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exchange of the loveseat | October 1st

Hey there inhabitants of the world, as I promised to elaborate on a pitstop, here she goes.

To me a pitstop actually is more like and exchange of the loveseat the reason being that in the end, the place where a driver wants and ‘loves’ to be is the drivers seat a.k.a. loveseat.

It all sounds pretty straight forward doesn’t it, 1 driver out 1 driver in and GO. Well boys and girls I can tell you it just might be a bit harder then it all  sounds and looks.

To the point! what do you have to do before and during a pitstop?
There are actually quite a couple of things we have to keep an eye on starting with the team radio. Last lap I usually switch to NRJ! Kidding…
We ‘just’ have to keep pushing on track till we get the call to “box this lap!” The outlap, meaning the last lap before you go into the pits, is always very important. We can’t afford to lose time here because we are dealing with other stuff like seat belts etc.
On the final straight line before the pitlane-entry we(driver in that stint) loosen the belts but you don’t! undo them. Entering the pitlane which we do as fast as possible by braking as late as we can. Remember; during our events the pitlane speed is only 50kmh, 1kmh too fast; penalty, 1kmh to slow, by braking too hard; time loss.
Finally in the pitlane with the pit speed limiter engaged we get ready for the driver change. At the last moment we unplug the team radio from the jack in the car and put our left hand on the ‘engine off’ button.
Approaching the team you want to brake as late as possible, just like we do with the pitlane entry, we do this by slightly hitting the STOP-board. Just before you hit it you turn off the engine and leave it in 1st gear. (mechanics are not allowed to touch the car before the engine is switched off). When the engine is off it is just a matter of undoing the belts by turning the latch on the buckle and we try to worm ourselves out of the loveseat as fast as possible allowing our fellow racer to get back in it just as fast as I/he/maybe even she came out. Your job is not done yet though. You have to assist your mate by putting the belt in the right position and clicking all 4 separate pieces back in the buckle and just before slamming the door shut again you reconnect the radio back into the jack.

Meanwhile, starting from when we switched off the engine, the real heroes are doing the manly stuff.
If everything goes according to plan these guys (Marcus and Adrian) are able to change all 4 wheels weighing 20kg per in less then 20sec.
As soon as they are done they yank out the air pressured hose from the airjack of the car dropping it back onto its rubbers and off she goes.

All in all the whole circus takes about 20sec (All 4 wheels and driver swapped for a new one). The time from pitlane-entry to pitlane-exit depends purely on the track and the length of the pitlane.

I hope I was able to illustrate a pitstop for you guys, just so you understand a bit better what is actually going on.

This weekend we are racing in Misano track for the penultimate round of the Blanc Pain Sprint Series. Hope you guys will be following me or at least the racing.


racing against myself | September 14th

Hey there humanity, whut up?

We had a race last weekend and and I owe you people an update. It wasn’t too much of a party to come back from though. The Blancpain Sprint Series event took place in Portimao in the Algarve region well know mostly to … golfers actually.

It was the first time I was on this particular track and it is a hell of a ride I can tell you. The track has many and big elevation changes and a lot of blind corners which makes it massively exciting but difficult to drive.

It took a lot of time for me to get into my rhythm again, after 2 MONTHS of summerbreak, to be honest. Never-the-less, Max v. S. and me pushed and kept pushing. Maybe even a bit too much we found out later. The track is known for its abrasive surface which makes it really hard on the tyres. By pushing (which tends to become over-pushing really fast) you just ask too much from the tyres losing their optimal grip almost instantly.

Let’s get to the point; qualified 11th, finished qualifying race 8th and a retirement after the first lap of the main race due to a minor miscalculation which resulted in an accident making the car unable to drive any further. (Unless you wanna make 360’s counter clockwise, but that wasn’t the gist of the thing). Now you guys will probably understand why the ,in racing ever so normal adrenalin rush turned into a hangoverlike feeling.

Don’t get me wrong here people. I’m in a very positive mood. We still have 2 races to go in this championship, one in Misano and one in Zandvoort, both tracks I have raced on so both occasions no room for excuses or crybabying.One blessing in disguise is an extra set of new tires we can hopefully use in Misano, the reason being the obvious one because we didn’t get to use it in Portimao in the main race.

I’m going to keep my promise guys and I will elaborate a pit stop before the next race.

Lets burn some rubber, a dopo amici.

RAW CHANGES! A new update! | August 11th

Hi folks!
Long time no see.

We have not been too consequent with our racing updates lately…
But here we are again to provide you guys with some inside info.

Worth mentioning is that the concept RAWsister (the writer of our blogs) will not continue in the way you were used to. RAWsister has her own business to take care of now, which you can follow on her website lucaszymkowiak.com.
From now on, I, Jules, will keep the blog. I’m going to provide you with the finest details about racing, my team, the do’s, the dont’s and so on. Because after all, I’m in the middle this thing…

I think I’d better start at the beginning and tell you about some things that’ve changed.
In the first place: at one of the many career junctions you come across during your life, I took a right at the end of last year instead of a straight. This means I am not competing in single-seaters anymore. I made the step ‘into’ GT’s and I am now racing a Bentley Continental GT3 for Bentley HTP Team.
This is totally new for me. Some changes: In this new class 1 hour races are driven by TWO drivers per car, meaning an obligated pitstop between 25’ and 35’ minutes in the race with a tyre and driver change.

We are now four races deep into the season which means Coupe de paques in Nogaro(F), Brands Hatch(GB), Zolder(B) and Moscow(R) are done and dusted. To be honest we, and I say we because racing is a teamsport, had some troubles getting started and getting everything dialled in but slowly and surely we are getting there.

Moscow was our last race where the team showed a strong performance. My team mates Maxi Buhk and Vincent Abril scored Bentley’s first victory in the Blanc Pain GT series, I am really proud of them and the team. We have to remember that it is the first year for the HTP squad racing with a Bentley which makes the result even more remarkable. My new team mate Max Van Splunteren and I were struggling a bit more tough. It was Max’ first race in a Bentley continental GT3 and we just couldn’t really optimise my qualifying result because at some point during the race I got a bit eager trying to overtake. So instead of gaining 1 position we lost one.

In the end Max and I learned a lot during this meeting. We not only got to know each better we also learned a lot on track. We are gonna have to try to keep the learning curve steep, so you guys can see us on the podium soon.

During the season I will elaborate some of the points that are interesting for you to know like for example what happens during a pit stop or how I prepare before I get in the driver’s seat etc. I hope that you’re interested and that you will stay tuned!

See you!

Bed of roses, Nürburgring | August 19th

It’s been a while, minus two race weekends which I (we) mostly want to forget, no inspiring moments to rejoice or write about.
Honestly speaking, we’ve been struggling to get a grip on things.
Trying to plow a path down the fame lane aint a cinch. Neither is it a bed of roses, its more like somebody plowed my roses in the park at the Norisring and now I gotta start all over again.

As it was and is:
We were on a rollercoaster ride, enjoying the thrill and excitement of it all in the FIA F3 European Championship.
Then came the Norisring, DNF’d the whole thing, fast forward to Russia, no great results to speak of, nor points. Frustration.
Red Bull Ring: good Sunday, good overtaking, but we had to be careful, crashes tend to cling to a race driver and before you know it your second and third names are “accident prone”.
So fast forward to Nürburgring, if I looked green it was because of the bile creeping up as a skirmish arose here and there, but all in all we did finish all three races and managed to get a point and a rookie podium.

Jules worked hard, raced intelligently and kept his nose clean. I am proud of him.

Next race Autodromo Internazionale “Enzo e Dino Ferrari” Imola, looking forward instead of fast forwarding away the past, and just maybe we can turn the clock back some, as is the circuit of Imola, and grab another good streak and maybe even a podium.

I know we can.