Coombs re­turns

Motor Sport News - - Racing News -

For­mer Cater­ham Grad­u­ates driver Andy Coombs re­turned to rac­ing at Brands Hatch last week­end after spend­ing the last two years build­ing a Mk3 Mazda MX-5. He took a best fin­ish of 16th in the Su­per­cup races with the JZ Rac­ing De­vel­op­ments team and has se­cured a spon­sor­ship deal with Fix Auto Lough­bor­ough to race the car for the next two years.

The rac­ing driv­ers’ ex­cuses book is leg­endary.

If I had a pound for ev­ery time I heard “I didn’t see the lights/flag/ speed lim­iter” or “I didn’t see the penalty board, I thought you were sup­posed to get ex­tra warn­ings be­fore they gave you a penalty” I could prob­a­bly quit jour­nal­ism and re­tire on a yacht some­where.

But race of­fi­cials have grown wise to such ex­cuses, and at Spa-fran­cor­champs last week­end Bri­tish GT driv­ers un­der­went a new test de­signed to re­move such ar­gu­ments.

The Sean Ed­wards Test, set up in col­lab­o­ra­tion with the Sean Ed­wards Foun­da­tion and the late driver’s mother Daphne, is an Sro-de­signed sys­tem to quiz driv­ers’ knowl­edge on the rules and reg­u­la­tions of the race week­end. It can act as a re­fresher, or a stark re­minder, of what they need to do in any given sit­u­a­tion.

“We brought the test in for the Blanc­pain GT Se­ries last sea­son and found it use­ful in many ways,” said SRO’S sport­ing direc­tor Jac­quie Groom. “We do the ques­tions in English or French so firstly it high­lights any po­ten­tial prob­lems with lan­guage and if any driv­ers are hav­ing is­sues un­der­stand­ing the rules.

“If a driver fails, we can re­view whether they need a re­fresher of the rules with the race direc­tor, or if we have a real is­sue that needs clar­i­fy­ing or work­ing on. We’ve found it very use­ful at im­prov­ing driv­ing stan­dards and gen­eral safety.”

I de­cided to put my­self to the test, and scored a re­spectable 80 per cent pass rate from the 15 mul­ti­ple choice ques­tions, which in­cluded ev­ery­thing from wet weather be­hav­iour to pit lane eti­quette, mar­shal re­cov­ery process and race start pro­ce­dures.

I ob­vi­ously blame the strong Bel­gian sun on the ipad screen, the odd am­bigu­ous ques­tion, a typo and par­tially laggy wifi for the dropped 20 per cent there…that score was de­scribed as “about av­er­age” by Groom. I’d be al­lowed on the grid… if I had my li­cence with me and a weighty stack of cash handy that is.

But the test serves a very hon­ourable pur­pose. The Sean Ed­ward Foun­da­tion has cam­paigned to in­crease driver safety and aware­ness ever since the GT star’s death dur­ing a track day ac­ci­dent in Oc­to­ber 2013.

Aside from this, the only time a driver will have a rules and flags re­fresher will be their ARDS test, or if some­thing se­ri­ous has hap­pened, which by then is usu­ally far too late.

Hav­ing the rules fresh in your mind be­fore a race week­end is a great way to make driv­ers think, and un­der­stand better how rac­ing works. Any­thing we can do to make motorsport a safer and more un­der­stand­able place is a good thing in my book.

The Ford RS Own­ers club once again re­turns to Don­ing­ton race track on Au­gust 21 for an ac­tion packed day both on and off the track. The in­field re­turns to full ser­vice this year so the tra­di­tional grassy static show can once again be at the heart of the track ac­tion which will sur­round them. Event head Justin Smith said: “Our show is go­ing from strength to strength and we are try­ing a few new ideas out this year to take it to a whole new level.” Tiff Needell has been con­firmed as the guest PA this year and is hop­ing to get be­hind the wheel of some orig­i­nal Sierra RS500 tour­ing car ma­chin­ery in the lunch time dis­play ses­sions in­be­tween his time out in the show get­ting to meet the mem­ber­ship. Paul Swift is also con­firmed and, in somthing new for this year, he and oth­ers will be run­ning a new Live Ac­tion area on the Mel­bourne loop with the sup­port of the MSA and other guest cars.

GT driv­ers were tested on knowl­edge of rules

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.