Race 1 – Silverstone (24th-25th April 2015)
Race 1 of the 2015 Toyo Tires BMW E30 production championship took place on the Silverstone Grand Prix circuit on Friday 24th April. The GP track layout gave two groups of cars the same race start – The Production BMW’s and the Toyo Tires Racing Saloons (more powerful). There were 29 E30 BMW’s and Paul qualified 23rd out of a total grid of around 45 starters.
A great start and opening laps! The start was helped, Paul said, by some drivers not realising that the start was the start! As no green flag lap was used. Paul moved progressively up to 11th with some great overtakes. Mid race a tap from behind at Maggots corner lost several of the gained places, with an excursion off track, finishing 15th.
Race 2 on Saturday was to have the cars start in the finishing positions from race 1, putting Paul mid grid, however an unusual decision was made to use the original qualifying times – meaning a 23rd place start! The start and opening few laps went well with gains in positions in some close fought battles. Then exiting the new Loop corner (hairpin Left) a combination of the car in front changing lines and Paul having gained a faster corner exit speed (and wider line) saw a minor tap and dual spin for both cars.
Regaining the track and running up to race speed saw the engine loose power and overheat – suspected heat gasket. Overall some good positive racing – and a reasonable start in the championship
Race Results – 15th & 24th
Race 2 – Brands Hatch (16th & 17th May)
Race 2 of the 2015 Toyo Tires BMW E30 production championship took place on the Brands Hatch Indy circuit on Sunday 17th May.
There are 35 E30 BMW cars on the grid throughout the season and in a sunny qualifying period, Paul qualified 20th with a fastest lap of 59.98 seconds.
Brands Hatch is famous for its tight, hilly bends and weather conditions were perfect for the first race. By holding the car on the clutch and mistiming the green light, a poor start truly left an uphill battle for Paul in race 1, being swamped by 6 cars on the line.
But by finding the tight racing lines around the track and really attacking the famous circuit hairpin, within 2 laps he had regained 3 places. Some tight battles then ensued and Ian Francis in the number 67 car left Paul with some heart in your mouth moments before finally getting past on lap 6.
Straight, clean racing for the remainder of the race gained Paul a 19th position, valuable championship points and a fastest lap time of 1 minute flat.
The AlignMyCar team worked hard over the “lunch” break to get the car back to peak performance before, again, Paul lined up on the grid in 20th position.
This time a great pre-emptive start from the number 30 car brought Paul right into the thick of it, getting to the top of the hill and going around the hairpin with a wall of 3 cars less than a metre in front of him. A great overtake on the 3rd lap at 75mph gained Paul 2 places before losing the resulting battle back on the home straight.
Jostling for position, speed and bravery carried Paul to 18th before being finally caught by the attacking cars behind. Happy to keep the car out of the barriers and most importantly in one piece, the Team AlignMyCar race car came home with a respectful 21st position and a new fastest lap time of 59.9 seconds – testament to the hard work our engineers put in to get the car ready for the 2nd race!
Race Results – 19th & 21st
Race 3 – Snetterton (11th & 12th July)
Unusually, Mid July brought spring like weather as the Snetterton track was bombarded with April showers for Round 3 of the PMBWC championship.
With the cars creating the dry line on a very soggy track for their qualifying period, the BMW’s were forced to stay in an almost processional line for the first 10 minutes of the 15 minute session until the track was declared safe. Some might say that each driver in the class went all or nothing for the last 5 minutes and with Paul having really picked up his game from the last race back in May, things were looking good – the speed clocks polled him within the top 10! However, the track was still particularly wet and car no 31 got a bit too brave and spun right in front of Paul who then had to hit the brakes to avoid a collision. With the chance gone, Paul had to be content starting 24th.
More rain fell before the start of Race 1 and pulling off the grid, Paul was driving into a high speed white mist coming round the first few corners. A few touches on the bumper later and he managed to create himself the space to make the move down the inside. With the wet track playing up to Pauls driving skill he stayed on the tarmac, albeit with a few slips, to the end of the session (many others weren’t so lucky!) and finished the race in a respectable 21st.
With the weather being as unpredictable as ever (and 2 different tyre changes!!!) before the start of the 2nd race, Paul knew that because of his last race’s positioning, he had been promoted to the cleaner side of the track. With a better line available into those first crucial corners he managed to weave his way up the pack and really put a challenge to his competitors. Lap 6 brought a scary moment as our race car briefly went off road to avoid a serious collision with the spinning car of novice Edwin Scott who couldn’t handle the lack of grip on the slippy surface (albeit a touch on Pauls front bumper may have helped!).
Whilst picking up speed, Paul had to brake late into the last corner, trying desperately to keep his nose in front for 17th. Ultimately carrying just a little bit too much speed as he cut in front of the other car meant a venture into the grass lost the power boost he needed but still scored invaluable points, crossing the line in 18th!
Race Results – 21st & 18th
Race 4 – Brands Hatch (15th & 16th August)
Returning to Brands Hatch for the second time this season, the PBMWC championship was well prepared and practised for round 4. Opening up to the full GP circuit, Brands was set to provide drivers with a very different lap than previous, full of straights and high speed corners all of which indicated that Team AlignMyCar was in for an exciting race weekend full of overtaking and high speed wheel to wheel action.
With upgrades completed on the car, Paul was ready to venture back out onto the racing line and set some quick lap times. Saturday practise sessions came in to be useful, allowing Paul to learn the circuit and push braking points to the limit, taking a total of nearly 1.8 seconds of his original laps at the start of the weekend.
A slight misjudgement from car 88 upon entry into Druids put a bit of a dampener on the day and left the AlignMyCar BMW with slightly damaged body panels and a new side trim to find. Paul, professional as ever, was left un-phased and eager to make amends on the track.
Race day and the intimate, hilly setting of Brands immediately became home to the tension and anticipation we have come to expect from the very tight PBMWC series this season.
Paul’s morning Qualifying session was riddled with yellow flag incidents and traffic in the corners, meaning the re-creation of all Saturdays’ speed and hard work didn’t have opportunity to pay off. A 30th place start would have to do for race 1.
A poor get away, and in 36th place by the first corner, race 1 turned into very much damage limitation for the experienced Beaurain. This only escalated during a minor rear-end collision with Paul virtually stopping on the first lap during a minor traffic jam caused by spinner Ian Francis. In the clear air and keeping up the speed, Paul completed some great manoeuvres where the straight line speed of the BMW could really come into its own.
Managing to climb back up to his original 30th position, Paul took the chequered flag.
Race 2, and with a point to prove that he had the pace, Paul knew this was his last chance to use it. Managing to hold on to 30th place off the line and into the first corner, this handed track position and the inside line to the AlignMyCar BMW. In an exciting battle of exhilarating speed, Paul was finally the one putting pressure on his series rivals. Finding the speed was no longer the problem, it was space to do it! Brilliant overtakes took Paul to a weekend best of 24th position, albeit with a scary moment on the last lap braking down from over 100mph coming into the fabled Paddock Hill corner where a sideways slide in excitement nearly cost Paul a trip into the gravel trap! A brilliant drive worthy of some serious points!
Race Results – 30th & 24th
Race 5 – Donington (19th & 20th September)
Almost 30 years ago Paul first took to the circuit at Donington, racing in a classic Dolomite Sprint, and 2015 set the scene for the penultimate round of the production BMW championship 2015.
That racing experience, along with a dry qualifying session, gave Paul the best chance to score highly on the grid and take away some real points going into the final race of the season at Castle Coombe. Using the GP circuit, a rare chance for racers to experience the tricky Melbourne Hairpin, Paul recorded a time of 2 minutes flat and a 16th place start on the grid – one of his best qualifying results of the season!
The PBMW championship prides itself on fair and sporting racing, but Race 1 in the class saw over 30 penalties awarded to drivers for cutting corners, of which Paul was not one. The advantage that others were gaining was approximately a second a lap, and saw Paul fall further back throughout the race to cross the line in 18th. A steward’s review cancelled all penalties because there were too many and the final race results stood after a stern warning to the drivers that it would not be tolerated in the 2nd race of the day. Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose.
Starting from 18th, Paul had a great start and stuck in the pack in a competitive 2nd race. With a new racing line for many on the Esses that was previously being cut, some found it difficult to take and as a result no less than two gravel trap victims were claimed.
Keeping his nose out of any damage, and firmly setting solid times lap after lap Paul gained a place overall and finished in 17th. The best combined race weekend results Paul has had all season!
All eyes are to the last race meet at Castle Coombe in only a few days time where a final 16th place in the championship is a realistic target for Paul!
Race Results – 18th & 17th
Race 6 – Castle Combe (10th October)
With only 3 weeks between Donington and the last race of the season at Castle Combe, there wasn’t as much time to setup the car and get relevant practise, putting all the more pressure on the drivers at the business end of the season. With 16th place in the championship, but more importantly an undamaged car on Paul’s weekend wish list, there was very much an air of uncertainty and determination throughout the paddock before the cars had even made it off their trailers. There was the minor issue of a championship position at stake after all!
Renowned for its open, fast paced straights and high speed corners, Castle Combe is a very different type of track to all the other circuits throughout the PBMWC series. Reaching a top speed of 112mph on Dean Straight during qualifying, Paul found a ‘toe’ around the track which helped him to secure 21st place on the starting grid – a top 20 place would really do the job on the points board.
Lights out for the first race and a disappointing start for Paul, in that split second it is all or nothing and Paul learnt the meaning of “nothing”, dropping 7 positions before Folly corner. A few first lap incidents elsewhere in the pack and good manoeuvring through Quarry corner re-established Paul in a damage limiting 25th position – it may have been scrappy but this championship is anything but clean and minus a few tyre marks, the car remained unscathed and ready for action.
The second race came around in no time, starting with a massive first lap head on collision for two of the mid pack contenders, ruling them both out of this race and potentially the start of next season! Paul did well to brake late and avoid the collision. The downside to the incident left a void of space throughout the field and the race turned into a practise drive for most of the drivers rather the wheel to wheel action you would expect. Still, improving on the morning race by one position, it left Paul with 24th place, good track practise for next year and a well-deserved bottle of champagne to enjoy!
The hard work for Race 1 next season starts now. Congratulations to Paul for completing his first PBMWC season.
Race Results – 25th & 24th
Racing is fun, and we know that our team of alignment specialists love getting involved in the drama of a race weekend, but what about you?!
We are inviting all of our prestigious AlignMyCar centres who are members of the website to visit us at their local race and to talk through alignment setups with the local public to the race track. You never know, you may even get some business out of it…
- Silverstone – 24th/25th April
- Brands Hatch – 16th/17th May
- Snetterton – 11th/12th July
- Brands Hatch – 15th/16th August
- Donington – 19th/20th September
- Castle Coombe – 10th October