The penultimate round of the Race Club GT championship was held at Zandvoort – a track I’d not raced on before at all. After my problems in the last few races with consistency I decided to really focus on this and make sure I had consistent pace that I could lap at. I was pretty confident that I had enough pace to race with others, I just needed to be able to do it lap after lap. In the week before the race I set about learning the track and setting myself up for a good result.
I decided to spend the first day learning the track and getting to grips with it, trying to work out where to find time. After doing 30 minutes or so in the morning before work I got down to 1:42.7. I discovered that some of the other Race Clubber were down to 1:36 already although not expecting to get much quicker. After some more laps in the evening I had my best time down to 1:39.6 and was challenged to get that down to low 1:38s by race day. A challenge I accepted.
After doing a few laps in the morning and not managing to better my previous time I set about thinking about where I wanted to concentrate time and effort on improving. I settled initially on the exit of Hugenholzbocht (a tight 180 left hander), the sequence of Mastersbocht and Turns 9 and 10 and then the chicane of Hans Ernst Bocht. As well as speed to be found these were also the areas where I was the least consistent. Something else I needed to improve on.
In an effort to better prepare the car I also spent some time adjusting the camber based on the recommendations on the Coach Dave site (their setups assume 2018/19 BoP and we use 2020 some adjustments are necessary). I also sat down with a track map and made some notes on braking points and lines after watching a few YouTube videos. I continued to update the track map as the week went on, making notes about gear changes, kerbs to avoid, apexes and braking points.
On Saturday I got a bit distracted by the Le Mans 24hr race and didn’t put as much effort into improving as I would have liked. I did about a 45 minutes in single player mode early in the morning but was unable to match my the pace of the day before although I was close to it. I also did a single player race and, a first for me on this track, managed to finish the race in 5th (rather than last) without making any significant mistakes.
I’m still struggling a bit with tire pressures on the front right and also with the left set of tires getting very hot. Plenty of work to do!
On Sunday evening, after watching several hours of the Le Mans 24hr race I did about 30 laps around Zandvoort. This time around I put a lot of effort into keeping my speed up through the first gear turns in the 1st sector and keeping the car stable through Scheiviak so I could maintain a good speed.
I continued to struggle in the 2nd sector and several times messed up the chicane at Hans Ernst bocht. I found a good braking point, earlier than I’d been using before which allowed me to come of the brakes earlier, getting an earlier turn-in and a faster speed through the turn.
By the end of the session I’d got my best time down to a 1:38.8 with an optimal time of 1:38.660. I’d done a lot of laps around 1;39 and had a long string of valid laps….. I was feeling a lot better about the track now,
With a bit more confidence I got a few laps in on Monday morning, doing a 30 minute single player race. After doing a few races over the week and coming last, this time I held it together to take my first victory at Zandvoort and (I think) in the Lamborghini. Throughout the whole race I only had 1 small off track, caused by hitting the kerbs at Hans Ernst bocht. Going into the race I was feeling good about my chances. I also managed to set a new personal best of 1:38.653.
I had planned on doing some practice laps on Tuesday morning but I ended up going into the office in London so I didn’t get any laps in until Free Practice 1. I’d just have to see how it went!