Thursday, 5 September 2019

Round Six - Donington Park GP - 2019 Caterham 270R Championship

Round Six - Donington Park GP Circuit - 2019 Caterham 270R Championship
Round six (races 11 and 12) of the 2019 Caterham 270R championship was held at Donington Park Circuit on the GP Layout (including the melbourne loop) on the weeknd of 17th and 18th August 2019.


Testing
There is usually always two days of testing available before a Caterham race weekend, and they get sold out pretty quick at the beginning of the season, so you have to be quick to ensure you get a space on one or both days.  Luckily I managed to get onto both days for all available race weekends this year.  


There's a good reason to try and get onto both test days if you can... The weather!  I arrived on Wednesday night to sideways rain, which made setting up the awning and so on a touch 'miserable'.  The thursday was a lovely day, but I had a bit of car niggles, so the testing was mostly fun, but the Friday was an absolute washout, with puddles everywhere and the car niggle turned into something that felt more serious - a vibration from the front which I spent the entire day trying to iron out.
Friday testing was extreme wet at Donington Park GP Circuit
Friday testing was extreme wet at Donington Park GP Circuit
Race One
As the tow effect is quite strong at Donington Park - worth approx 1.5 secs per lap (if not more), I didn't really get a clean lap in with a good tow, so qualified in sixth position.

I made a reasonable start, and within two laps was in the lead, and thought myself and James Murphy were going to make a break away.  Somehow this didn't happen, I ended up getting swallowed up by the pack, missed a gear coming out of the Melbourne Loop and dropped down to 10th!

After dropping down to 10th, I clawed my way back up through the field over the remaining six or seven laps to eventually finish 5th.

My Race Onboard Video:-

Here is the Hayfisher Media Offical Caterham Cars Ltd Coverage of the race:-

Race Two
Lined up on the grid in 5th place, got a bit of wheel spin on the start of the race.  Kept my cool, picked up a couple of places, then got hung out to dry at Goddards, and dropped a couple of places... Got back to P3, then on lap 13, whilst in P4, something happened with the three in front, and I had to take avoiding action - as otherwise would've had a big crash into the back of Greg Monks (23:22) in the video.  

Luckily I didn't get beached in the gravel (or harpooned by anyone behind me), but had dropped down to P8!  I clawed two places back and eventually managed to finish in P6.

Championship Points Table
Technically this weekend was a shocker for me, but nevertheless I still scored a decent haul of points, and increased my championship lead which is surprising!

Round Seven - The Finale - Brands Hatch Indy
The finale of the 2019 Caterham 270R championship is at Brands Hatch Circuit in Kent on the 28th / 29th September.  We will be racing on the Indy layout, which tight and technical track and I seem to go well at, so am looking forward to the upcoming finale!  All being well there is a chance I can secure the championship on the Saturday, which would be a nice achievement indeed.


Feel free to come and say Hi if you're coming along to watch.

Saturday, 20 July 2019

Round Five - Spa-Francorchamps - 2019 Caterham 270R Championship

Round Five - Spa Francorchamps - 2019 Caterham 270R Championship
Round five (races nine and ten) of the 2019 Caterham 270R Championship was held at Spa-Francorchamps Circuit in Belgium on the weekend of 20th and 21st July.

TestingIt's a fair journey for me to get to Spa, and I'm sure it's equally long for others (if not further), but I wanted to get the maximum track time possible, and found there was a track evening held on the Wednesday night.  I managed to get onto the that session which was fun and Thursday was a rest day.

Friday was a 'normal' test day, which also was great fun, but I just couldn't quite get the car into some corners, and thus my ultimate lap time was never really higher than P5.  
Daniel French - Caterham 270R - Eau Rouge Corner - Spa-Francorchamps, Belgium
Daniel French - Caterham 270R - Eau Rouge Corner - Spa-Francorchamps, Belgium
Race One:-
I qualified sixth on the gird, which was my 2nd lowest qualifying position of this year, and also of my Caterham Race 'Career'.

The forecasted conditions for the race were mixed / dry, so I thought it best to be a little cautious and go with a middle tyre in case it rained, but was on a full dry suspension setup (as I think everyone else was).
Tyre choice was critical for the first race
Tyre choice was critical for the first race
The heavens opened whilst gridding up, and we had two laps under safety car conditions, then the race started under green flags - where the video starts.  I was a fair bit behind the leaders when the green flag started the race, as I think there was some confusion of others in front of me thinking it would be a standing start, but nevertheless I pushed on and made up four places.

The weather got worse, minute by minute, until nearly every corner was like a river and the car was aquaplaning everywhere.  A few people went off, and the race was eventually red-flagged with myself in 2nd place (after having an off myself at 13:31).



Due to the red flag count back rule, the race was counted back to lap 4 (rather than 5 for some reason) which meant I eventually finished 4th, but Lewis Thompson was disqualified for crashing (after I passed him, but prior to the red flag) and I inherited third.

Race Two:-
Starting from third, I got a good start and was into 2nd place by La Source corner, made an attempt to lead the race and then a 30 minute battle ensued with no less than 49 position changes!  I hope you enjoy the video as much as I enjoyed the racing!

I made a challenge on the last lap into the bus stop, but eventually finished in fourth position.  My on-board video is below:-


Live-Streamed Video:-The race was the first Caterham Race to be live-streamed to the internet, and I think the guys at Hayfisher Media done a great job, covering both the Roadsport and 270R races in real time.  The video is now available to view on YouTube here:-


Weekend Reflection
Having not put a foot on the podium this weekend, it was a pretty long drive home.  I had a chance to reflect on the weekend, and was still pleased with the result, how I drove, and most of all having been part of a race weekend at Spa!  A lifelong dream!

Cracked Wishbone Mount
I wasn't overly happy with the handling of the car, especially into Pouhon corner - the car was 'sketchy' into there to say the least...  I noticed the front wishbone mount was badly cracked, so had to get this replaced, and this put my mind to rest as to why the car felt so unsettled at Pouhon (very fast downhill left hander).  This just goes to emphasise how important it is to do your spanner checks!
Cracked Upper Wishbone Mount
Cracked Upper Wishbone Mount
Championship Points Table
Although I didn't put a foot on the podium, I managed to score the 2nd highest amount of points this weekend, and that was only one point less than Matt Sheppard, so I'm happy with how the weekend unfolded for the championship.  I'm now in the lead on the points table with 263 points, which is 3 ahead of previous championship leader Justin heap.  There's still another four races of the season, so it's all to play for!

Round Six - Donington Park
The next race is at Donington Park this coming weekend.  I'm looking forward to this as it's a track I really enjoy racing there, especially on the GP layout.

Feel free to come and say Hi if you're coming along to watch.

Thursday, 4 July 2019

Round Four - Snetterton 300 - 2019 Caterham 270R Championship

Round Four of the 2019 Motul Caterham 270R Championship
Was held at Snetterton Circuit near Norwich, Norfolk...  I'm still the current lap record holder of this track in the Caterham Academy, and although I consider this not to be a technical track, and as such not one of my favourites, I seem to usually have good pace here, and as such was feeling confident for the weekend.

Thursday testing went well, tried a few different setups, harder, softer, higher, lower and ended up settling on my 'baseline' as the car felt good as it was, and at least I'd tried the other setups to know they definitely didn't work!  

Thursday night is usually beers with the lads night, and we did just that.

Friday morning, the weather was dry, sun shining and I was in a great mood, looking forward to the day of testing... Until....... I managed to drop my Caterham onto my left index finger (the finger was on top of the axle stand) and crushed the finger!

I went straight to the circuit medical centre and Sam from Caterham took me to the A&E of Norwich and Norfolk hospital.  The finger got x-rayed, and it was confirmed I'd badly broken the intermediary phalange of my left index finger.
Broken Intermediary Phalange of my left index finger after dropping my Caterham onto the finger
Broken Intermediary Phalange of my left index finger after dropping my Caterham onto the finger
The doctors wanted to operate on the day, but that would've left me possibly in a cast / structure that I couldn't race with, so in true 'racing driver' fashion, I delayed the operation so I could at least try to race!

Qualifying
A couple of friends I know suggested to move the steering wheel further towards me, so I wouldn't stub my broken finger on the dash.  This was a great idea, but not my ideal driving position!  I fully strapped y finger up for qualifying, but it wouldn't fit in the glove, so I had to remove most of the strapping, and brave it!
Daniel French qualifying P8 with a broken finger for race one of the 2019 Caterham 270R Race at Snetterton
Daniel French qualifying P8 with a broken finger for race one of the 2019 Caterham 270R Race at Snetterton
Every gear change hurt, and particularly the slower hairpin corners hurt very much too, but I managed to slightly adjust my gear shifts and also how I rolled the car into the corners, and managed to qualify P8 on the grid, which all things considered was very good!

Race One
Lining up on the grid in P8 felt a touch 'unusual' as this was my worst qualifying grid position since I started racing Caterhams...

I got a reasonable start, and tried to make my way up the field... Miraculously by the end of lap one I was nearly in the lead!  The full onboard race video is below:-

Unbelievably, I only went and won the race!  The narrowest win of my 'racing career' - by only 0.006 of a second.  James Murphy and Matt Sheppard both raced really well, but this is by far my greatest victory of all time. 

Here is a link to the official Caterham Hayfisher Media TV Coverage:-

I will never forget the feeling of pure unfiltered joy, having achieved what was considered by many; impossible.  It just goes to show if you put your mind to it, almost anything is possible with the right attitude and desire.
Daniel French in Parc Ferme at Snetterton 300 Circuit in the first Caterham 270R race of the weekend finished - P1
Daniel French in Parc Ferme at Snetterton 300 Circuit in the first Caterham 270R race of the weekend finished - P1
The podium pic:-
l-r James Murphy (P2), ME and my finger (P1), Matt Sheppard (P3)
l-r James Murphy (P2), ME and my finger (P1), Matt Sheppard (P3)
The top eight drivers making fun of my fortune and misfortune!
Top eight drivers giving the one fingered salute!  Great cameraderie fellas!
Top eight drivers giving the one fingered salute!  Great cameraderie fellas!
After race one finished there was a paddock party (provided by Caterham), which was really good... Great evening, warm weather, having just won the race, a few beers, food and banter - brilliant stuff.

Race Two
The finishing position of race one decides your race two grid position, so I was on pole position with James Murphy P2.
Daniel French leading the pack round Corum corner at Snetterton Circuit in race two of the 2019 Caterham 270r championship.
Daniel French leading the pack round Corum corner at Snetterton Circuit in race two of the 2019 Caterham 270r championship.
I got an OK start, James Murphy got a better start, so I was down to P2 by the first corner... The race was a long battle of swapping places, tactical positioning, and defending and attacking at the right places so as not to make any mistakes - basically true, raw, fun racing!  Onboard race video below:-

I was in P1 onto the final straight, but got out-towed by Justin Heap to the finish line, which meant I finished P2 (by just 0.1 of a second).

The podium picture:-
l-r me! (P2), Justin Heap (P1), Greg Monks (P3)
l-r me! (P2), Justin Heap (P1), Greg Monks (P3)
Championship Points Table
Given that I was in A&E on the Friday morning of the race weekend, I was thinking of 'damage limitation' and top ten finishes at best, however I managed to score the most amount of points of any 270R driver this weekend - 58 out of maximum 60 (fastest laps aside), which means I've managed to claw back another three points from Justin Heap (current championship leader).  

Round Five - Spa Francorchamps
I'm currently typing this blog post whilst waiting in hospital for my finger to be pinned back together.  It's been agreed with the surgeon that he'll give me hidden pins, which allows me to race in two weeks at Spa (with suitable protection) - which is fantastic news!  Fingers crossed ☺

Wednesday, 5 June 2019

Round Three - Oulton Park - 2019 Caterham 270R Championship

Round Three of the 2019 Motul Caterham 270R Championship
Was held on the weekend of the 1st June 2019 at Oulton Park Circuit in Cheshire
.  Due to noise regulations, the weekend is compacted into one hectic day of qualifying and racing!


Qualifying
I made a fairly significant setup discovery whilst testing over the Thursday and Friday, so was feeling confident for the day ahead.  Qualifying was at 8:30 in the morning, and I think I got pole, but Matt Sheppard's time was 1.3 seconds faster than mine (as his transponder wasn't working), but the circuit is never wrong of course ☺, so we were both delighted to be on the front row!

Race One
I got a great start, then made a bit of a break away.  This gap was wiped out by a safety car 6:45 (in the video below) due to an accident between four drivers at 7:00 (all drivers ok!).
Daniel French starting the first Caterham 270R race of the weekend at Oulton Park Circuit
Daniel French starting the first Caterham 270R race of the weekend at Oulton Park Circuit
The race was restarted 7:30, and I made a great restart, and broke away from the pack again.  Got a good gap, only for my wheel to come loose 16:00 and fly off 16:46 on the penultimate lap!  See the video here below:-

Race One Onboard Video:-

Unbelievably, after my wheel flew off, it's final resting position was right on the racing line.  I was furious at myself of however this had happened, and was not going to get out of the car as I probably would've had a massive childish strop at the side of the track, so I got the car back parc ferme (whilst on three wheels), as the race was red flagged.  
P1 on three wheels??? How on earth was this possible?  Someone higher force was certainly looking out for me today!
P1 on three wheels??? How on earth was this possible?  Someone higher force was certainly looking out for me today!
Unbeknownst to me, due to the red flag count-back rules, and after some confusion I still ended up being declared the winner of the race!  After a bit of investigation, that although I torque my wheel nuts up before the race (as I always do), my torque wrench was set incorrectly!
(l-r) Matt Sheppard (p2), Daniel French a.k.a. me! (p1!), Justin Heap (p3)
(l-r) Matt Sheppard (p2), Daniel French a.k.a. me! (p1!), Justin Heap (p3).
Race Two
Starting from pole position, I was excited for the second race of the weekend, and having not crossed the finish line in first place of the previous race and still somehow winning, I wanted to put that right in this race.  
Daniel French leading the chasing pack in the second Caterham 270R race of the weekend at Oulton Park
Daniel French leading the chasing pack in the second Caterham 270R race of the weekend at Oulton Park
Race Two Onboard Video:-

Race two was a great old school battle, James Murphy (and Matt Sheppard) both drove really well with James crossing the finish line in 1st place, but received a 5 second penalty for exceeding track limits.  This meant he he was relegated to 4th place, and I inherited the win.  

Great to score a double win this weekend - I wonder how many times in racing someone has won two races in one day without crossing the finish line in 1st place on both occasions?  A very fortunate weekend, and I'm grateful for the luck and championship points that I've secured.
(l-r) Matt Sheppard (p2), Daniel French a.k.a. me! (p1!), Greg Monks (p3)
(l-r) Matt Sheppard (p2), Daniel French a.k.a. me! (p1!), Greg Monks (p3)
Here is a link to the Official Caterham 270R Hayfisher Media coverage for the race day:-

Championship Points Table
After picking up the maximum points this weekend (fastest laps aside), I've clawed my position back somewhat to a joint second place with Daniel Halstead, but this is still 13 points behind Justin Heap (due to the crash at Silverstone race 2).

Round Four - Snetterton 300
Round four of the championship is at Snetterton, a circuit which I'm not a great fan of, but seem to go well at.  There's also a paddock party on the Saturday night, so I'm looking forward to the weekend.  The qualifying and race one are on Saturday 29th June, with the second race of the weekend the day after on Sunday 30th June.

Feel free to come and say hi if you're coming to spectate.

Monday, 6 May 2019

Round Two - Croft - 2019 Caterham 270R Championship

Round Two of the 2019 Motul Caterham 270R Championship
Was held on the weekend of the 4th May 2019 at Croft Circuit in North Yorkshire.  As it's quite some distance from where I live it'd never been a circuit I was interested in testing, and as such had never been to the track.  I decided it best to book both test days before the race weekend to learn the track and get up to speed.

A quick note on life in the paddock
Having taken things probably too seriously in the Academy, 'a little' less seriously in Roadsport, and now 'much' less seriously in 270R - it's great to enjoy the experience, and you quickly get to see what the Caterham paddock is really all about... The highs and lows of motor-racing come and go as quickly as each another, but the true part of race weekends is the hanging out with like minded mates, testing, setup chat, going for beers and just generally having a good time!
Paddock life - good banter with like minded mates
Paddock life - good banter with like minded mates
Qualifying
After two days of testing I was happy with the car setup and it was onto qualifying on the Saturday just after midday.  Qualify went as good as it could - I got a great lap in early on in the session which was fast enough for pole... Considering the first time I'd ever driven round croft was only two days prior, I was delighted to get pole position, and was in the best place possible for the start of race one!

Race One
I managed to get a good start, led for the first five laps, before being out-towed by Daniel Halstead, so sat in his and Justin Heaps tow for the remainder of the race, then decided to pounce on the last lap...
Daniel Halstead and Daniel French battling for position in the 2019 Caterham 270R Race one at Croft Circuit
Daniel Halstead and Daniel French battling for position in the 2019 Caterham 270R Race one at Croft Circuit
Race One Onboard Video:-

At 29:59 (in the video above) the last lap begins... I waited patiently throughout the race and then put on some pressure; pounced when Daniel Halstead went wide on Sunny Out... I made the move into first place stick into the complex, and block Dan from coming back through, but he made a lunge into the hairpin which I had to avoid a crash by getting out of the way.  Nevertheless I was happy finishing in P2, my first podium of the year, and hopefully the start of more to come!
(l-r) Daniel French (aka me!) P2, Daniel Halstead P1, Justin Heap P3
(l-r) Daniel French (aka me!) P2, Daniel Halstead P1, Justin Heap P3
In hindsight I think I should've reported Dan's overtake on me into the Hairpin, as I was confident the room wasn't there, and I didn't brake early - looking over the footage he was off the track as well, which is leaving the track and gaining an advantage.... Anyway...  A lesson learnt, and in future I will report such an incident, as I'm confident (with team support/backing - see my note below) this would've been reported had the shoe been on the other foot.

Race Two
The grid for race two is (as always) decided by your finishing position in race one, so I started on the front row again, albeit P2 this time.  I got another great start, led for the first few corners, where Dan Halstead and Justin Heap out towed me into tower corner.  We moved around position wise for the first 18 minutes or so in the race which was good fun... then....
Daniel French leading the pack in into Clervaux Corner in the second of the 2019 Caterham 270R races at Croft Circuit
Daniel French leading the pack in into Clervaux Corner in the second of the 2019 Caterham 270R races at Croft Circuit
Race Two Onboard Video:-

At 19:29 in the video above the dreaded gearbox gremlins struck again!  I was leading the race, pulled 4th gear and it was engaged, but a box full of neutrals!!!! arrrggghhh!!!  I dropped back to 7th, and clawed my way back up the pack to finished P2... Which I'm happy with after the issue, but slightly annoyed about another missed opportunity.
(l-r) Daniel French (aka me!) P2, Daniel Halstead P1, Neil Fraser P3
(l-r) Daniel French (aka me!) P2, Daniel Halstead P1, Neil Fraser P3
Championship Points Table
So as it stands now I'm in third place; a fair few points adrift, but once the (two allowable) dropped scores are taken into account, then things look somewhat better - I'll just explain that it is the best 12 scores out of the 14 races that count towards the final championship position.  Having said that, the points shift between places is so minimal in this championship it's hard to claw points back unless other competitors make a mistake / DNF or get penalties, and I won't rely on the misfortune of others.

Team Support
Different to Academy and Roadsport - in 270R, 310R and 420R championships you are allowed to be supported by a race team, to make things 'easier' or maybe the best way to describe it would be 'less hassle' - it's known as 'team support'.  However, I decided to run as a privateer this year, which means all pre-race prep, transportation, setup, spanner checks and so on are self managed which is interesting, but it is getting tougher to compete 'single handed' against much larger teams with many years of knowledge.  I do have an ever growing 'Support Team' though, and Jon at Snappyracers took this great pic of my many supporters (well all family!!!) wearing their 'Daniel caps'! 
The Daniel 'Support Team' at it's finest.
The Daniel 'Support Team' at it's finest.
Round Three - Oulton Park
Round three of the championship is at Oulton Park - I've only tested there back in 2017, but I remember enjoying the track, so am really excited about racing there.  Oulton Park is also a strange race weekend, as it's only on the Saturday, so it will be a busy day with qualifying, Race one and Race two all done in a day!

Feel free to come and say hi if you're coming to spectate.

Tuesday, 9 April 2019

Round One - Silverstone National - 2019 Caterham 270R Championship

It's been a while since my last blog post... Work and other commitments getting in the way, so I'm a bit 'rusty' at this blogging thing...

...Nevertheless the 2019 Caterham 270R racing season started last weekend at Silverstone National Circuit.  As is often the case at Silverstone there was only one test day on the friday before, but there was a great endurance race a few weekends prior which most competitors (myself included) attended.

Qualifying
I'll keep this short and sweet - I qualified in 3rd place only half a tenth off pole, which I was happy with.

We lined up in the assembly area, and this lovely picture was taken by the Snappy Racers team:-
l-r (me) Daniel French, Tom Allen, Matt Sheppard, James Murphy, Matthew Creak
l-r (me) Daniel French, Tom Allen, Matt Sheppard, James Murphy, Matthew Creak
Onto Race One 
As always I try to make some sort of race plan which usually goes out of the window as soon as the red lights go out!  But... the plan was to get a good start, stay out of trouble, make a break away, and bag some decent points.  

It all started out well... I got into P1 and managed to get a couple of opportunities to break away, but just couldn’t quite break the tow (slipstream), and funnily enough Silverstone is classified as being in 'Towcester' which I think I'll rename to 'TowFester' as I think that's quite a good analogy, as this race weekend was a complete Tow Fest..!  
Daniel French leading the pack into Luffield Corner - 2019 Caterham 270R Motul Championship Race One
Daniel French leading the pack into Luffield Corner - 2019 Caterham 270R Motul Championship Race One

I dropped down to 10th at one point, fought my way back up to finish 4th one tenth behind the photo finish of Matt Sheppard (P1), Justin Heap (P2) and James Murphy (P3).

Race One - Onboard Footage Below:-

Race Two
Having finished race one in 4th, this decided my grid position for race two.  Like the previous day the race plan was to get a good start, stay out of trouble, and bag some decent points.  And once again in the holding area before the race, there was a nice picture taken by the snappy racers team - this time one of the MOTUL guys (the title sponsors of our championship) taking a liking to my 'named mirror'.
The Motul Sponsors (being a FRENCH company) took a liking to my mirror!
The Motul Sponsors (being a FRENCH company) took a liking to my mirror!

The race started reasonably well, I grabbed the lead on lap 2, then somehow it all went downhill from there.  I slipped down the pack to my lowest position in Caterham racing to date – 14th!  I dug deep and fought my way back up to 4th with a great tow on the final lap and an opportunity to grab a decent place on the podium - only to be collected by a crash at Brooklands corner on the very last lap dropping me down to my ‘career worst’ finish of 21st!  You can see this at 30mins and 30seconds (in the video below)  

Race Two - Onboard Footage Below:-

Link to Official Caterham 270R Hayfisher Media Coverage:-


Round One Summary:-
So on a results based summary this was a disappointing weekend.  However, my pace was good, I led both races and on a different circuit I think I would've been able to make a break away, so overall I'm pleased.  I'm not so pleased that my 2nd race of the season will be a 'drop score' which could make things a little more difficult later on in the championship.

On a 'fun factor' based summary, an absolute quality weekend, great close racing and spending time with like minded friends!

Round Two:-
Roll on round two which is at Croft Circuit on 4th and 5th May 2019.
Feel free to come and say hi if you're coming to watch.

Monday, 24 September 2018

Round Seven - Silverstone - 2018 Caterham Roadsport Championship

The Final Round of the 2018 Caterham Roadsport Championship was at Silverstone International Circuit.   I arrived on Thursday evening, got setup and ready for one day testing on the Friday before the race weekend.

Testing went well, I had my setup sorted, an awesome looking set of dry race tyres, a set of brand new tyres (in case it was going to be wet), and I was feeling confident and on top form with a view of clinching the title as it was going to go down to the last race.

As we went to the holding area for qualifying the rain started to drop, so it was a wet qualifying session.  I seem to have a good feel for the car in the wet, so managed to qualify on pole by six tenths from P2 qualifier Daniel Halstead. 

The race was going to be wet, and I went with what I thought was going to be a good setup, red front anti roll bar (medium) and full stiff on the rear (which is pretty much a dry setup). 
Race Video below:-


I started well and got a good lead, but as the track changed towards the end of the race, my setup didn't work as well, with my lead eroding lap by lap.  James Murphy put a late move on me into Vale on the very last lap, which I didn't think would stick but did, so I ended up finishing P2, with James also securing fastest lap (worth one additional point).
2018 Caterham Roadsport Race 13 podium (l-r) Me! P2, James Murphy P1, and Toby Clowes P3.
2018 Caterham Roadsport Race 13 podium (l-r) Me! P2, James Murphy P1, and Toby Clowes P3.
So onto the FINAL Race of the 2018 Caterham Roadsport Championship - race 14...  I needed to win this race, and attain fastest lap (which is worth one point) to be crowned 2018 Caterham Roadsport Champion.
Race Video below:-

I drove the wheels off the car, finishing 26.4 seconds in the lead and held the fastest lap for most of the race (without a tow), so it was great to go out with such a dominant victory.  
2018 Caterham Roadsport Race 14 podium (l-r) Oli Pratt P2, Me! P1! and Neil Frazer P3.
2018 Caterham Roadsport Race 14 podium (l-r) Oli Pratt P2, Me! P1! and Neil Frazer P3.
How did the championship unfold?
Of course there are a number of what if's - as this is motor racing... these are some key points to this championship that I think are relevant:-
  • An un-diagnosed problem with my gearbox at both races at Snetterton (third was engaged, but box was neutral) - gearbox was replaced.
  • Another gearbox problem at Brands Hatch (my fault as trying to shift to 1st rather than 3rd!) - gearbox was rebuilt
  • Penalty points could be reversed by a days marshalling
  • I incorrectly 'best guessed' the car setup for the wet Silverstone race
  • Missing out on fastest lap in the last race by 0.028 of a second (without a tow), which was worth the point I needed.
The season couldn't have been closer and congratulations to James Murphy who has driven brilliantly all year - he is crowned 2018 Caterham Roadsport Champion.  
Daniel French and James Murphy P2 and P1 (respectively) of the 2018 Caterham Roadsport Championship
Daniel French and James Murphy P2 and P1 (respectively) of the 2018 Caterham Roadsport Championship
My take away points from the season:-
  • Overcoming the gearbox "issues" that thwarted me at the start of this season
  • Understanding the car setup and how to get the most out of it
  • Knowing the difference between a good and a great tire
  • Wining the most amount of races this year, some by substantial margins
  • Scoring the most amount of overall points, which at 395 is the same as last years Roadsport Champion, Pete Walters
  • Considerable improvement in my racing throughout the year 
  • What a blast!
Daniel French - 2018 Caterham Roadsport Championship Runner Up - Silverstone
Daniel French - 2018 Caterham Roadsport Championship Runner Up - Silverstone
The car is going to be upgraded to 270R spec over the coming weeks, and I intend to fight for the 270R championship in 2019 which I'm already fired up for, so bring it on.