My Ginetta Experience- with Nicole Coffey.
September 3, 2013 by Nicole Coffey
I have had a very exciting summer, testing the www.motorsport.ie/Naas Court Hotel Ginetta G20 Junior in Mondello, as well as continuing my karting campaign. It was a fantastic opportunity for me to graduate to car racing so soon and I was delighted to accept the challenge as the Ginetta Junior Ireland championship is a great stepping stone and has produced some superb drivers.
First of all I had to learn how to drive!!
Oh I wish I was 17 and on the road!! The transition from a Kart to Sportscar was strange but the minute I took to the track in the Ginetta, I just loved it!! There is a lot more to driving a car than a kart. It’s faster, it handles completely differently and because of the gears there is a lot more to learn. Luke and Kevin O’Hara from LOH Motorsport are running the car and together with Leo Nulty, I have had the best help in the business.
My first race weekend was on the 24th and 25th August and it went reasonably well. On the Saturday ‘Test Day’ my pace was really good and I was only a couple of tenths off the fastest driver which was really encouraging. On the Sunday ‘Race Day’, qualifying was difficult because I have never had to qualify before.
The grid positions at kart races are randomly selected and I need a bit more practice in order to perfect my qualifying technique! Unfortunately on my best lap I made a couple of small mistakes which affected my time. I was running in third for a while but finished up qualifying in 6th.
I was really nervous as I had never done a standing start in a race before. Thankfully, I got the car off the line well and by the second corner I had made up two places and was running 4th. The race was red flagged on lap 4. At the restart, the officials made an error with the grid positions so instead of starting 4th, I was placed in sixth 6th.
There was a protest after the race due to the gridding of the restart so they ran the race again. I started 6th and yet again, my start was great. I overtook the guy in 5th place coming down to the first corner which was a great start to the race. For the next few laps I was catching the guy in 4th place and within two corners being tucked up behind him, I dived down the inside at Dunlop corner and made the pass stick. I finished the race in a strong 4th place.
The final race of the day for Ginettas was approaching and I was getting a bit nervous because I really wanted to finish the day on a high. I yet again started 6th on the grid and got off to a great start. At the end of the first lap I was up to 4th and maintaining with the leaders pace which made me more confident with my racing. Half way through the race I had made a mistake on a lap which cost me a bit of time. This caused the driver in 5th place to catch up with me. We were challenging each other for quite some time which is great for gaining racecraft. Coming up to the closing stages of the race was where it
all went wrong. With about 4 minutes left on the clock, things were getting quite serious. Coming down to the first corner I could see he was tucked up behind me. As I was turning into the corner, the driver in 5th place completely out braked himself which resulted with him colliding into me which spun me around.
This put me to last position which was highly annoying and I knew there was no chance of catching the opposition which 2 minutes to go! Even though I got tagged behind I still finished the race in 6th. Thanks again to Kevin and Luke for a great weekend and a huge advantage on my experience in the car. I would also especially like to thank Leo for giving me this great opportunity!
I put aside the negatives of the weekend and took all the positives with me and hopefully I can bring those positives to the Leinster Trophy on the 14th and 15th and have a great weekend! Will get back to you after the Leinster Trophy and tell you all how it went.