Daytona CEO Charles Graham received a call up from TrackTime Solutions to join their 2016 Birkett 6hr race team.
The Birkett 6 Hour Relay Race is a unique event, with 70 teams each comprising three or more cars racing around the iconic Silverstone circuit. The Daytona veteran had not driven in a motor race in anger in some 20 years so was keen to test the Radical SR3 RS before the race which was held on the Silverstone Grand Prix circuit on 21st October 2016.
“The car has just had an engine and gearbox rebuild so we gave the car a shakedown and me a test on the Friday and the times were good so I was feeling confident about the speed for the race. I qualified fastest in my group and I was scheduled to drive second and to run for 50 minutes. Once Phill Knibb had completed the first stint I made my way onto a very busy GP circuit with 69 other cars on circuit. We were in third place as I left the garage. I was using the predictive lap time system on the dash and was really happy with the times. The circuit was very busy but the marshals were all over the blue flags as soon as they saw the nose of the Daytona Radical which was really helpful in getting through the traffic. Laptimes on the Friday had been in the low 2:20’s and I was very pleased to see laps of sub 2:16s in the race.
The team were clearly pleased because on my return they told me to stay in the car as they wanted me to go out again. I had handed over to the number 3 driver Neil Primrose of Travis fame who went out and was very quick.
We then lost a couple of places when our team’s Lotus Exige went out. It was lapping slower than the two Radicals and unfortunately we got a stop and go penalty for overtaking under yellow flags. The team decided to pull the Lotus in and send Phill back out to make up some time. I was told to be ready in the car as I would be out again next. On Phill’s return I went back out on circuit in second place. I held second but could not make up the two laps we were now down on the leaders. I drove for another 50 minutes at good pace until Ed Brand my engineer came on the radio asking me to pit. Phill went back out and was then followed by Neil.
I thought I was done for the day but was then asked to go back out onto the circuit and run for 30 minutes whilst the team refuelled the other Radical and sorted tyre pressures etc. The air temperature had dropped considerably by this point and I could not manage faster than 2m 18s although this was still faster than any of the other traffic I came up against. After 30 minutes or so I was called in and jumped out of the car to be told to get back in the car and be ready to go out in case there was a problem with the other car.
At about 5hrs 49 mins into the race and, with 11 minutes remaining, the team spotted a problem with the other car and told me to get ready to go out and take the chequered flag once the other car arrived back in the pits. For some reason the other Radical was stopped further down the pitlane by one of the officials and I wasn’t allowed to take to the circuit until the other car arrived at our pit and at that moment the chequered flag went out and the pit exit was closed. We had secured second place. I must thank the team, the organisers, the officials and marshals who put on an amazing event. We will be back in 2017 for the Birkett and looking for a win.”
The TrackTime Solutions Team (Charles Graham R)