Yesterday I had my first test in a Formula Vee. And… Wow.
I went up to Bruntingthorpe to meet the brilliant Alan Harding and his engineer Dan. We first took to the track in an MX5 to learn the lines and braking points for the Vee, which felt rather strange in the road car. Alan put up with my rather slow start to the day as I adjusted to a different style of driving. My brain was a bit slow to process learning a new track and not using engine braking.
After finally improving a bit, we changed over to the Vee. I was slightly nervous as I settled into the lower seating position and felt the rather strange H-pattern box.
But once on track – wow. I enjoyed the first lap so much I totally forgot to box and went around for a second. I’ve never driven anything like it, and I could instantly tell it was going to hook me in.
I had to keep an eye on revs – not exceeding a certain amount and not dropping below a set limit either. On the straights I had to check the oil pressure too. It sounds simple, but that mixed with counting laps, learning a totally new type of car and a new track had me pretty close to my mental capacity.
The speed was astonishing, it munched up a road car that was testing on the straights. It accelerates wildly fast, and it is by far the most agile car I’ve ever driven.
In my stupidity, I was braking unnecessarily for the corner before the home straight – something I only realised at the end of the session. Even so, I was within 0.1 of the top target time Alan set me, which I was pretty happy with. After a dodgy start in the morning, I had settled in and started to improve fast. That’s the first time I’ve worked on overall speed rather than just basic lines and technique, and it feels like the start of another enormous chapter of learning.
I’m truly hooked, and can’t wait to get back in the cockpit. For now, I still have a massive grin on my face.