Saturday 27th May saw rounds 3 and 4 of the Maximumgroup.Net VAG Trophy taking place at Snetterton Circuit in Norfolk. With temperatures set to be in excess of 28°C, it was going to be a test of both man and machine in a very challenging environment.
|Friday was a testing day and a particular challenge for Kyle as he had never raced at Snetterton before. Although he had put in many hours of practice in a simulator, the challenge of racing at a new circuit should never be underestimated. The high temperatures also didn’t help as the setup of the car had to be optimised for the conditions and the in-car temperatures of the car (hitting more than 60°C at some points) made maintaining concentration difficult for the drivers.|| |
© Maximumgroup.net VAG Trophy. Photo: Jakob Ebrey
Kyle suffered from some handling issues in the first couple of practice sessions and worked closely with his mechanics to identify the issues. After a series of investigations and adjustments, Kyle headed out for his final practice session and, thankfully, the car was much more manageable and Kyle was confident that he would be able to be competitive in the qualifying session on Saturday morning. Race day arrived and Kyle had set himself clear targets for the day; to qualify in 12th or better and to finish both races in 10th or better. Most important, however, was to bring the car home and with no damage, especially as Getac Sales Director, Jackson White, was in attendance with customers.
|© Maximumgroup.net VAG Trophy. Photo: Jakob Ebrey||Heading out for qualifying with new tyres, Kyle decided to take the first two laps gently to warm them up. It was important not to take too much life out of the tyres as they would have to last for qualfying and both races. As is often the case, traffic was a problem but Kyle managed to find space and have a clear track for two flying laps. Unfortunately, on his third flying lap he pushed just a little too hard and put a couple of wheels on to the grass and had to abandon that lap. Even with this small mistake, Kyle still qualified in 11th, fulfilling his first goal of the weekend.|
|Spurred on by this early success, Kyle continued his progress forward and gradually caught up with the pack in front. As the laps passed and his confidence grew, Kyle was able to consistently push that little bit harder and carry a little more speed into the mighty turn 1. This got him up to 9th and, coming out of the final corner, Kyle was poised to move up into 8th only to be met with a red flag as the race had had to be stopped owing to a car stopped in a dangerous position coming out of turn 1. Although disappointed that he didn’t have an opportunity to move up into 8th, Kyle was exceptionally happy with his performance in his first race, especially considering that many of his competitors, including some of those who he had beaten, had been driving in professional motorsport for a number of years.|
|With a couple of hours to go before Kyle’s first race, the glorious weather suddenly changed and a heavy storm hit the track. With torrential rain, thunder and lightning, the storm threatened to ruin the race action for the day. Fortunately, it departed as quickly as it arrived and the clear skies and sunshine quickly dried out the track so that, by the time Kyle headed out on to the track for his first race, it was completely dry again.|
|Kyle ran through the usual pre-race procedures on the Green Flag lap and made sure that his tyres were warmed up properly before stopping in his grid slot on the 6th row of the grid. A few seconds lighter and the race was underway with Kyle making a great start. In the run to the first corner, Kyle had already made up two places. Showing great car control and bravery, Kyle made up another place around the outside. Having had such a great start, Kyle settled in to a rhythm and began to set about making further progress against the more experienced drivers ahead of him.|
|The 15 minutes of the race went by incredibly quickly and without incident. There may have been a further opportunity for Kyle to take 8th place at the end of the final lap but it would have been quite risky and, showing great maturity, Kyle decided that it would be better to preserve the life in his tyres for a better chance to progress in race two. As he crossed the line in 9th place, Kyle has achieved the second of his three race objectives. The starting grid for the second race is (partially) decided by a reverse grid draw. As Kyle was in 9th position this meant that there was an opportunity for him to be promoted to either pole position or second place but, unfortunately, 7th was drawn which meant that he retained his 9th place on the grid for the second race.|
|Race two started with a very slow Green Flag lap which compromised Kyle’s tyre warm up compared to the first race. This meant that, when the lights went out, Kyle got a little more wheelspin than he would have liked but, in spite of this, he still made progress and was up into 7th by the first corner. Just ahead of him, two cars made contact which moved Kyle further up the order. However, as the laps went on, Kyle’s car began to understeer which meant that, coming out of the corners and hitting the straights, his exits were compromised which left him more vulnerable on the following straights.|
|Kyle defended valiantly but the temperatures and race action of the day so far had taken the best of the life out of the tyres and ended up running slightly wide again. With worn, dirty tyres, Kyle decided that he was probably better off defending his current 8th position heading into the last lap. Nursing the understeer throughout the final lap, he managed to hold position, with the next car hunting him down and catching him turn by turn. Then he headed into the pit straight and took the chequered flag to come home 8th.|
|With this result, Kyle had managed to achieve his race targets and, importantly, had brought the car home in both races, and without a scratch on it. His finishes of 9th and 8th were an improvement from the 9th and 11th from Rockingham which is a move in the right direction and the progress that Kyle was hoping for. The next two rounds are at Brands Hatch in Kent – a circuit that Kyle knows very well – so he has high hopes for both of those rounds.|
|After the day’s racing, Kyle said: “The support that I have had from Getac is second to none and really does spur me on to perform to my very best. Getac are really enabling me to live a childhood dream and show that I can mix it with the best of them on track. I am truly honoured to be representing such a fantastic company on such a big stage, and Getac are pivotal partners in this, my early career, and I look forward to many great moments with them in the future.”|
|The next round of the championship takes place at Brands Hatch in Kent on Saturday 5th August 2017.|