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James Reilly c1 409 Donington Park 10072022

My third outing in the Silverlake C1 Endurance Series took place at Donington Park on Sunday, 10th July 2022.

The UK was experiencing a heatwave and during the weekend, most of the time spent out of the car was spent just trying to keep cool and out of the sun.

Qualifying was frantic and it was difficult to get a clean lap in.  My 1:42 was only good enough for 40th place on the grid of 50 – at least ten places lower than I’d been hoping for. As I’ve done most of my driver development work at Donington this year, I know where I need to place the car on the circuit to maximise the lap time.

With the race start scheduled for 4pm, sitting in the car in the assembly area felt like being strapped into a microwave. I was eager to get moving and forget about the unforgiving temperature which must have been 50+ degrees by then.

I focused on getting a good start for the race; unfortunately the car ahead of me had left a significant gap to the car in front of them on the rolling lap, meaning that as the lights went out we were already out of position. The next few laps were spent carving my way through the field, gaining as many places as possible.

A couple of early safety cars disturbed my groove, bringing me back into the dreaded microwave until finally the lights went out and we were back racing. 

Then I was given something to push for – the pit board read 409: P27 -4.3 

I was making my way through the pack at a rate of knots, and each lap it became P25… P21… P19… P17.

I had made up 23 positions since the start and was still catching the drivers ahead.

The heat really started to get to me though – “I’m coming in, I can’t take this anymore” – but each lap I would see that pit board and push to keep going, screaming out loud to keep myself from fainting behind the wheel. 

Finally, 409 – IN on the pit board signalling it was time to hand over to my co-driver Will Hendrix. As I pitted, I practically fell out of the car.

Job done.

James Reilly c1 assembly Donington Park 10072022

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