eBay Motors Blog: Nick Foster, Rockingham
Submitted on September 25th 2012 10:21 by James Mappin.
Rockingham turned out to be one of those weekends where we had to deal with a real mix of conditions and everything that the weather could throw at us.
It started off in the dry on Saturday but it was difficult for us against the NGTC cars. The main different we have compared to them is that they have bigger wheels and tyres, which means they have a larger footprint on the circuit.
That difference doesn’t matter as much when you’re coming into something like a 90 degree corner that isn’t too long and you don’t lose as much time to them; maybe just a little bit under braking. However, at Rockingham you have an infield section that features very long, left-hand corner and the sheer mechanical grip that the NGTC is something we can’t match.
It doesn’t matter how good the eBay Motors car is and how well the team works on the set-up, the simple fact is that you can’t beat physics.
Race one was held in the dry, and that was hard work for us but we came through to tenth and then the rain arrived. In race two, we had to deal with some aquaplaning and with the car moving around in standing water. Race three then had less rain, but perversely it was actually more slippery on track. The circuit was more greasy than it had been in race two and the car was dancing around a lot more.
In a rear-wheel drive car like the BMW, you can’t recover as easily if you get it wrong and there can be a high penalty to pay. I did make one mistake and run wide but managed to get back on track and take a third top ten of the weekend.
It’s not the first time we’ve had rain this season and Rockingham wasn’t as bad as we faced at Thruxton, we had some major aquaplaning to deal with there. Although it wasn’t as tough as there, you still had to be careful to pick where you were going to put the car as there were puddles in different places and it wasn’t easy at all.
Where I maybe was able to make the most of the conditions was with the tyres, as although tyre wear was higher than at other events, I was able to make the tyres last more than the other S2000 cars and some of the NGTC cars. The fact that the rear-wheel drive cars don’t drop off quite as much meant we could come back at the other teams and make places up later on.
In that situation you almost have to save the tyres early on and then plan your attack towards the end. As a racing driver, that can be a frustrating approach to have to take, but it is the way to do it.
Overall, I moved into the top ten in the standings which is good for me but I think we lost out because of the rain. We’d all had a good result in race one and although we knew the limitations of the car around Rockingham, I think we would have been on for better results if it had stayed dry.