Nick Takes Home the Win at Silverstone

4th April 2008

Last weekend saw the first round of Britsports at Silverstone, with a varied and challenging weather pattern on the day; it displayed a lot of action for the race.

This was Nick and Jean-Lou’s first competitive outing in the Norma, so they both were a little nervous about the meeting. Free practice on Friday was merely to get some miles on the car and to get Jean-Lou comfortable with the new machine.

When speaking to Nick on Saturday morning before qualifying he said, “The car feels good, the mid corner speed is a lot higher than I thought it would be which is something you don’t really learn about unless you just go Banzai for a few laps, its hard to find the grip though because its so cold!”.

Nick and the Team sat down before Qualifying on Saturday to run over strategy and any final setup adjustments that needed to be made before the car was taken to Scrutineering.

The car passed Scrutineering with no problems at all, so it was time for JL to go out and bank a few laps for Qualifying before Nick was to go out. JL left the pits and started his outlap, unfortunately he did not make it round for the next lap, with the air temperature at -1oc and cold tyres, JL was caught out and spun off into the gravel trap.

The car made it back in one piece, although a little heavier than usual because of the amount of gravel stuck in it, but the car was running and ready for Nick to go and bank a few flyers before the end of the session.

After his session, Nick said “There is no grip, you gotta be really brave with it, but I think I’ve done enough in that last few laps to secure a fairly good slot”. Nick put the Norma on Pole, and outstanding stint from him in the last ten minutes of the session made all the difference to what could have been a really bad start to the day.

There was now an hour before the start of the race, Nick and the team were again just ironing out any minor issues and discussing race strategy for the 50 minute race about to come.

Nick was to do the first 25 minute stint of the race and JL would finish the race. Warm up laps had started and Nick was being watched by a Mosler and a Juno who were on the grid slots behind him, then lights are out and the race is go ! Nick is already being caught by the Mosler because of its huge straight line speed, Nick brakes hard and stays wide to then go around the outside of the Mosler at Copse, not being able to see whether he’d made it or not, it looked like a kind of all or nothing move by Nick.

However, with Nick sticking to his guns and driving superbly he was the first to come back into sight, a whopping 2.5 seconds ahead of the Mosler! This was good news for Nick, it’s the perfect time to start pushing the car, without having traffic ahead of him, he could really start to get to know the Norma.

By lap 4 Nick was 11.5 seconds ahead of the Mosler and the Juno, you could see he was really comfortable he was shaving off at least a tenth a lap which then bought him down into the low 1 minute 21’s! A fantastic pace to be consistent on!

Just before his stint was over Nick set the fastest lap of the race and was an impressive 48+ seconds in the lead. He then saw this opportunity to come in and pit to swap with Jean-Lou.

Nick leapt out of the car, absolutely buzzing, he said “Really good, I started to get it really hooked up and get real comfortable with it, its different but I’ve settled a lot quicker than I thought I would, Brakes are sharp, gearbox is spot on…..Mega, The whole thing !”

Meanwhile, whilst Nick was winding down, JL was being reeled in by 2nd place, and at quite a rate. All of us were doing the maths and as along as JL stayed at his pace consistently, he would bring home the chequered flag.

However just at this point, JL was starting to shave tenths off his personal best, and on the last lap grabbed another 1.5 secs of the lead. This just showed that JL was getting comfortable, overall he shaved 2 seconds off his personal best, this shows great potential for the longer European races.

The end of the race came and Jean Lou bought home the Win, Nick was really pleased with the outcome, Sky Sports post race interviews, podiums and all the usual that race drivers have to go through was done and tied up.

When asking Nick about his closing thoughts on the race he said, “I think we’ve done well this weekend, a few things went wrong but they’re bound to, that’s Motorsport, but the main thing is, we kept are head in and just got on with it and look what we’ve come out with, pole, fastest lap and a Win ! You cant really ask for a better first race really, however the European rounds will be harder, longer and more complicated, but as long as we can keep this mind set we had today, we’re on for a winner of a season!”

The Britsports review will be on Sky Sports 1 in a couple of week’s time, featuring Nick and the Team, keep checking the website for the date.

Race report by Elliot Weir

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