Oulton Park Gold Cup March 717 CanAm car It has taken me nearly 15 years to realise the dream of racing Richard and Lionel Dodkin's March 717 CanAm car. And it was well worth the wait! It weighs 800 kgs, has an 8.8 litre V8 Chevy in the back with 845 bhp and 800 ftlbs of torque. Round Oulton Park? ...this was going to be...exciting! The first test session was in monsoon conditions and with loads of aquaplaning I decided I was not going to learn anything except how easy it was to go off. The second session was wet but drivable and I soon got a few somewhat tentative laps under my belt. In the afternoon came qualifying and at last it was dry and I could let it off the leash or rather the leash broke and it was like being strapped to a rocket! All went well and pole was ours by 4.1 seconds with an average speed of 99.75 mph. Race one was on Sunday afternoon and again it was wet. However we had new rear tyres which transformed the grip and I blasted off the start to a lead of about 1 min 15 seconds. With all that power and torque I was advised to leave it in 4th gear and just let the engine pull me out of the corners. It worked a treat until half way round the last lap in the Knickerbrook chicane I contrived to have a small pirouette and stalled the car!! I thought I had thrown it all away but she fired up and off we went to a win by 46 seconds with fastest lap. Note to self.....! Monday was scheduled to be dry but just as we left the pit lane it started to spit but it was not enough for concern at that point. Blasting off the start I had another nimbler car for company. I had a plan to warm up the tyres, particularly the fronts over the first 2 laps and then go for it. I was keen to try for the 100mph plus lap speed. All went well and the win, fastest lap and 100 mph plus lap average speed was ours! A quite fantastic week end with a full house of 2 poles, 2 fastest laps and 2 wins with the bonus 100mph plus lap average. Huge thanks to Richard and Lionel, the crew and above all Le Patron for putting me in the car. Also thanks to the Marshals who kept it all going despite the atrocious weather. Next stop the Zandvoort Historic Festival in the low drag light weight E Type, Ford Falcon and Chevron B8. Cant wait!!
Melindi runs Gold Track - winner of the ‘Track Day Organiser of the Year’ award 2016 is one of the UK's longest established and most respected professional track day event organisers. You can book training session and track days with Calum at www.goldtrack.co.uk/racing/track-days