This past weekend I was back at Gatebil´s main July event after not being able to attend the last 4 years. There are so many reasons for going, but most importantly I was there to show off the Supertourisme car, the Danish Supertourisme series and of course see friends! :)
My first race ever was at Gatebil July 2009 in the Extreme series. To be honest my car was not a good one, but to participate there felt like the most natural thing in the world. And luckily it has been ever since. That race was my first step in to the racing world, and I´ve loved every minute of it since.
I have been at Gatebil with all the race cars I have had, but this year was different. Why? Well, now I knew I had a pretty good chance of being right up there with the best drivers in Gatebil Extreme.
Let´s look at the stats. I have a space frame race car which weighs about 850 kg without the driver. It has a 3,5 L V6 engine with around 300 bhp. A stiff rear axle, Öhlins dampers, big brakes etc. I knew I didn´t have a chance on the straights because I would be competing against cars with more than 7-800 bhp but in the corners I did. In the first practice of the weekend I had the 3rd fastest time. On Friday´s Time Attack I finished 7th out of 31!
Then came the downer of the weekend. I was about to drive my first race with this car in heavy rain. I had a good chance because horsepower doesn´t mean as much in these conditions. As we left the pit it started and around the first corner it was really bad. I saw NOTHING. And I mean nothing. Luckily we have rain lights and through the thick fog on my front windscreen I could kind of make out where the other cars were, but barely. There was so much water pouring in to the car. Through the windscreen, up from the floor, through the side windows. At one point I had my left hand on the steering wheel and my right hand was in front of a water spray that I had straight in to my face. I radioed to the team that this was bad, but I still wanted to see if I could handle it. 2 corners before the start I made the call to come in. It was dangerous and not worth putting myself and everyone else out there in danger. I had to follow the colour from umbrellas to find my way back in to the pit. The team cleaned the windscreen and I set off again. After half a lap it was as bad as before and I dropped out of the race. A race that could have been mine due to the conditions! The positive side is that this happened here and not during a championship weekend. The team will now work on making this a lot better for the next time we set off in the rain. I was also able to finish Saturday with the best time on the last practice which was in damp / dry conditions.
For Sunday I had reset and forgotten about the troubles the day before. We were in for a dry race and I was starting from 19th position due to a DNF the day before. I had a good start and was in some great fights. I had made my way up to 8th position before getting hit and spun in a slow corner. Dropped a few places and finished 11th. On the dry I really got to feel the power of the other cars on the straights. It was frustrating as I was much faster in the corners. Still, this was good experience for me and really happy to show what the car is made of.
There was a lot of attention around the car and the team which was our reason for being there! A big thanks to my sponsors, Team Roed Performance, Christian, Anders, Moonshine Racing and of course Gatebil for a great weekend. Hopefully Gatebil Extreme can be on my calendar each year! :)
All photos by Camilla S. Tofterå