It’s good to try something new now and then and that’s exactly what I did last weekend. I headed to Snetterton race circuit in Norfolk to experience one of the ten British Touring Car Championship meetings of the 2017 season. In case it isn’t already obvious who I was there as a guest of, here’s a spoiler!
Yes, I was there with Team Shredded Wheat® Racing with Duo. The much-loved, one-natural-ingredient cereal is the official sponsor of the Motorbase Performance Team.
The first thing that struck me on arrival was the huge number of families in attendance. While Formula 1 and Nascar – which, incidentally, are the only similar events with longer histories – seem to have an air of elitism, there was no such thing here. The atmosphere was relaxed and friendly.
After a quick visit to the hospitality tent, I headed to the garages. There, I met Team Shredded Wheat drivers Luke Davenport, Mat Jackson and Martin Depper. Luke was recovering from an accident in the previous round but clearly loved being back among his team.
Mat then showed me his car. To the casual observer, it resembled a normal Ford Focus – albeit with distinctive Shredded Wheat branding and a spoiler. On closer inspection, however, it became quickly apparent that it’s nothing like a standard car!
First things first, there’s a beast of a two-litre, four-cylinder turbo-charged engine. Obviously, the drivers’ safety is of paramount importance. With this in mind there are features such as a roll cage and plastic windows.
Performance is important too. For this, there’s a data logging system to help the engineers to analyse factors including wheel speed, throttle movement and brake pressure. The bodywork, meanwhile, comprises lightweight composite panels which increase down-force and reduce drag.
Listening to Mat describe all these tech specs, it was hard to believe that he was due on the track imminently. Similarly, Martin joined us and was laughing and joking.
Then it was time to head out to the circuit itself for a grid walk. Once all the cars were in situ, we were allowed to walk among them and take photos. I never imagined we would get to do this so it added to the building excitement about the first race.
Once everyone had safely left the track, it was time for the action. I watched from an area next to the garages and had an excellent view of Coram Curve to my left and Senna Straight to the right.
All the cars began revving and in moments they were off. It was really exciting watching them whizz by at such relatively close quarters and counting the positions the Team Shredded Wheat drivers were in on each lap. Mat and Martin finished 11th and 22nd respectively – both up on their grid positions.
After a quick lunch back in the hospitality tent, it was time for the second race. Once again, we had the opportunity to walk through the garage and on the track before it got underway. This time Mat came in fourth with Martin in 22nd.
With a long journey home ahead of me, I had to leave before the final race – a shame as I was having a great time. I followed it on my phone though and Mat again finished in fourth place with Martin up to 17th.
As well as enjoying the thrill of the racing, I found the atmosphere amazingly friendly. The impression I left with was of a brilliant family day out and I’m glad I was invited along.
I’ll be back soon with a competition you really won’t want to miss. Come back next week to find out more!
I’m working with Shredded Wheat in a paid relationship.