Patrick Barrett – Smooth Sailing in England

Written by Team USA. Posted in Driver Blogs, Patrick Barrett

Published on October 24, 2007 with No Comments

Dartford, England (October 24, 2007) – It’s been smooth sailing… er, I mean driving, so far on our Great Britain journey. From the nine-and-a-half hour flight from Los Angles to Heathrow (outside of London), to the two-hour drive from the airport to our B&B in Bedford, everything was going as planned. The jet-lag isn’t as bad this time around, compared to when we were here last month testing, but your body will inevitably have a struggle getting used to the time difference.

Wednesday, our second day in England, Joel and I checked in with Palmer Sport at the Bedford Autodrome Circuit. We were immediately informed by Chris Dredge that there was an opening at the Brands Hatch Circuit for us to get a few laps in driving the Formula Palmer Audi corporate cars. We arrived at Brands two-and-a-half hours later (5 minutes late due to traffic) and were rushed to check-in. We threw on our helmets (no suit required), jumped into the FPA corporate cars and were out on course, all in a matter of 5 minutes. We got up to speed quickly and were able to complete nearly 20 laps on the 1.2-mile Indy Circuit. They didn’t produce much power, but it was enough to get a feel for the track. It was the quickest arrive and drive program I have ever experienced.

The laps go by very quickly on the Indy Circuit at Brand Hatch so it felt like we were out there for only five minutes… may have been the case, but I think I got a good idea of the course and visual references. The layout of the track is pretty spectacular, with its major elevation changes and challenging corners. The first turn, Paddock Hill Bend, is one of the most well known corners in all of England’s circuits. It’s pretty much the Laguna Seca Corkscrew of England. The approach is uphill and blind, then you flick the car to the right with a small breathe off the throttle and jump back on and let gravity take care of the rest. The corner drops down, what feels like three or four stories, and the car bottoms out nearly every lap at the compression and goes back up to Turn 2, Druid’s Bend.

Thursday we’ll drive down to Brands Hatch to check in to the hotel and prepare for the first weekend of the Formula Palmer Autumn Trophy with Friday practice the following day.

By the way it’s REALLY cold here… so cold that I’m always expecting it to snow even though it won’t.

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