Haul of trophies for DTGP Team

Posted: 12/06/2019

Well done to Bromsgrove's DTGP team who finished in second place in the first Kitcar race of the season. They were also awarded Innovation and Technology trophy from Lotus themselves.

Mr Broadbent's report can be read in full below.

The DTGP Race team had a special weekend lined up last week with a factory visit, a new race track to try out and some interesting weather conditions to contend with. It was the first race of the season for the newly painted and stickered Lotus replica, which has been lovingly pieced back together by the staff and students over the last four months during the off season.

The weekend started on Friday afternoon with a visit to Classic Team Lotus in Norfolk who allowed us to look around their magnificent new building where historic and current race cars were being built, set up, prepped and rebranded for customers and race teams from around the world. The students enjoyed a magnificent tour of their facility which included F1 and race cars from well over four decades of racing. They asked intriguing questions which showed an interest in the company’s rich history. We were then allowed the honour of having our newly branded and Lotus-inspired car placed next to a T125 F1 car of similar ilk for photographs and comparison. Team Chicken may have been slightly overshadowed by the huge carbon fibre structure of the T125, but it certainly looked great with the team standing just millimetres from Classic Team Lotus’ fantastic offering. After a couple of hours of wandering, question asking and chats with engineers and staff, we loaded The Chicken back onto the trailer and took the car for its overnight stay at Lotus’ test track across the way in preparation for the racing on the Saturday.

It seems of late with all the races that we partake in, that the rain and wind is something we should be getting used to, however it was particularly bad on this day, with horizontal wind and lashings of rain battering the track in Hethel. We took our place in the pit lane, which was fortunately undercover and readied the car for practice. After a particularly fraught practice session, the car was cooled and the prepared for race one. With the car on pole position and looking fantastic, we set a pace which saw us lapping cars after only five laps. The students pushed the car well but consistent wind issues and a wheel issue forced the new batteries to fail during the last two laps which allowed the second place car to catch up and overtake, leaving us in second place across the finish line. Upon further inspection, we noticed that the rear wheel had buckled and the spokes had moved causing the car to run uneven and ultimately draining the batteries before the end.

The break was even more frenetic, especially as they had made changes to the break between races and cut it short by half an hour due to worse weather coming in. We downgraded the drive sprocket to compensate for the wind and looked at the wheel. Without the right tools for spoke truing, we had to make do with a pocket knife and the judgement of Mr Matthews to try and get it ready for race two. We removed the wheel, tyre, inner tube, rim tape, wheel covers just as they started calling for the cars to make their way to the grid, and whose name did they call first? We explained that we may have to skip the race or start from the rear of the pack but only if we could true up the wheel. After ten frustrating minutes, we took some of the wobble out of the wheel but it was still bad. We spoke with the drivers of the second race and asked their opinion, as there was always a risk that the wheel could collapse and break indefinitely. They wanted to race, so we reassembled and placed the car on the back of the grid; just in time! The flag dropped and all of the cars in front moved off but we didn’t…they had forgotten to turn the car isolator on, and after about twenty seconds of fumbling and the passing of all other cars across the start/finish line, we were off; was this a sign of things to come? Half way around the first lap, we had passed a quarter of the field and by the end of the second, lap we had regained first place and continued to power ahead. Two great pit stops ensured that we kept ahead, but again as the wheel got steadily worse, so did the strain on the batteries, which forced us to slow down on the last lap. As before, the second place car caught us up and we ended up in second place which is where we were placed when the chequered flag appeared, just 30 seconds behind first. It was a miracle that we managed to get the car out for that second race and we are so grateful that it kept going to a comfortable second place despite the wheel issues.

At the end of the event, we were also awarded the Innovation and Technology trophy from Lotus themselves and a further two second place trophies for the two races.

I would like to thank all of the team for never giving up and battling through some of the worse wind and rain we have ever driven it, they were a massive credit to Bromsgrove School: Polly D, Aggie W, Noah R, Ollie W, Morgan B, Harrison P, Freya T, Howard G, Callum W and Mikayla G. I would also like to thank a new member of the team who provided us with excellent navigation skills, a wicked sense of humour, a ukulele and high spirits throughout: Miss McCanlis, we couldn’t have done it without you.

Finally I would like to personally thank our new sponsors for the season: NS Optimum, PSW Paper and Print, Eagle Plastics, Steve at 4QD, The Arkwright Scholarship, Washford finishing’s and Mr Mullan. Our next race is on 23rd June at Castle Combe, where we will hopefully have all of the bugs worked out and regain our winning formula.

- Mr S Broadbent
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