MINI Challenge JCW Pre Knockhill Test Report

It's like quick-fire MINI Challenge racing at the moment. Because of the delay to the start of the season earlier this year, all the race weekends are being thrown at us thick and fast to try to complete the season on the right side of summer; you know, the summer we're not having! And, because pre-race weekend testing is just such a necessity, it's weekend after weekend of MINI driving at the moment; it's absolutely brilliant!

So, Knockhill; yeah, it's another one I've never actually driven, and from what everyone's been telling me, it's one of the highest commitment and most technical tracks on the UK calendar. Knockhill doesn't sound like it will be the simplest of circuits to crack. However, from what I can understand and from reading between the lines, it seems that the issue drivers face with Knockhill is confidence, not something I generally struggle with. The caveat; as long as I have a car beneath me that I trust, and from the changes we made at Oulton Park, I believe I do.

Knockhill, the reason it requires such confidence and commitment is due to its narrow circuit layout, massive elevations and rather large curbs that must be used. At Knockhill, one must be fully committed to using the curbs; the curbs at this circuit are so significant that lap on lap, they throw the car a handful of feet up into the air, and that's normal, excellent!

In classic Scottish fashion, the weather's not looking good; it's actually looking a tad unpredictable, with an average chance of rain of about 40% throughout the day. I am not overly concerned about it being wet, but I am if it's a mix of wet and dry conditions, as this is just a nightmare to work with when you're trying to learn a new circuit. However, it's vital to get the track time before next weekend, irrespective of conditions. And, as this test is in the same week as race week, whatever conditions we get tomorrow, we're likely to get on the actual race weekend.

Tomorrow's plan is to familiarise myself with Knockhill and get used to all the bumps, elevations, curbs, and blind turn-in points. Hopefully, this will have all been achieved by lunchtime, by which point I'd like to think I'll be able to start lapping at a respectable pace. Max will also be there tomorrow testing in his MINI; Max has raced at Knockhill many times before, so he is very familiar with the track; this is brilliant for me as we'll compare his front running data with mine and hopefully cut corners very quickly, literally!

As it's Scotland, we didn't fancy the 8 hour drive each way, so we've decided to fly up, which we're doing this evening. It's a lot of travelling, but it will definitely be worth it.

Bradley Gravett son of BTCC British Touring Car Champion Robb Gravett in the MINI Challenge JCW Series at Knockhill in 2021 Turning Right on Track Graves Motorsport Cooper Racing Driver LIQUI MOLY LM Performance Thinking it Better