Donington Race Day

Aston Martin Owners Club Race Meeting
Classic Jaguar World XJS Challenge (Dennis) & Proteus Sportscars Jaguars (Adam)

Practice was good and the previous track day did help a little, even though that was on the GP circuit. Craner was very exciting, but I don’t think I got anywhere near what the car could do through there. I ended up in a reasonable position, but a slight improvement would have put me quite a bit higher up.

The Race
I lined up in my spot on what was a very large grid. When the green light came on I got a great start, much better than anyone else around me. I ended up on the inside into Redgate and this would have work out well, but I was too weak under braking. I fell into line for the run into Hollywood and Craner Curves. Half way down the Craner Curves I could see lots of cars and carnage on the inside of the corner. A red E-type had had a coming together with others and I think others took to the grass in avoidance. Luckily this didn’t effect me and I stopped myself looking at it and got on with the job in hand – the Old Hairpin. On the climb up to McLeans I thought that the race would be stopped due to the accident, but at this point it hadn’t been so I pushed on. Sure enough the reds came out as I was on the long straight near the Dunlop bridge. One driver hadn’t noticed and came steaming through on the inside into the chicane. Luckily he noticed in time and didn’t collect the cars that had stopped on the start-finish straight.

Early in the race

After a short wait and a worrying moment in which we got a few spots of rain the second race got underway. I got a good start again, but this time the coupe ahead of me was wise to me coming down the inside and blocked. I still held an inside line and I think I got past somebody in the traffic jam that was the first corner. On the exit I had a better run out of the corner and got some before Hollywood. Through the Craner Curves and braking for the old hairpin I got a couple of other people. Not quite Senna-esque, but I enjoyed it immensely. I was through McLeans and this marked the start of a whole lap where I wouldn’t pass anybody! I did have a look into Coppice, but it wasn’t on. I concentrated on getting really close to the car in front. I was chasing a rebodied XK140 which seemed to be quick on the straight, but I had the measure of him in the corners.


The following lap I had a better run down the Craner Curves, through the Old Hairpin and was quick enough through McLeans to have a good stab into Coppice. This was it for the rest of the race in terms of close racing. I got past a few others, but these were due to their mistakes. I started to slide the car about a bit in a few of the corners – especially Redgate. The back was coming round under acceleration each time, but a small amount of opposite lock was correcting this. I think this actually was having a detrimental effect on the lap times. I ended up losing time due to this or maybe because the tyres went off. At least I knew I was somewhere near the limit. My fastest lap time was quicker than all the other standard XJSs for the day. I really enjoyed my race at Donington and it was made all the better because quite a few people I know were there.


“I want to throw up” – Shovel


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