MINI Challenge Cooper Trophy Pre Donington Report

I hope you've enjoyed the second lockdown as much as we have... not..! Well let's be honest, it didn't feel much like the first; however, it seems to have done enough to convince the government we can all go racing again, happy days. :)

So, this round was actually scheduled for the start of November, but obviously, the second lockdown pushed it back to this coming weekend. If I am completely honest, I didn't think this round was going to go ahead, or at least this side of the new year. In fact, I am actually quite surprised the meeting has been allowed to run with Leicestershire being (I believe) a tier 3 area, I am really not understanding these new rules, but, I can't complain.

Donington + Craner Curves + December / 4 degrees - any sign of grit + The MINI Challenge should = some pretty interesting racing... I hope.

Donington, just like all the other circuits this year, I've never driven it. Although, unlike the others, Donington is one of the few circuits I have spent quite a lot of time at over the years following dad and his racing, and I am quite familiar with it and its layout. I am very excited to have the chance to drive Donington, and I am very much looking forward to this weekend.

Running a race meeting in December is not ideal, especially with the weather we expect over the weekend. The problem we and everybody else has is that if it's dry; we will struggle to get temperature into the tyres, especially the rears and if it's wet, it could be icy - although I've been ice-driving, so the latter wouldn't be too much of a problem. But, to be totally honest, I am usually very good at driving in tricky conditions; I have always been very good at finding the grip on the circuit, and I'm not frightened of the car or of what it's going to do; and, if it does go pare shaped, my car control is strong enough to recover it.

What does concern me with the conditions, is the other drivers; not necessarily hitting me, but more taking themselves out and causing red flags in testing. I need as much track time as I can get, and red flags cutting our testing session down would be a real nuisance. We have however planned for this; I've done about 150 laps around Donington on the simulator with both dad and Steve (Soper) shooting me hints and tips, and I eventually ended up going about a second faster than Stave, so I am quite happy about that.

Overall I feel confident about the weekend, and I'm hungry and ready to go. The long break since the last round at Croft has allowed me to reflect and think about what I can do differently; my conclusion is "just drive a bit faster than everyone else". But, as I always do, I will give it everything I've got and more to try and secure the result we still all very much deserve.

Bradley Gravett son of BTCC British Touring Car Champion Robb Gravett in the Cooper Trophy at Croft in 2020 Through Turn Two into Chicane Graves Motorsport Mini Challenge JCW Cooper Racing Driver LIQUI MOLY LM Performance Thinking it Better