AROCA Sandown Sprint Day
1 September 2018
The sun was starting to rise, birds chirping and engines rumbling as we entered the prestigious Sandown Raceway on Saturday, 1 September. My dad and I had been getting the Jess Bell's green BMW 325i race car ready the night before, so for race day preparation was near to none. With the dark clouds starting to cast a shadow upon Sandown, most of the drivers knew that the track will not stay dry for the entirety of the day.
The first session was me getting used to a car with no power-steering and a welded diff, which was a big difference at first. The steering was much more direct and the car had more drive on the exit of sharp turns than my BMW 323i road car, which has neither of the above. Throughout my first session I was mostly just getting a feel for the car, making sure I bring it back in one piece, and I was successful with that. Time past and session two was underway, as now I have more control over the car I felt like I could go a little faster and that I did, improving my first sessions best time by about 8 seconds!
When the next session came along, the clouds grew closer and closer, and the sun was starting to fade, some knew that this would be the last dry run for the day. During that session, I gained even more time pushing my best time further but, I was still driving precautionary and knew there was much more time to be gained. Whilst in the garage after the third session, the heavens opened this caused some people to not go out again.
I thought of this time as a very steep learning experience as I have only driven in the rain once before on track, that being Phillip Island earlier in the year. As I was circulation on track for the next few sessions, I was just trying to bring the car back in one piece whilst having some fun out on track. Throughout the latter stages of the day, the track did begin to dry, but some damp patches remained and therefore I was unable to lower my best lap-time. During my final session, I was placed with some of the Alfa’s which were really fun to battle with since we were similar pace, and I ended that session fastest!
Overall, the day was organised very well and the track was presented exquisitely, it’s just a shame Melbourne weather decided to give us the usual four seasons in one day. The car prepared by the Bell’s was trouble free! Ultimately, I had a great day learning a new car with MORE power and I recommend this event to anyone who is interested in letting your car loose on track!
Blake Kolar | Member #34
BMW Drivers Club Melbourne