Despite it being the middle of August the early-morning conditions for the second Kempt GP were unseasonably chill and blustery. Steaming cups of tea were handed out all round, accompanied by the heart-warming sight of the fantastic mix of motors that our guests had brought with them. In addition to the Lotus and Porsche (and Chris’s Smart Roadster) we had a Caterham, a Toyota MR2, a Nürburgring-proven Integra Type-R and - courtesy of Mr. James Bromley - a Ferrari 360 Modena. Oh yes.
We also had the added novelty of two complete novices attending. When I say novice I don’t mean new to racing but new to driving cars - neither had a licence. We owe our thanks to the Car Limits team and Emma in particular for their patience and willingness to help: young Sam effectively had his first driving lesson in a Subaru Impreza WRX! It will be a long time before they forget the “demonstration” laps kindly provided by Andrew, although I do fear for the instructor that gives Sam his first official lesson…
The morning session, therefore, saw everyone develop their skills and find new limits to their driving abilities. What’s more, keeping warm was easy with the fabled High Speed Bend getting the blood pumping. Being asked to turn left with one finger at 70mph is memorable to say the least.
Adjourning for a pub lunch gave the sun just enough time to burn through the gloom and finally summer was restored. As motorsport fans will know heat = fast times and that was very much the case in the afternoon. As cars screeched around the high speed Small Circuit and the more complex Big Circuit it became clear that this was a particularly swift bunch and - almost as a mark of approval for the feats on display - a WWII Hawker Hurricane repeatedly buzzed the airfield, often coinciding with the Ferrari’s banshee-wail runs on the Small Circuit.
Rob and Emma once again sat in the co-pilot’s seats of the Elise and Boxster as we set our lap times. It became clear that the competitive instinct was kicking in with a vengeance as the lap records tumbled only to be beaten again by a new driver. Our novices in particular put in some extraordinary times, being well on the pace. As Andrew explained they weren’t inhibited by the years of bad habits that the rest of us had and - crucially - would actually do as they were told.
The final results were oh-so-close, highlighting the high level of competition on the day and the aggregate scores over both circuits showed three drivers vying for first place. In the end it was James who topped the combined times for both courses, followed by Mark in second and Will in a very close third. Congratulations to Mark for his performance on the Big Circuit, which took him to the top of our Fastest Lap leader board and commiserations to Will who missed out on this accolade by just a quarter of a second. Incredible.
Other highlights of the day include the numerous and hilarious spins that punctuated the morning session (Chris winning that particular contest), a spectacular wipe out from the Ferrari and the MR2’s tendency to collect cones.
Finally we would like to say a massive thank you to our guests: Mark, Will, James, Matt, Mike, Tony, Amanda, Noam and Sam who now join the exclusive ranks of the Kempt GP alumni who made the event the success it was. We can’t wait for the next one in September, if you fancy it and think you qualify then please get in touch.