The team should by now be used to the prospect of an early start but the torrential rain and pitch black on Easter Monday didn’t make life any easier. We soon settled in to the F1 garages (only the best for the Hartech team!). Once the cars were unloaded we discussed our aims for the day, of course this was over a full cooked breakfast, and went back to the garage to get the cars out on track as quickly as possible to get maximum use of the track time. This was carried out much quicker, we have even set a record time for unloading the van. We were aided by a highly detailed kit list, on which the kettle appeared not once but twice. No cream cakes this time, but there were Easter Eggs for everyone.
Gary took the cars out first to assess the changes made from the last test day. Unfortunately the soaking track wasn’t ideal for testing as we couldn’t push the cars to their maximum potential. Once Gary was happy with the performance of the cars, even in these tricky conditions, they were passed on to Ben and Marcus (who had been eagerly waiting suited and booted....if shivering a little). This was the first time they had driven the cars on track and what a place to do it! Both cars and drivers coped well with the difficulties of the track conditions. Although a dry day would have been better the wet allowed Marcus and Ben to get used to handling the new cars at their worst without having all the pressures of a race.
After a few adaptations Marcus was happy with the set up of his car and gave it back to Gary to allow him to feel the difference in the car’s performance compared to the early morning. This was going well until he had a “moment” exiting Stowe, resulting in a brief pirouette which sadly ended with the car “kissing” the barrier. The car kept running and Gary drove it into the pits just fine, if rather sheepishly. This was believed to have only damaged the exterior bodywork of the car but it was decided to finish early and return it to Hartech for further checks. If we had been competing the car could have quite easily carried on but it was decided to call an end to the day here as there was no point in driving the green car further as everyone was happy with what had already been achieved with the car’s development. Following a check over first thing on Tuesday it was confirmed that the damage was indeed only superficial so after the bodyshop’s waved it’s magic wand it’ll be good to go again.
Ben felt the orange car was performing perfectly and needs no further adaptations before the pre meeting tests at Brands Hatch. He, like Marcus, is now itching to compete and get on the grid. Roll on Brand Hatch on 5th May!