P&S Answers

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Francr2009
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Re: P&S Answers

Post by Francr2009 »

Totally Agree the quality on those photos are just remarkable, love them all, thanks for sharing :) ....borrowing the last one

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Re: P&S Answers

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[15 minute read]

I'm back from Spain after the weekend. I sit down here, hit reply and basically let out a huge sigh as I'm still processing what happened and trying to recover from it, or better said, just understand it. Playlist is on as usual at these times, so here goes nothing for a, probably, very long post.

Weekend started heading to Heathrow with a friend from class. We were both leaving for the weekend and departing to Madrid within 20 minutes of each other as we didn't coordinate to catch the same flight. We show up with plenty of times as we had nothing to do, have a great (but pretty expensive) lunch, and he's off slightly before I am. Quick Instagram story, even quicker boarding and we're off. Weird feeling, I didn't think I'd be excited but I really want to go back, see the family, eat better food that I don't have to cook (thats why it's bad), you know. Go back to an even more familiar place, because Oxford kind of feels like somewhere I know now.

A couple hours and some under/oversteer calculations from class later, and we land. Couple messages from mom and Javi (friend who races), asking if I landed yet. I reply to both real quick and get out, I'm eager to set foot "home", very happy. Around 1000 steps later, doors open, family is here, just as I remember them. We go back to the car park and I already told them I'm driving. Keys to me, bluetooth on, and we're off to home. Had a great dinner at home and off to bed early for what was to come. Javi tells me it's 8:00 on site. Bummed for 30 minutes less of sleep, but it's whatever.

Few hours after, the drive I was looking forward too. 20 minutes of slow highway, sun rising and music playing. I'm at the entrance of the track by 7:55 and within 10 minutes their van shows up. Huge smile on his dad's face as always, he gives me the grid access band and the parking pass. 10 minutes after I'm greeting them both by the van, car on site, and everyone still half asleep. Plenty of how are yous, how's the master and how's the family from both sides. Pretty freaking happy to be here, despite the cold.

8:30 and Javi and I are up to the briefing room, where we discover that as it's over 35 cars on track, it's a rolling start. We speak about their pros and cons for a while and while he's used to them in karting, he does think they're too even and he'll loose a slight advantage he could have gained with a standing start due to revs/clutch. I don't think I fully agree about him gaining an advantage, but perhaps I should trust him a little more. We'll find out in a little.

Car's got new tyres all around for this race, new alignment and has been slightly risen to help weight transfer. Practice run starts and he's off. No radio on the car for now as he doesn't like it, but we're 100% on him having it connected in qualy + race as this is how you get to learn without going through telemetry, by having advice given to you at the exact moment and not 20 minutes after when you don't even remember. Practice sees him P6 out of 11. Not insane but not bad at all either. Right where I'd expect him to be myself.

In the break between Practice and qualy we get the radio installed and try to get everything up to spec. Not much you change in these cars apart from retorqueing wheels and checking tyre pressures. You'd also fix damage if you had it but that's not our case. As lots of family and friends (some closer, some sponsors) are attending, there's a lot of talking, sharing stories and laughing around. We also find some time to discuss his second sector which could still be improved a fair amount. He's into 2:17s now which is around 0.5 faster than last best, but he still has around another 0.7 to gain and we (his dad and I) do stress that a little. After last race's mishap he's reset his mindset, and he did go testing a few days before and was very happy with how the car felt, so he's confident which is what we need. I don't want to be too optimistic though.

(Soundtrack 3) Right before practice, dad grabs the headset and radio, and tells him: "Listen. Jorge will be talking to you today alright? He knows his way around the times a lot better than I do and will do a better job". Not like I was expecting that, and I honestly hate playing games with other people's money (car, fees, etc) but I felt ready to take the job. 10 minutes before go time I pull him aside. "Hey, this is the info I can give you. Lapped cars and clean air gaps you'll get anyway, but I can also give you times lap by lap, split by split, or however you want them. Position if you're ok with I'll skip as I don't want you making mistakes due to it yet. Let me know when you want the info". He replies he's cool with that and that he wants times per split, so he doesn't forget if a certain sector was good. I acknowledge and tell him I'll be super brief to keep him concentrated, and if he wants more, he can tell me after qualy. A couple minutes after and I'm helping him with the helmet, HANS, earphones and buckling him up. "Careful where you touch" he says, "We get on really well but not that much yet". This guy lol.

Qualy went alright. He couldn't really get a clean lap as 37 cars on a 3.6km track is relatively tight, especially when the fastest category is on the 2:04s and they're running 2:17s currently, but he did his best. We wasted a couple laps to find a gap and he managed a 2:18.2. That's 0.3 slower than his best, but seeing how bad traffic was, it's ok. He qualified P6 which is probably about where he should be, between 5 and 6, so he should be able to hold onto it for the race. Back in the stand, it's weighting, refueling and discussing. We speak about how his radio stopped working midway through the session and how his second sector is now the fastest on track. "I've been looking at [the current leader]", he says, "followed him for a couple laps". Good stuff. We troubleshoot the radio and think we found the issue so that's all sorted.

He's off to the grid and when he gets there his dad, a mechanic friend and I are waiting for him. A couple words of encouragement and he's got all of 8 minutes of grid procedure to himself, to concentrate, think about whatever, with no disturbance whatsoever. 3 minutes before lights out dad opens the door and talks to him for a second and then I do. "Good luck man. You have the pace and got my full trust. I know you're faster than these couple cars in front. Go for it". "I will". Handshake and door closes.

Race 1 starts with a rolling start procedure. The back of the pack is way late to the lights as they can't see them, and he's caught out a little bit but manages to keep the position. Still fast on the second sector, but he's loosing about half a second to the cars in the front in the first sector. I do let him know and keep him posted on the lapping cars coming in after lap 5 of 12. He's holding on and doing great. So far so good, but I have a feeling that he could be going faster. Then again it's similar to last race. In the end, he held onto P6 just fine, crossing the line 0.020 behind P5 and 0.500 in front of 7th. Good stuff. As soon as he's in though he tells us he didn't hear me for pretty much the whole race, so we haven't really fixed the issue yet.

Debrief for Race 1 was based on how to improve sector 1 and how to deal with following people. "You can be within 5 centimeters of their bumper but if they don't see you make a move, they'll know you're not a threat. It's important you show presence and start making attack moves, so he knows you want to go through. Pretty sure that if you pushed the guy in front and showed yourself a little you'd have forced him to mess a corner up and got through, so let's try that for next race. You're also 0.020 slower than P5 and only 0.300 from P6. There's pace". He was also complaining about brake fade, which after following very close for around 6 laps is normal. We told him the same as with the overtaking. Move out and cool them.

Between race 1 and race 2, the best race support team (= his mom) gets us a bite to eat. Some "bocadillos" with ham and cheese if you want it. Think sandwiches on a baguette. For some reason, hearing my name called by her asking how I want mine made makes my day. They don't owe me absolutely anything, yet here I am like if they knew me forever. I still don't understand it and I don't think I ever really will, but these details mean the world. With the bocadillo and a coke we hang out with the family and friends. 10 minutes before pit open he puts all the gear on and we test the radio. This is when he's talking about some friends or whatever and dad goes "And you have one of the best right here" and he nods. He gears up and we're set or so we think.

Race 2 pitlane open time is here. Radio is tested, works perfectly (for now), so off he is. Again, we're back at the grid and same procedure goes. This time, a couple pats on the knee and scarce words "You got this man. You're faster. I'll see you after". "Thanks bro". Door slams behind me and while I absolutely don't show it, I'm nervous, expectant and hoping for him to get a good result. We gave him all the tools we could and did out best. If he doesn't make it this time, if his mind isn't in the right place, he's going to stick to this place or drop. That's what I thought while climbing over the fence, but nothing was going to prepare me for what I would have to deal with after. And I thought I'd lived stuff.

"Okay mate. Last Radio check. Give me a thumbs up if you can still hear me". Thumbs up is out, we're good to go. 30 more seconds and lights go off. Formation lap is out and we're told to get behind the pitlane's fast lane for safety, mainly debris flying if a crash happens. When I hear them coming and see the safety car past the last corner, my eyes are fixed on the starting lights. All off. Safety car goes past the pitlane entry line. Shortly after, hard right and it's in. Lights... go green. "Green green green green, let's go". As soon as he's past where we are, he's already parallel to P5. Good start and when all cars are clear we sprint to the wall. Set the timing up, and keep quiet as first lap is already busy enough.

Lap 2 shows him about 0.2 faster than the car in front. "Alright mate. 0.2 faster, 0.2. You have the pace". Dad's on the next fence opening watching the times too. I'm busy keeping up with his times and splits, and looking at how the leader is doing to let him know when they start coming by. First lap is done and he's very close to P5. I'll let him race for a lap and if he doesn't get him I'll step in a little.

"First sector 0.3 faster than #20, 0.3. Go get him". Sector 2 sees him getting closer to the point they're bumper to bumper, but no overtakes. Bugatti dowhill and he gives it a go but still not aggressive enough. Onto the last turn. "Alright mate. Time to pressure. End of the straight, break the stream to the left and show him you're there. You'll also get a better exit". I stick my head out the fence and right before the braking he breaks out aggressively, gaining a great distance on braking. 2 corners after and he's up to P5. Solid move. Slight lump in my throat. He listened and made it happen. Big sigh.

No time to waste. Position is confirmed at the next split. "Very solid job. 1.5 ahead, you're currently 0.7 faster. 2 laps and he's yours, 0.7 faster, 2 laps". Onto Pegaso uphill and lapped cars are coming. "First lapped coming up, number 6. 2 turns, let him by on the downhill, no compromises". Safely through and it'd be a steady rain of lapped cars from here onwards.

"Alright mate, still faster, currently 0.3 per lap, 1 second". Lap 6 would see cars in front making a mistake and him taking P3. "Okay, you're in free air for now, car in front 2 seconds, 0.4 faster, again 2 seconds in front, 0.2 faster, no worries behind". A lap goes by and dad talks to me from the next opening over. I take one side of the headphones off and look over. I see a face between surprise and sheer happiness after he looks at the times once again: "He's third, right?" he says with a disbelief tone. A very stupid smile escapes my face, probably as big as his. "Yes he is" I nod. "Don't tell him though" he says, to which I reply "I won't" between chuckles. Pretty sure he's aware though.

(Soundtrack pt. 4) 2 laps go by and the car he had behind got overtaken. "Okay, you're 0.4 faster than the front, 1.5 seconds, 0.4 faster than behind, 4 laps to go. Max pace now." Laps go by and a couple lapping cars hurt his progress a little. "Alright mate. Still 0.4 faster both sides, 1.5 seconds. 0.4, 1.5 seconds. 2 laps to go, doubt you'll catch him, so bring it home" I tell him. Hopefully he gets to hold onto this P3. Next split he's 0.5 faster "You made me want to go for it even harder when you said I wouldn't catch him", He'd admit after the race. Slipstream is becoming a thing at this distance, and he's now 1.1 behind. Fastest lap of the race.

"Okay, next lap will likely be last, I'll let you know as soon as the leader crosses". First sector turned purple. 0.4 faster still, now less than a second behind. He reaches the uphill and does the same time on the 2nd sector. 0.7 behind. "Leader got the flag, last lap mate, last lap, 0.4 faster first sector, 0.5 away". Dad looks at me "I don't think he's going to get him". "Yeah I don't think so either. Needs another lap". Last corner, he's 0.2 behind, and picks up the flag.

"Well mate I don't know if you're aware but you just got P3. Congrats on your first Touring car podium. We'll wait for you at the scales. Good job!". At this point I have this huge smile on my face and a big "something" feeling in my throat. Dad looks at me with the biggest smile. "He finally got it" he says. "He deserves it so much. Especially after last race. He needed this bad. So happy for him" I reply. "Yeah". We head onto the scales and mom comes running. "No way! That was insane". Parents hug, mom hugs me and we walk back to the scales. Mom goes ahead and dad and I walk slowly.

"Thank you" he says "Thanks for everything you're doing". I can't help but bite my lip and smile even wider while I shake my head. "For what? I'm the one who needs to say thank you. For letting me be here, for making me a part of it. I wouldn't be here if it wasn't for you guys and the way you all are. Thank you".

I sit in the weighing lane waiting for cars to start showing up. Eventually he does, gets weighed and moved to parc ferme. I follow him and family comes in tow. We wait by the entrance while he has trouble taking his helmet off as he points to me. Steward shakes her head no. Apparently I'm not just welcome, but needed. Damn.

A minute goes by and he walks to the entrance with a big smile. Hugs mom and dad through the fence and comes to me arms wide open. Tons of pats on the back, lots of stupid smiles. I can't believe what I'm seeing and even less what I'm feeling. Celebrations are interrupted by the call to the podium. We get together just under it and before we know it, my little brother from another mother is taking the 3rd step. Plenty of claps and cheers from all around and champagne is opened and uncorked. Getting this done before the other 2 drivers is even more stressful than the race itself, because you know you're getting soaked if you don't. But he did, and all 3 got equally showered with it.

A minute after, he comes down with a P3 plaque, and the bottle in his other hand. Pictures with the family and friends are taken. "Get together you two" mom says. Another "how can this be happening and why do I deserve it" moment from me. Seconds after we go back to the stand and get to snacking. "Jorge, what's the bocadillo now, same as before?" Asks mom. "Thanks a lot but I'm good! I had enough with the previous one" "Alright but grab a bit of whatever then" she says while she points to the table full of tortilla, and a bunch of other plates of food. Little do they know that even if I wasn't full I still wouldn't be able to eat anything.

(Soundtrack pt. 5) The car was later released from parc ferme. Javi calls me up and tells me to go pick it up with him. I head out to pick his helmet + hans up and walk back the 100 meters to the stand, but he says get in. I Insist I walk but he's not having it. Tells me to sit on the weigh box and drives me to the stand. We place the car for pictures and take a few.

Minutes after, he's at the back of the van so I go take a look at what's happening. before I get there, he comes with a bag and thinking he was bringing something to the table I stop and step aside. He stops in front and hands me the bag. "This is for you. Thank you for coming and for all the help". I open it and find a hoodie from the series. After a bunch of thank yous and you didn't have tos, I start to struggle to find the words to say. Race weekend was done and what a weekend.

Shortly past 4PM they would be ready to leave as the mechanic put the car on the trailer. Dad thanks me way more than he should, mom does the same, and Mr. 3rd place and I discuss when is the next time we're meeting between hugs before parting ways. Truly unbelievable.

I still can't find the words to tell them how much they're doing for a guy that just likes to hang around great people. And I'm probably not realising how much this little motherfucker actually appreciates me. Both me and his whole family including him are not ones to express emotions, so it really shook me when her mom told me they're very aware of how i'm doing because he tells them, how often he talks about me and how thankful they are for having me. It's so humbling it's unbelievable, and I don't think I deserve it at all. I'm extremely happy they feel that way, because I have always felt that I "needed" to be here, and seeing me be of actual use to him is something that warms my heart way more than it probably should. I could have left for Oxford earlier in September, and stayed in Oxford this weekend, but when I feel I need to be somewhere, I have to go, and I'm so glad I did.

Words don't describe what was felt and I'm pretty sure this doesn't even come close to describing it, but I tried my best. Today was emotional as I recalled the whole day, how he came to the track with his mind settled, at peace with the previous race and ready to take this one. Seeing him how I saw him back in October was very hard. This is the best reward to fix that and being able to say I played a little part on it makes me so very happy. That, plus them making me feel part of the family, plus the gift, the thank you for flying out, the "see this guy? He's come here for me today and leaves tomorrow" with a huge smile, the food giving, the trust to be handed the radio to talk to him, I can't even put it into words. I don't normally cry let alone from happiness, but I might have shed a tear or two.

There are just no words that convey this.

And yes, he's 14.

Hopefully you got 10% of the feelings that were felt that day. I swear if I was any prouder my heart would explode. Here are some pictures:
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Maxidyne
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Re: P&S Answers

Post by Maxidyne »

Another great report of a nice weekend of racing and seeing family and friends! You have a easy to read writing style that isn't boring, keeps you want to read and read.

Must have been such a nice feeling seeing everybody and coaching Javi during the race weekend. Bummer the radio communications didn't work as supposed to. In the end a 3rd place, congratulations for Javi and the team. Sounds like he's a natural born racer. And you coached him as a race engineer (as you know I wanted to be a race engineer) and he managed a great result. And you had a part in it. Racing is a team effort. Must be a great feeling being appreciated by him and his family. Enjoy it, you've deserved it. You are a great friend! Up to next race, hope Javi can replicate a 3rd place or even better, I'm rooting for team Javi!
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Plane And Simple
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Re: P&S Answers

Post by Plane And Simple »

Maxidyne wrote:
2022/11/22 09:35
Another great report of a nice weekend of racing and seeing family and friends! You have a easy to read writing style that isn't boring, keeps you want to read and read.

Must have been such a nice feeling seeing everybody and coaching Javi during the race weekend. Bummer the radio communications didn't work as supposed to. In the end a 3rd place, congratulations for Javi and the team. Sounds like he's a natural born racer. And you coached him as a race engineer (as you know I wanted to be a race engineer) and he managed a great result. And you had a part in it. Racing is a team effort. Must be a great feeling being appreciated by him and his family. Enjoy it, you've deserved it. You are a great friend! Up to next race, hope Javi can replicate a 3rd place or even better, I'm rooting for team Javi!
I like to think I took part in it, but that's not that important anyway. He got a good result and that's what matters to me. Race engineering is so rewarding it's unbelievable honestly. I'd do this for my whole life. We'll see what the future holds in this regard.

It was great to see everyone as well, both family in the afternoon and them in the morning. The appreciation thing is insane. It's even better seeing I don't really expect it from them. Crazy.
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Re: P&S Answers

Post by Alex »

Great read! Glad he got a good result and you had a good time!
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-Alex

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