National Championship Round 6 Oulton Park

British Championship Round 6 – Oulton Park

Qualifying; P4

After struggling during Friday testing for outright speed compared to the rest of the field I went into qualifying unsure of what to expect and where our true pace was. It became clear during the first laps of qualifying that the small set up changes we made overnight had transformed the car and we were back where we belonged setting front running times. I improved with every lap of the session opting to run in clear air, a tow around Oulton park is worth up to 4 tenths a lap but I felt more comfortable running by myself where I could solely focus on extracting the most out of the car on every corner. With only a few minutes to go in the session I set a time good enough for P3 on the grid only to get demoted to 4th on the last lap by 0.032 of a second. To turn around an 0.8’s deficit from the front running times to a matter of hundredths was great and gave me confidence going into the races that a podium was possible.

Race 1; P5

The opening lap was as manic as always as I maintained position and had to defend from last years champion as well as attack the cars ahead through every corner. The race began to settle down and went from a usual Formula Ford scrap into a procession. with the tight and high speed circuit proving surprisingly hard to overtake. Around the half way point of the race the two cars in front ran side by side into the second chicane, I chose to follow the car on the inside hoping he would force the door open and we could both slide through but he backed out of the overtake at the last second forcing me to almost stop on track to avoid contact, this allowed the car behind to drive straight passed me on the apex of the corner dropping me down to 5th. The last few laps of the race were spent battling hard for 4th place but a real opportunity never presented itself and I crossed the line a disappointed 5th.

Race 2; P6

After a fairly quiet race 1 by formula ford standards race 2 certainly made up for the lack of action. After poor start getting squeezed between a slow starting Niall Murray and the pit wall I dropped down to 6th at the end of the lap. We had made some set up changes after race 1 which unfortunately meant I struggled for out right speed in this race. With a titanic battle raging up front I hung on to the back of the leading group hoping for some carnage and opportunities to present themselves. Frustratingly this never happened, despite all the fighting in front there was little actual passing moves completed so the chance to capitalise on any gaps that appeared in front never came. I crossed the line still stuck in 6th place after another frustrating race

Overall the weekend was surprisingly tough, I had arrived at Oulton Park with high hopes given the recent success I had at circuits where I had struggled in the past but that never transferred into this weekend.
Round 7 of the Championship takes place at Croft in a months time, a circuit I have never been to before so I’m looking forward to the challenge.

Twitter- @Jamietracing
Facebook – Jamie Thorburn Racing
Instagram – Jamiewsthorburn

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National Championship Round 5, Castle Combe

2018 National Championship Round 5
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British Championship Round 5 – Castle Combe

Qualifying; P2

This qualifying session was undoubtably my best of the year, every lap I improved and sat on provisional pole at the halfway point of the session. Castle Combe is a high speed circuit so a slipstream is essential for setting a quick time, in the closing moments of the session I dropped back into a queue of cars in search of a tow. I managed to pull of an almost perfect last lap to break the lap record by over 2 tenths! only to have my new lap record beaten seconds later by Niall Murray as he went to the top of the times by a tiny margin of 0.093’s.

Race 1; P2

A fantastic start and opening few corners allowed me to challenge for the lead going into Tower bend, the move never quite came of as I settled back into line in 2nd place. Over the next few laps I sat right on the race leaders gearbox as we pulled away from the rest of the field. By the closing stages of the race the gap we had pulled over the rest of the cars was over 6 seconds which highlights just how quick the pace at the front had been. On the last lap I began to gain on the race leader and forced him into a mistake at the first chicane, this brought me right back onto his tail as we entered the final few corners. I challenged for the lead into the final turn but his better exit meant he crossed the line in front by a tiny margin of 0.2’s

Race 2; DNF

After another great start I challenged for the race lead again on the opening lap however in doing so made a slight mistake which dropped me to third along the pit straight. On the next lap I brought down the gap to the top 2 cars considerably and was setting up a pass for second when I made the smallest mistake going into the 2nd high speed chicane. I clipped the inside tyre stack which ripped the wheel from my hands and bent the suspension enough to cause me to retire the car from what was shaping up to be another very competitive drive.

Race 3; P9

The disaster of race 2 meant I started race 3 last, so far back I could hardly see the start lights. The opening laps where very fun moving from last up to inside the top 15. I pulled off some spectacular overtakes to get inside the top 10 within the first half of the race. Unfortunately the top 9 cars had broken away from the main group and it took me a few precious laps to close the gap. Despite running without a slipstream my times where still faster than the leading group as I closed on the top 8. With just under 5 minutes to go I caught the lead pack and began to work my way through up to P7. Unfortunately the 6th place car spun on the last lap in front of me through the chicane and I had to take to the grass to avoid an accident, this dropped me down to 9th and I had no time to recover the lost ground.

Overall it was a solid weekend, to break the lap record in qualifying underlined the speed that I had all weekend and, after the heartbreak of Kirkistown, where I was wiped out of 3rd place in both races, it was a great way to bounce back and reward the team for all their hard work with a 2nd place in race 1. Without the mistake in race 2 I am confident that another podium was on the cards if not more.

Huge thank you as always to my team, sponsors and family for the support across the whole weekend, through the highs and lows.
Oulton Park is next and I already cant wait to get back in the car!

Twitter- @Jamietracing
Facebook – Jamie Thorburn Racing
Instagram – Jamiewsthorburn

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Email : Jamiewstracing@Hotmail.com
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British Championship Round 3 – Brands Hatch

British Championship Round 3 – Brands Hatch

During Friday practice 1 my suspension failed coming out of Paddock Hill bend sending me at full speed into the wall and ending our running for the day as the car was substantially damaged in the crash.
This put us on the back foot before the weekend had even began as we had no time to fine tune a set up or scrub in tyres and brakes for Saturday morning qualifying and the 3 races and giving my confidence a knock.

Qualifying;
During the opening laps of the session I was trying to find a gap in traffic to string together a fast lap. A red flag early in the session helped as it sent me towards the front of the queue in pit lane and gave me track position for when the session resumed. I managed to string 3 decent laps together after the red flag as I began to settle into my rhythm getting comfortably quicker each time, unfortunately another red flag brought us all back to pit lane where we were told the session would not resume despite the fact there was 6 minutes remaining. This was bad for me as I had only strung together a lap good enough for 10th at this point in the session as the times were so close, 0.3’s covered from 4th to 10th, and knew there was plenty places I could improve.  

Race 1;
Brands Hatch is notorious for being hard to pass but I went into the race confident I could make my way forward. During the race I moved up from 10th to 8th and set lap times consistently quick enough for a podium whenever I got into free air. A double safety car period consumed a lot of the race which made it even harder for me to get to the front and fight for a top 5 finish which was my aim. Overall it was an encouraging race but ultimately not the result I had been hoping to get.

Race 2; 
The opening race on Sunday morning went much the same way as the previous days race had gone, I was able to climb from 8th to 6th but another lengthy safety car period at the halfway point cut my chances of moving any higher up the order. With a reverse top 8 for the final race my 6th place finish in this race gave me a good grid spot for the final race of the weekend.

Race 3;
Before the race we made some changes to the car to help the balance during the race as we had been chasing the ultimate set up since qualifying. This change made a big difference and really brought the car to life through the higher speed corners. In the beginning of the race the top 2 cars and myself broke away from the pack and battled for the win before a short safety car period closed up the whole pack again. I got a great restart and set about challenging for second position, in doing this I left myself open to attack from behind and a slight mistake meant I dropped to 4th. Similar to the start of the race the front group, this time all 4 cars, broke away from the pack and fought for the win. I crossed the line in 4th only 0.1’s off the podium.

Considering how the weekend began, to drag the car back up the order and narrowly miss out on a podium in the final race after having no practice and no time to perfect our set up was a big positive and overall a good end to the weekend.

Twitter- @Jamietracing
Facebook – Jamie Thorburn Racing
Instagram – Jamiewsthorburn
 

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Peter Windsor interview with Jamie Thorburn during the Jim Clark Weekend

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Jamie Thorburn Interview with Superfast Scots

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2018 National Championship

British Championship Round 1 – Silverstone

Qualifying:
An ever drying track made the opening 5 minutes of the session vital, initially I sat on Pole position for Race 1 and continued to improve with every lap. Being first across the line proved costly as I encountered slower traffic on the lap that mattered most. Having to overtake 3 cars on my quickest lap cost me valuable tenths and with the rain beginning to fall again my chances of a front row start were washed away. By the time the field had completed their laps I had fallen down the order to 8th and was never able to improve. This result did not reflect the true performance of the new Ray GR18 chassis and meant I had work to do in Race 1.

Race 1:
During the opening laps of the race I was able to carve my way through the field into 4th and began a race long battle with Josh Fisher for that position. We swapped positions lap after lap on the semi dry track but ultimately I had to settle for 5th across the line, the race pace I had was very strong and the higher grid position for Race 2 meant I was still in the hunt for the opening race on Sunday morning.

Race 2:
Another strong opening lap and decisive move off the back straight allowed me to climb up to 4th by the end of lap 1. The car was mega in the opening laps as I continually challenged for 3rd and pulled away with the leading group. Unfortunately the strong start was unraveled as an engine issue left me a sitting duck on all 3 straights causing me to tumble down the order to 17th. The problem cleared slightly in the closing laps and allowed me to charge back through to 11th at the flag despite still carrying a significant straight line speed disadvantage. In the closing laps I was also setting times good enough for a podium which underlines just how strong the car was despite the engine issues.

Race 3:
Starting down in 11th place made the opening laps exciting to say the least as I battled up to 5th. With a slightly sick engine making life difficult on the straights 5th was as far as I could progress, despite some late lunges in the closing laps I was never quite close enough to mount a proper challenge and finished in a train of 4 cars all within touching distance of 2nd place.

Overall it was a solid weekend, taking two top 5 finishes despite starting further back in the field is encouraging and the new Ray GR18 chassis was fantastic all weekend in both the wet and dry conditions.
Cant wait to head North up to Knockhill, Scotland for Round 2 next month.

A huge thank you to everyone at Cliff Dempsey Racing for their hard work over the weekend, and to my sponsors; Mr Neep, Hindley Circuits, JTS Construction, WST Graphic Art and Irridian Industrial Electronics for the continued support!

Twitter- @Jamietracing
Facebook – Jamie Thorburn Racing
Instagram – Jamiewsthorburn

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New Formula Ford for 2018 Season

The Border Reivers 2018 Ray GR18 Formula Ford was picked up on Monday by Cliff Dempsey Racing from the Raysport International workshop, everyone was very excited to see the new car for the first time, preseason testing will begin shortly in the build up to the first round of the National Championship at Silverstone on March 31st – 1st April.

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2018 National Formula Ford Champioship

*Thorburn returns to BRSCC National Championship with Cliff Dempsey Racing in the all new Ray GR18*

With the 2018 racing season just around the corner I am delighted to announce that I will be competing in the National Formula Ford 1600 Championship, run by the BRSCC, in a Ray Formula Ford GR18 with Cliff Dempsey Racing.

Over the 2017 season I made huge progress both on and off the circuit in the National Championship and I am delighted to have the opportunity to participate again in 2018. Last season was a learning year for me as a driver, many circuits I raced at were places I had never been before, using the experience from last years campaign I feel I am in the best place possible to challenge for more race wins as the season progresses.

To be joining Cliff Dempsey Racing in a development role for the 2018 Ray is also a dream come true, everyone in the team worked so hard last season to help me learn and progress as quickly as possible and has become part of my ‘racing family’. Joining one of the most successful Formula Ford teams ever in Britain for a second season means expectations are high but the drive for success is even higher. To also have the support from the Ray factory throughout the 2018 season as we develop the new GR18 chassis is a huge bonus. The new car will be unveiled shortly to the public and I can assure you of one thing, it looks fast!

Alongside the support from the Ray factory I have been fortunate enough to welcome back many sponsors from last season;
Mr Neep – https://www.facebook.com/mrneep.co.uk/
Hindley Circuits – https://www.hindleycircuits.co.uk
JTS Construction – http://www.jthorburn.co.uk
WST Graphic Art  – http://www.wstgraphicart.co.uk
Having these companies on board for another season is fantastic and I can’t thank them enough for the support I have received!  

The 2018 season dates are as follows;

31st March & 1st April – Silverstone National
12th & 13th May – Knockhill
2nd & 3rd June – Brands Hatch Indy
22nd & 23rd June – Kirkistown
14th & 15th July – Castle Combe
4th August – Oulton Park International
8th & 9th September – Croft
13th & 14th October – Donnington Park

Thank you for the continued support! I look forward to hopefully seeing you at a race or two this year.

Twitter- @Jamietracing
Facebook – Jamie Thorburn Racing
Instagram – Jamiewsthorburn
 

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MRTI Shootout

MRTI Shootout

The Mazda Road to Indy Shootout took place in Phoenix, Arizona on the 8th, 9th and 10th of December at the Bondurant Racing School.
The Shootout began on Friday evening as all participants and family where invited to a dinner held at the hotel as an opportunity to meet all the judges and event organisers. This was a great opportunity to make a good first impression on not only the judges but also fellow participants, the dinner was fantastic and gave us a taster on just what the judges and organisers where looking for from us as drivers both in and out of the car over the weekend.

Saturday began early with the bus leaving for the circuit at 6am, this would be the last time we were allowed to see our family until around 10:30 that evening after another dinner put on by Mazda.
I was put into group 1 alongside fellow Scot Ross Martin, Niall Murray from Ireland and Olin Galli from Brazil. Each group had 4 separate cars each with our allocated set of tires on, it was our job to ensure our tires where on the correct car for the correct session. 

Session 1 was all about learning the circuit and how the car handled, the cars we were driving where like nothing I had ever sat in, with slick tires and wings they were much faster than my Formula Ford and also much smaller which proved a massive problem as i had to abandon this session as I could not fit in the car well enough to drive. After the session it was decided that the only way i was going to fit in the car was to take the seat out completely, this meant I was sitting on the floor of the car which proved to be uncomfortable at the best of times. 

Session 2 was a large improvement as I finally was able to fit in and drive the car. Without any lap timer allowed in the car it was hard to judge how I compared towards the rest of the drivers but as the session progressed I began to feel more and more at home in the car and on this challenging circuit.

The final 20 minute session of the day was undoubtably my best session, I was now fully up to speed in the car and was feeling more confident after hearing the judges thoughts after the first two sessions of the day. We were sent out at 6 second intervals and during this 20 minute session I managed to close the gap to the car in front and then drop back to around a 4 second gap and then close back up again. Unfortunately with around 5 minutes to go in the session my car began to lack power and I had to park it in pit lane, This ended my first day on track early but I was more than happy with the progress I had made throughout the day and the judges seemed just as pleased as I was.

The Saturday night dinner was a very casual affair as we all mingled back at the hotel and discussed how amazing it was to actual be taking part in this event put on by Mazda Motorsport. After having dinner and speaking the the judges we were allowed some free time to chill out after a very hectic day at the track and also to catch up with our families to let them know how it had gone.

Day 2 of the Shootout was make or break in terms of getting into the final 5, another early start and bus ride took us to the circuit where we all got suited and booted into our race gear for the final time. It was announced just before session 1 that all the cars and groups had been mixed up. This benefitted some more than others and unfortunately cost me a chance to get into the final 5. I was now placed into group 3 and informed that the session times had been slashed down to 12 minutes instead of the original 20. Unfortunately I only managed 4 laps before having to park the car in pit lane and climb out as the car had developed a serious gearbox issue on both up shifts and down shifts.

This was the end of my weekend after being unable to show my speed again on Sunday morning due to car problems I was not selected for the final 5 Shootout. Despite not making it into the final 5 I was still proud to have gotten this far and to have been given the opportunity to compare myself against champions from all around the world and show why I was selected to represent James Beckett’s Super series Shootout.

The opportunity that Mazda, Cooper Tires and Anderson promotions gave all us young drivers that where at the shootout is incredible and something I am very thankful for, despite coming up short of the scholarship it still provides hope for me as a driver that it is still possible to progress up the ladder and reach the top.

A huge thank you is in order to everyone who has supported me this season and on route to the shootout! Its been an incredible journey and I am humbled by the amount of support I received in the weeks leading up to to the Shootout.
Its now time to work harder than ever for 2018 and bounce back stronger.

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SuperSeries Shootout

SuperSeries Shootout – Izone Driver Performance Centre

Winning a Champion of Brands round earlier in the year allowed me to qualify for James Becketts Mazda Road to Indy shootout. This shootout took place at Izone, a centre designed to test and evaluate your fitness, media skills and driving ability. I was up against 5 other formula ford drivers as we took on specific challenges designed to test our abilities both in and out of the car.

Fitness 

We spent 1 hour each in the specially designed gym at Izone testing everything from reaction time to strength and concentration levels. These challenges were designed to push us to the limit in an attempt to see who out of the 6 drivers really had the burning desire inside to pull through and come out on top. I scored top on the reaction board and more than held my own on the fitness and strength side of the challenge.

Media Skills

Up next was an informal interview which was used to learn more about our previous racing experience, ability to work in a team and also our ability to represent a brand or organisation well. I scored very highly on all three of these aspects and impressed the panel with my achievements in the sport given the small amount of time I have been competing.

Simulator Work

Finally we were put in the Izone simulator and given 16 laps in a Formula Ford around the Indianapolis Road Course and then 16 laps in a Formula 3 car around the same circuit which was designed to test our ability to adapt to a new car. I comfortably set the fastest lap in both cars and also was the most consistent driver over the 16 laps. Alongside driving we were asked questions on certain laps which were designed to test our spare mental capacity whilst trying to match our quickest time. I also scored highest on this as my lap time hardly dropped away which impressed the judges.

At the end of the tests it was announced I had won and secured my place in the Mazda Road to Indy Shootout which takes place in Phoenix Arizona on the 9-10th of December this year. I am extremely grateful to James Beckett and Mazda Motorsport for this opportunity and will be working non stop to make sure I am as prepared as possible for this shootout. 

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