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Excool OSS – Silverstone – 8th May 2016

We arrived at Silverstone on Thursday evening in preparation for the first event of the season on the short National circuit, at the home of British Motorsport.   Garage 1B was to be our location for Friday practice during which we experienced some small issues leading to a frustrating day.

The main issue requiring attention during Saturday was the new throttle bodies’ return spring tension, something we managed to solve with a temporary solution.   Other little issues were resolved while the 750 Club racers had their event.   We would be racing on what would be a very busy Sunday with scrutineering from 0730, qualifying from 0900 and our last of three sprint races at 1730.

Our qualifying time on circuit confirmed we had slotted into fifth place for race one and sixth place for race two, we were disappointed with the result as we were some two seconds off the place from our previous race at the Silverstone venue.   Race one started and quickly we understood that the race car did not have the pace expected from our new engine, luckily we managed a fourth place finish and a second in class.   From this point we had to try and achieve the best possible finishes knowing the car had an issue which was not allowing the performance to do much against the strong cars at the front of the grid.   At the end of the final race we really could not believe our luck as our points tally showed three second place class finishes with a third place overall in the main championship all due to our engine problem and other drivers around us having their own problems.

We left Silverstone late on Sunday evening scratching our heads and arrived home Monday mid- morning.     The car was fully stripped to highlight the engine timing had slipped causing loss of power throughout the race event.

Our feeling of disappointment was short lived when considering our luck over the full weekend with three class podium finishes, three trophies and quite a few points for our efforts.

Plans are in place to get the car back to full health in preparation for the next round at the Rockingham circuit.  Let’s hope we can be at full strength for this event.   

Will keep you posted after the race weekend 11/12 June 2016.

The video from the first three rounds can be found at teh following link.     http://opensportsseries.co.uk

SILVERSTONE 2014

The final weekend of the 2014 Excool OSS Championship took place at the Silverstone circuit over the full weekend 9th and 10th August.  The Glasgow based race driver arrived at the venue late Thursday evening in order to get the car ready for the event during Friday testing.

Craig qualified his Ligier JS49 in fifth and fourth place for race one then race two respectively, among a high quality grid of race cars.  The final grid position would be determined from the results of race two. 

Race one was run on Saturday afternoon during dry hot conditions and from fifth place Craig ran in the front pack for the entire race finishing third in Class B and one slot forward of the grid position.  A good start to the weekend considering the quality of the front running cars.

Sunday morning was very wet and from fourth place again a third place in Class B was achieved; fourth overall in the race.

The final race of the season took place on Sunday afternoon and started in damp but drying conditions.  Tyre choice was a real gamble as the sky was busy with black clouds.  Craig went out on wets anticipating a certain downpour during the race.   A great start from the wet side of the track saw the young racer blast into second place pushing the leader for first place.  However, the damp conditions slowly disappeared as the black clouds failed to bring any rain.  This did start to give the advantage to the slick shod cars and Craig slipped back into the clutches of the cars behind him.   Craig finished in fifth place and third in Class B.   By the end of the last race of the season the chequered flag was followed by a massive downpour but too late to help Craig’s tyre gamble.

To review the season’s racing, Craig finished all eleven races entered and importantly all results were a Class B podium, although no race wins were achieved.  Final points saw Craig top of Class B and second in the main championship.  However, when the two round-drop score system was applied by the formula (32 points) this moved Craig to second in Class B and fourth in the main championship.    The Ligier car used this season is very much an original CN racer and a capable vehicle but when considering the cars Craig raced against are all highly upgraded versions of his standard car, then it does highlight just how well he adapted to the new challenge this year.

Some plans are in place for upgrades to the car which should put the young Scot in a very strong position for the 2015 race season.

2014 Excool OSS Championship

This year I will be competing in the Excool OSS Championship and will be driving a Ligier JS49, acquired from IF Motorsport.

Testing took place at Oulton Park on Friday 28th March - what a car!  Pictures from testing are now on the Gallery.  

The season kicks off at Snetterton over Easter weekend, 19th and 20th April.    The weekend includes two qualifying sessions and three races.

Further rounds will be held at Brands Hatch, Donington Park and Silverstone.     Check out the Calendar for dates.

 

 

 

 

Donington Park 12th & 13th July 

Following on from a difficult previous event at Brands Hatch in Kent, the next three races took place at Donington Park by the East Midlands Airport near Derby.  This is one of Craig’s favourite circuits and one he holds the lap record for from racing in a previous formula, Sports 2000.   A test day visit to the circuit in early June allowed a decision on which tyre he would prefer to use going forward and also some changes to the Class B Ligier JS49 prototype sports car.

The weekend comprised of qualifying just before lunchtime on Saturday and a first race towards the end of the same day starting around five o’clock.  Sunday saw two races, again at around lunchtime and the end of the day.   On a very hot Saturday, qualifying went well.   During the early stages three quick laps allowed Craig to start race one and race two from seventh and sixth place on the grid respectively, all achieved from the best and second best qualifying times.

Race one started well with Craig making up two places in the first corner and settling into some very quick laps, managing to stay in front of some extremely quick car / driver combinations around him.  At the chequered flag Craig had managed a fourth place finish overall and third in Class B, certainly a great start to the event.   

Sunday was much cooler and the start of race two was quite different as the number 22 Ligier got boxed in on the outside of the first corner.   Craig dropped back to around ninth place but by the end of lap one was up into fourth, again settling in quickly to achieve very quick lap times throughout the race, finishing in a strong third and second in Class B.  

The third place in race two allowed Craig to start from that slot on the Sunday afternoon grid.  A great start soon saw the young Scot up into second place where he remained for fifteen minutes of the twenty minute race.   Whilst doing well to maintain this excellent place an unfortunate yellow flag incident did allow the third placed driver to tighten the gap to Craig and due to his larger horsepower advantage he was able to sail past on the back straight and so a third was the result at the end of the race, again coming second in Class B.  

The final event of the year will take place at Silverstone early August and Craig is looking forward to racing again at the Home of British Motorsport.

 

 

2014 Racing Season

Well, after some fantastic results and great racing in the BIG Profile Sports2000 Championship in 2013 we had some major decisions to make on the way ahead for 2014.     

Sports2000 had been a great racing experience since 2011 and it was definitely not an easy choice to move away from this fantastic, competitive and affordable formula where many friends had been made.   

After some agonising days and nights we finally agreed to sell the Lola and look to another formula for 2014.      A new car has been sourced and it will not be long before we are able to start posting the racing calendar and update on testing etc (images will follow soon).   The clock is now ticking towards the start of the season and there’s a lot do.

Watch this space……………………………….

 

BRANDS HATCH 26 MAY 2014

Craig competed at Brands Hatch in the 4th and 5th rounds of the Excool Open Sportscar Series 2014 Championship on Bank Holiday Monday, 26th May.

The good news from the race day was that Craig achieved a 2nd & 3rd in Class B for the two races but tyre issues  had caused frustration in dry qualifying which meant Craig started a bit further back on the 26 car grid than expected, never good at the  Brands Hatch Indy circuit.   Further disappointment was encountered in the second race of the afternoon when the wet tyres being used for the first time this season were found to be offering very low levels of grip and in the extremely wet conditions this meant just getting through the race would be a challenge. 

Race 1 started in nice dry conditions and after a long battle with a Class A car everything changed when light rain in the final 5 minutes allowed Craig to finish 4th on the road and 2nd in Class B.   The race had been made difficult by the poor starting position and the strong pace of the Class A cars around him on the pit straight but when the track surface became tricky Craig did make up quite a few places before the chequered flag.  

The series released the up to date points a few days after the Brands Hatch event and these indicated that Craig is sitting 2nd in the Class B Championship  and 3rd in the overall Championship so that did cheer up the team.   With a bit more experience in the car it’s all good for the next event at Donington Park circuit in Derbyshire on the 12th & 13th July, a test at the circuit will take place early June in order to prepare for the two day three race event.  

Brands Hatch Formula Ford Festival

 

Craig travelled south to the Kent circuit on Thursday in order to participate in the Sports 2000 final event of the season.  From the garage area some testing on the Friday seen the Lola T88/90 set for the full weekend where the weather was and would remain extremely unsettled.  

The qualifying took place shortly after lunchtime on Saturday and the number 22 race car was fixed securely at the top of the timing screen from lap one of the twenty minute session until a red flag stopped any progress with seven minutes left on the clock.   Craig had entered the pits just before the stoppage and as the rain had started to really pour down felt confident that he had achieved pole position for the Sunday.    Just as the red flag was signalled the much modified March 09, run by professional race team Scott Racing, grabbed pole by a tenth of a second.   Craig returned to the circuit when the red flag issue had been addressed and on a clear run second time round his time was identical to his previous best.   On the third quick lap with a clear gap in front Craig felt he had a good time but another red flag prior to the end of the lap ended the session…….second place on the grid for Sunday!!!!

Sunday lunchtime was clear and unlike the previous day the circuit was dry enough for slicks, the race start from second slot was probably an advantage over the March 09 down on the dirty side at the pit wall.   Craig started well and was in front of the pole sitter before the pit lane exit, unfortunately the high down force cars of Patrick and Robert made great progress both round Paddock Hill Bend and Druids.   At Brands Hatch in the dry Craig would always find it difficult to hold off the MCR and Gunn front running cars as his low down force Lola just could not get front end grip on the green surface all through the race.  He settled in to work hard and managed to hold on to the final podium position.  

A satisfying end to a great season where Craig has finished second in the main championship, champion in Class B with wins at all events entered and a race winner in the Sports 2000 European event at Zandvoort where he set a new lap record.

The 2013 season is now over and Craig is looking forward to the presentation ceremony for his achievements this year.    End of season preparations have already started on the Lola and will continue throughout the winter.   

 

A special thanks to Paul Timmons and the Nu-Stock team for their support in 2013.   

OSS PODIUM FOR CRAIG AT SNETTERTON

Craig entered the BRSCC Easter weekend racing event at Snetterton 300 on a high after being part of the West of Scotland University winning team for the annual Scottish Universities Karting Cup which saw the novice four man team win the treble event championship at their first time of entering.   

Following a recent test at Oulton Park in his Ligier JS49 from the IF Motorsport team, Craig was looking to use the weekend again to familiarise himself with the car and especially in race conditions.   Practice had been booked for the Thursday and Friday in an effort to get as much time in the car as possible and with the guidance of IF Motorsport team manager, Bryce Wilson, the times just got better and better.   

Qualifying was held on Saturday morning and following this Craig was placed in fourth place for race one and third place for race two, not a bad result at all considering the Ligier is a standard CN specification car at this time and running in Class B of the Excool OSS Championship.   

The Saturday afternoon race saw Craig finish fourth on the road and third in Class B.  This was a great start to the weekend.   

Sunday morning was very wet early on and when the second race was about to start there was some light drizzle, all of the cars went on slicks and from third on the grid Craig was quickly up into second only to be passed by Tony Sinclair and Graham Cole in the Class A massive horse power Jade race cars before the flag and so fourth on the road and second in Class B.   

The Sunday afternoon was dry and with a slight change to the car Craig started from third on the grid, with a steady performance affected by the change he managed to achieve third place on the road and again a second place in Class B.  

Lots to do before the next race weekend at Brands Hatch at the end of May but certainly a very encouraging start to the new championship, especially against the highly upgraded cars in the same class.

Thanks to Paul Timmons and the rest of the team at NU-STOCK for their support (www.nu-stock.co.uk) and also Bryce and Liam from IF Motorsport .

Brands Hatch 26/27 October 2013

Great weekend at the Formula Ford Festival on the Indy circuit at Brands Hatch.   Qualified second after a disrupted session some 9/100 of a second behind the March of Justin Everitt in dreadful wet conditions, the car felt great in the different damp conditions.   Made a great start in the Sunday race but with the track dry but still green there was little chance of holding off the two front running high down force cars of Patrick Sherrington and Robert Oldershaw.   Managed to hold on for the half hour race and get on the podium once again, really pleased with the final result and the 2013 season overall.

Full report to follow.

Excool Open Sportscar Series - Snetterton 300 - Class B

Fantastic first ever event in the OSS over the Easter weekend at the Snetterton 300 race circuit in Norfolk.

Qualified 4th and 3rd for race 1 & 2 respectively and finished 3rd in race 1 on the Saturday afternoon.

Sunday morning race 2 was run in tricky damp conditions, 2nd place was a great result in the new car.

Sunday afternoon was dry and sunny and from 4th spot on the grid another 2nd place was achieved.  

More detail to follow soon.

Donington Park - September 2013

Greenfaulds based Craig Mitchell has continued his winning run by achieving another class win at Donington Park, making him the Class B champion for the Big Profile Sports 2000 Duratec 2013 season.  With these magnificent results he also is confirmed as Vice Champion for the main championship which is indeed a great achievement for the young man.

Craig Mitchell visited the Donington Park race circuit in Derbyshire on the weekend 13th & 14th September to compete in the fifth round of the championship, where a good result would cement the fantastic second place in the main championship mentioned above.

Craig’s last visit to the circuit resulted in a strong second place but brake issues did spoil the chance of fighting for the win.  With a full AP Racing brake system upgrade on the race car Craig was looking forward to the event.

Qualifying for the very quick Duratec cars in the Sports2000 championship took place early Saturday morning.  There had been some rain in the early hours and with the cold temperatures the damp track was making tyre choice very difficult.   Craig opted for slicks and in the early part of the 20 minute qualifying period he spent time bedding in the new brakes while waiting for a dry line to appear on the extremely slippery circuit.   Unfortunately, the gamble to use the slicks did not pay off as the circuit just did not dry quickly enough and so Craig found himself down in 11th place for the start of the race.

Whilst Craig looked forward to the serious challenge of racing through the pack from his lower than normal grid position, he did take some comfort from the fact that had the qualifying been a couple of laps longer then pole position would have been almost a certainty.

The entire grid of Duratec cars were on slicks for the race as the circuit had dried for the green flag start just after lunchtime.   Craig made a careful start in a very busy mid pack position and settled into picking off his rivals.   The focus was now on getting into the final podium spot by the end of the race as the other championship contenders had gone from the front of the grid.  This podium certainly looked possible as Craig made great progress lap after lap.

Some fantastic overtaking and race craft saw Craig take the chequered flag in a clear third place.

Craig’s year has been nothing short of brilliant with a podium slot in every event entered and one race win in the non-championship endurance event at Zandvoort in Holland.  With one championship event left on the calendar at Brands Hatch in Kent at the end of October, the 20 year old from Greenfaulds can relax and enjoy the racing as he now cannot be beaten for second place in the main championship.

Following some issues in the race car in the early part of the season, his Lola has gone from strength to strength with a number of upgrades and is certainly a front running car keeping all of the modern aerodynamic Class A cars very honest.

Craig is studying Motorsport Design Engineering at the West of Scotland University and has ideas/thoughts on further improving the car. He also has a few exciting offers for next season’s racing which will depend on sponsor budget assistance….watch this space.