Brand Hatch being one of my favorite circuits and the Aston Martin centenary celebration happening on this race weekend I was doubly keen to get the brake problem sorted out before these races. The brake fade has plagued us this season apart from at Oulton Park when it rained. When the car was plugged into a Porsche diagnostic machine it suggested that the ABS pump had failed, with new ABS pumps at £3k we decided to ditch the ABS. In fact we decided it would be a good idea scrap the whole brake system and start from scratch. So we put in a new tilton pedal box with 3 pedals, with new master cylinders for the front and rear brakes and one for the clutch. We also had all new brakes lines made up and plumbed in, this year we had already replaced the front callipers and braided hoses along with disks and pads all round. So now we have a completely new braking system, so it should definitely work at Brands Hatch.
During qualifying I was struggling to learn the new brake setup (it’s quite different with no servo or ABS), and we also had a lot of traffic on the Indy circuit with 35 cars on track. This lead to me qualifying well down the order in 22nd, with my class rivals in 11th (Steven Atkinson) and 12th (James Neal/Neil Harvey). So in the race I had a lot of work to do.
I made a great start and took the risky outside line into paddock hill bend. This paid off and I made up several positions when the inside line looked like a traffic jam. I made it passed James Neal at Paddock and again around the outside at Druids to take Stephen Atkinson, so up to 1st in class and the brakes are working very well.
I was blocked badly by a 928 into Graham Hill bend and it compromised my exit, so I lost 2 class places to Atkinson/Neal. I made it back passed Neal/Harvey fairly quickly as they didn’t seem to have the same race pace as qualifying pace. After some dicing with some other class cars I made it back onto the tail of Stephen Atkinson in the white 968 and tried to get passed him as quickly as possible. By this point we are struggling to lap back markers, fortunately we both had the same problem, the back markers tended to be big cars with lots of power which make it difficult to pass. Stephen Atkinson got blocked by a 355 Ferrari which allowed me up the inside into Clearways. Unfortunately I was blocked in a similar way at Druids and he was immediately back passed. I lost out in traffic and Atkinson pulled away before the pit stops.
After the pit stop phase I quickly latched onto the back of Atkinson again and proceeded to harass him for the rest of the race. Pushing hard towards the end of the race I hit some oil at Paddock Hill bend and had a scary spin, luckily an Aston behind also hit the oil and spun too, making the impact between the two of us much smaller than it could have potentially been. We both quickly rejoined the race with cosmetic damage only, only to be shown the mechanical warning flag a lag latter as my rear bumper was hanging off touring car style. I had to pit to get this removed with only one lap of the race left there was no time to make up places.
I ended up 4th in class and 13th overall, which was an improvement on qualifying which I was pleased with but it could have been much better. I was more pleased with the lack of brake fade during the race even in the extreme heat of Brands Hatch. See video bellow for the full race (especially the rocket start) and report from the grand prix circuit on the Sunday to follow.