Team Milltek GT-R: Winners
Time Attack: Knockhill, Scotland
Congratulations to Team Milltek GT-R on their first win of the season at Knockhill on the 10th June 2012!
The Race Against Time
After the gearbox issue at Hockenheim, it's been a mad couple of weeks at Team Milltek GTR. Initially we thought that we may have to miss the Time Attack 2012 series at Knockhill but thankfully, Robin Duxbury came to the rescue; lending us the gearbox from his own personal GTR so that we could go racing. We were due to leave on Friday morning however, the transmission oil hadn't arrived so, whilst Team Milltek's 'Green Beast' was waiting for its life blood on the lift at Tracktive Solutions Limited, we used the time to load the Redbrick Racing transporter with all the gear - Wheels, tyres, tools, jacks, stands, cleaning equipment and most importantly - food and drinks. The oil arrived at lunchtime and the transfusion began...By 4pm the car was alive, the front bumper was re-attached, the under trays were refitted and a quick test drive later, we were good to go. The GTR was shoe-horned onto the lower deck of the 40 foot transporter and at 5pm and the truck driver Will, along with Tractive's technician Mitch, were on their way to Knockhill.
The rest of the Team would be leaving the following morning so we headed back to get all our own kit ready for what appeared to be a wet miserable weekend in the beautiful rolling hills of Scotland.
''come morning the heavens had opened at about 4am and soaked the track completely. By 9:15am, light drizzle kept the water running down the hill from the start finish line''
Our transport North would be provided today by two Audi S5 Sportback's and we headed up the A1M through rain, sun and cloud - the weather not quite knowing what to do, but by the time we reached Scotland the clouds had started to split and the blue was coming through although rain was never far away. We were warned by the overhead displays of a combination of 'Heavy Rain Expected' and 'Don't Take Drugs and Drive'!! Sound advice. :-D
We booked in on the two Saturday afternoon sessions and started to get used to the track although on the first sessions it was wet but drying quickly, with a definitive dry line we opted for the Toyo's 888's for the second session and quickly popped in a 57 second lap.
Tyres pressures checked, recorded and adjusted, it was time to give the car a clean and polish and then leave it overnight under the large awning for the first of the following mornings' Time Attack sessions.
During the night, the weather had had other ideas and come morning the heavens had opened at about 4am and had soaked the track completely. By 9:15am, the light drizzle kept the water running down the hill from the start finish line.
With weather reports of the rain lifting by midday, Team Principle Phil Millington had decided that we wouldn't go out for the first session.
This was a very wise choice because as the day progressed so did the weather and by the second session there was a drying line and the rain had stopped. The decision was made to put the Pirelli wets on and out went the GTR. Five laps later all was good and we were setting consistently fast times. We brought the car back in and refitted the Toyo 888's ready for qualifying.
For the 20 minute qualifying session the track was completely dry but the water was still lying heavy in the grass just off the tarmac so we couldn't make use of the kerbs anymore. The session started with 22 cars which, with an average time around Knockhill of 60 seconds, meant that there would be a few overtaking manoeuvres. Trying to get a quick, clear lap wasn't going to be easy but on lap 11 of 15, Rich Marshall, the driver managed a 55.634 seconds - 1.347 seconds up on the Subaru Impreza driven by Ben Shimmin - and with a top speed of 123mph across the start finish line - 14mph quicker than anyone else - and that was with the car running on ECU map 1 of 5 - clearly there was more to come!
Back to the transporter and a quick change to the new front Toyo 888's, a drop of oil in the engine and we were ready to go again.
The 15 minute final was delayed due to a Civic Cup car racing incident but 21 cars lined up in the pit lane waiting to unleash mayhem, and the GTR was last out.
Rich got the tyres up to temp quickly by weaving and heavy braking, and push on hard but the amount of cars on track was a nightmare but with a little good luck on lap 5 he managed a 55.476 second even with traffic...more to come but the standard gearbox and clutches borrowed from Robin Duxbury's personal GTR were having a hard time and the 'clutch temp' warning light came on - a couple of cool down laps were required, however, Ben in his Subaru were now in the pits so Rich continued lapping steadily trying to get the temps down.
The message came through from Phil on the pit wall Ben was out of the pits, so Rich thought get behind him and see where his strengths and weakness's are, but on the last corner before the back straight the GTR decided that it would just run 2 wheel drive and the car spun a 270 deg turn in the middle of the track. A quick turn off and on and Rich was going again just as the chequered flag dropped to end the day running. Ben had closed to gap to 0.866 of a second but Team Milltek GTR had there first win. Phil, Rich, Adie, Jon and Steve were delighted and the car had performed well with the loaned gearbox...
Next stop, Melton Mowbray for the upgraded gearbox then back into the Redbrick Racing transporter for it's second European trip to Zandvoort Holland for the Fast Car Festival with Milltek's Dutch distributor XT Motorsport...Wonder if Rich can drive with clogs on?? :-D
Racing doesn't always go entirely to plan as the outtakes video below will testify: