is true of pictures, though I’ve tried my hardest to take pictures that can help show how magnificent it is.

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I will be completely honest in that when I first saw the prices I wondered if they weren’t a tad expensive but now being a proud owner I can hand on heart say they are worth more than they cost and evoke a need to own another, we will surely be adding to our Graham and Leigh collection again really soon!

Pre Season Chat With Ali Rushforth

 

As I’ve said from the beginning, I intend to pretty much diary my pit lane and paddock antics this season while Ben does his around Europe, its fast turning into a double edged sword as the 1st weekend in May comes ever closer as Ben leaves May 1st for Barcelona, the flip side is I am sure that I will meet a wide variety of new friendly faces, from differing walks of life and plenty of interesting conversations to be had.

As the MG Trophy Championship starts on May 2nd at Brands Hatch, I thought it would be a good time to catch up with Ali Rushforth and find out a bit more about what goes on in the final run up weeks to a season start.

I, for one am so overly excited for this so while I was at it I wanted to know how Quali work and the points system, hopefully I’m not alone in that I have more enjoyment when I understand more about a formula and as I have confessed previously the MG Trophy is a new one for me so i’ve shared this also as I know I’m not the only newbie this year!

 

Q) How’s the season’s preparation going?

A) Very well, there wasn’t a great deal that needed doing as maintaining the car is a constant process. There’s a few bits and pieces I’d like to change on the car to aid the evolution of it but these are niceties not necessities.

Q) How excited are you for the season ahead?

A) Very!! I think I’ve said before that I had considered a year off in order to concentrate on Lewis starting karting but after recent visits to race circuits to run other drivers, my enthusiasm has been reignited and now I can’t wait for the season to really kick off.

Q) How’s the car looking and more importantly sounding?

A) She is under-going a bit of a make over and even if I do say so myself, she looks amazing and will look even better when the final touches are added.

Q) Any chance of testing likely to happen?

A) Probably not although I may try and run the engine for a bit before round 1 following a top end rebuild.

Q) Apart from yourself and the car, what else have you got to get ready?

A) Finances, Logistics of getting everything/one there, Sponsor tickets, Food/Drink, Hospitality equipment, Personnel, Accommodation.

Q) I notice the car is a she, does she have a name?

A) Was originally Maria-Grace as to keep the initials MG, however I decided to follow what F1 Stock Car drivers do and name her after my wife, so its Becky.

Q) OK so I see there is a mountain of things to tick off the list before setting off for Brands Hatch , at what point can you get into the zone so to speak and think/concentrate on a good Quali for a great race win?

A) I’ll probably be in racing driver mode when I go to bed on the Friday evening following a cycle around the track.

Q) The BIG question….are you going to win the championship this year?

A) I’ll be giving it a damn good go again. This year however sees class C of the MG Trophy being the most competitive in it’s history with 20 cars in that class alone entered for Brands Hatch. The points system means that any driver in  any of the classes could become overall champion so we may find the classes with fewer drivers are able to score consistent points throughout the year. Rest assured though that I’ll be giving it 110% from the first green light of the year.

The MG Trophy Championship will be over 12 rounds :-

1 & 2 – May 2/3rd Brands Hatch Indy

3 & 4 – May 30th Donington

5 & 6 – June 20/21st Silverstone GP

7 & 8 – August 8th Castle Combe

9 & 10 September 12th Oulton Park

11 & 12- October 10/11th Snetterton

 

Qualification is done over 20 mins, the results of which the overall fastest lap gives you pole position for race 1 and the 2nd fastest lap time gives positions for race 2.

Points Awarding System :-

1 point – Fastest Lap in each class

1 point – Pole Position in each class

Race points are awards as follows – 1st (20), 2nd (17), 3rd (16), 4th (15), 5th (14), 6th (13), 7th (12), 8th (11), 9th (10), 10th (9), 11th (8), 12th (7), 13th (6), 14th (5), 15th (4), 16th (3), 17th (2) 18th and all other 1 point.

 

My Autistic Son

Most of you know my eldest child at home is a boy who’s 12, Leon and as it is World Autism Awareness Day i felt now is a good time to open up this part of our lives.

Leon is on the Autistic Spectrum, its hard to explain exactly where, its probably easier to reveal some of his difficulties and strengths.

Leon has obssessions, racing cars & dinosaurs are his main ones, he will line his cars up in a row a very neat perfectly positioned road and will go absolutely mental if it gets ruined or moved even slightly.

He is also very vulnerable, the best way to explain it is he doesn’t have that inner voice that helps you reason if something is a good idea, goes through consequences with you, so he is very impulsive and outright a danger to himself sometimes, at 12, 13 in August he still can’t reliably cross a road alone, he also struggles with anyone but himself as in he believes if he crosses a road for example that the car should stop for him, he has no concept that if its going too fast it simply can’t stop in time.

Food is another big issue, he has a problem with textures, so has turned very fussy based on textures of different foods.

Its worth saying that Leon has sensory disabilities too, he was born completely deaf, with no left ear canal and that ear although it looks like an ear is alot smaller and scrunched up. He suffered with glue ear and repeated ear infections and burst eardrum in his good ear right up until very recently, his hearing now stands at approximately 20% of a hearing persons, although you would never know as he lip reads so well.

This has led on to his other senses compensating and therefore they are alot more sensitive than say mine, so textures have become a problem.

He also suffers with ADHD and is on medication for this as without he becomes a complete danger to himself, the compulsiveness of the hyperactivity combined with the lack of the inner voice of reasoning means without medication he would probably end up in casualty often! 

To be completely honest i worry for his future and if he can function as an adult in the adult world and hold down a job etc and mix with people as he is like the stereotype of Autism he is a loner in the main part and not good with physically showing affection, he adores racing cars and at the minute wants to build Ferrari F1 cars, even though i’ve explained the factory is in Italy!

So there you have it…a basic idea of my son’s struggle with living with Autism and as a family i’m sure you can now envisage how it impacts on almost every aspect of our lives as well as his.

Thanks for reading this very personal post 

Sandra