Another week, another test session for Grabko Grand Prix!
This week concentration was put on trying out karts at Gokartcentralen that haven't been used yet by the team. Engineers arranged with track officials to try out karts 15 and 3 this time around.
On a day when the circuit and its karts had been subjected to an earlier layman LeMans event that had left both karts and track dirty and slippery, conditions were difficult, but the team had been encouraged by earlier test sessions during the week in which it saw new signing Erkin Bour set a new track record on the updated layout with a 35.526s lap.
The announce from the Championship Steering Group came down to the teams that the first round results of the Gokartcentralen Open GP Electric Gokart Championhip0 would be nullified, and that the restart of the series would be delayed 2 months in order to work out the technical problems with the power unit overheating issue.
Martin Svensson, Open GP President, and decorated racing driver in his own right, explained that it was a tough decision, but it meant that when the series did resume, it would be under proper racing conditions, which is the most important thing for everyone involved.
In the mean time, the team had a quiet test session in which Dan was present to continue data collection and performance development of the new track layout and driving characteristics of the new racing chassis specifications. He drove karts 6 and 16 in a two session test in which he set a personal best 36.716 lap on his 2nd run, despite the conditions being far from optimal.
In the weeks since the last testing session here, winter had set in and it was below freezing temperatures outside, making for slippery and colder track conditions in the climate controlled facility. Given this, Dan's times were encouraging, as the team has started to get to grips with the new chassis and the track begins to work in its new optimal racing line over time.
Afterwards, he was quietly satisfied with the day. "Yeah, we tried a few different things today, so I'm relatively happy with the times. With Erkin and Lilleman (Svensson) also providing us with valuable data now as well, its helped all of us, my own development as well. It feels like there were 3-4 tenths in it if I'd been here a week ago, before the weather turned, but of course we were busy winning the first round of the Gokartcenter Winter Le Mans Series!"
When asked about the Open GP Championship decision, he said, "No doubt about it, it was the right decision. They didn't have to do it, but they have shown their true colors as a proper motorsport series by doing this. All the drivers in the series agree and we are looking forward to getting started again in a couple of months!"
So another week in the life of a fledgling race team!
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MAIDEN VICTORY AS NEW DRIVERS SHINE
Grabko Grand Prix celebrated the recent drivers signings in style, putting in a professional performance that despite an adventurous final stint, saw the team winning round 1 of the Gokartcenter Winter LeMans Series with what turned out to be a more comfortable margin than expected.
Team race engineers laid out the planned strategy, but in order to be able to run plan A, the drivers needed to deliver pole position in qualifying. So the pressure was on for the new signings to live up to their billing.
The circuit itself is short, fast, and physically demanding, with the course record having stood for many years now at 24.04s. The start finish line is oddly situated so that it serves directly as the entrance to the apex of the high speed 180 degree turn 1 at the end of the short start/finish straight. Turn 2 then is just a slight junk to the right before the first of two hard braking zones at the turn 3 and 4 chicane complex, known by the drivers as the "pizza slice." Accelerating out through the high speed right hand combinations of turns 5, 6 and 7, powering through the slight left handed at turn 8, and then entering the second hard braking zone at the turn 9 left handed hairpin. Getting a good exit is key as carrying speed is all important at the final inverted apexed turn 10 hairpin that brings you back onto the front straight to do it all over again.