Category Archives: Racing News

VW Cup Championship round 3 at Silverstone International

Laura had been out testing the Monday before the race weekend at Silverstone to learn the International circuit and also get more feel for the car. Along with some onboard coaching from Tony Gilham and a different car, Laura’s times and confidence had improved massively throughout the day. Her lap times were looking good enough to easily be in the top ten and with the possibility of even a top 6. She left on the Monday feeling very confident and ready.
The extremely wet official test day came around, and although her session was canceled due to a oil spill, Laura was confident that the next day she would be competitive.

It was a long wait for Laura on the Saturday as she waited around until 4o’clock for qualifying. A nervous but excited Laura, left the pit lane and put into practice all that she had learnt the pervious Monday. Unfortunately something wasn’t right, the engine power was generally down and had no drive off the corners, killing her momentum down the straight. It was a near 10 seconds of the pace.

Laura came in feeling deflated and determined to find the problem. “We had found that the piston rings had broken leaving the engine with no compression, not good!”
The team fixed the engine by swapping it with another engine and Laura was able to make it out for her first race on the Sunday Morning.
Laura left the pit lane and noticed the engine was making popping and banging noises with a small power loss. “I wasn’t sure what the problem was so whilst the grid went for another green flag lap, I pulled into the pits to get the team to check over the car. The breather had come loose, and so the team re-fixed the pipe and I was then made to start in the pit lane.”

Waiting for the grid to come past and also the two at the back with a ten second penalty, Laura ended up nearly 20 second behind the pack. Thanks to the greasy circuit, she managed to catch back up and regain some positions finishing 20th out of 28.
Laura still wasn’t convinced that everything was right on the car as she could feel a dead spot in the engine power from 3rd to 4th gear. Once she explained this to the team they were sure it was because of the mapping not fitting the new engine. Unfortunately there was nothing they could do at the track and it meant that Laura would have to go out in the last race with the same issue.

Race two, the sun came out and the track was dry, Laura got a great start and made places that put her in the mix for around 14th. But before she knew it, the problem had arisen and she dropped back down the grid.
“All the places I had made within the start had drove back past me like I was standing still. It was so painful to experience as the straights are were so long, and it was difficult to hold people back. I did fight to keep 16th place and although I had drove my best to keep my position I was still disappointed as I had expected big things for that weekend but it just weren’t falling into place.”

“I would like to thank Team Hard for working so hard to change over the engines on the Saturday night, to Sticky George for whipping me up some decals quickly, and everyone else who supported me throughout the weekend.”

Laura Tillett, Racing, Volkswagen, 2015, F1, Car, Girl, Driver, Laura, Tillett, Woman

Silverstone Round 3 of the VW Cup Championship 2015

Volkswagen Cup Round 2 Rockingham

The first weekend in May Laura was back out in the VW car for her second round of the 2015 VW Cup Championship at Rockingham.

What started off a really good weekend, with a consistent drive on the Friday test day ended up with a dissopointing result.
Qualifying 17th for race one and 15th for race three on a 29 car grid wasn’t a bad result for her second qualify session in the saloon car. However a top ten was certainly on the cards as the timings were exstremly close, it meant that only 4 tenths would have taken Laura from 17th place right into the top ten.

Race one,  gave Laura a reasonable start making up four places within the first lap, unfortunately a small mistake where she was pushing hard to stop people from diving down the inside, forced her to go into the last corner a little too hot and with still not much heat in the tyres she spun off having to wait for the field to all pass before she could set off again. Laura did manage to come back through to finish 21st and with another lap, would have been in the top 19.

Race two was wet and this was Laura’s first race in the rain, “Rockingham isn’t an easy circuit to be racing in the damp conditions as the surface is really slippery at the best of times”. Her start wasn’t as good as it could have been but again Laura was making up places and had caught back up with the front group. A group of cars in front had spun off and whilst trying to avoid them, she to spun in the wet conditions. Restarting Laura was forced to pull my way back through the field yet again.

The final race was dry and Laura was beaming with confidence about this last race at Rockingham Speedway but unfortunately the car wouldn’t get off the line quick enough and Laura had ended up at the back of the grid before turn one. Again, picking her way back through the field she was overtaking where possible, however something didn’t feel right in the car as she lacked bottom end power to pull her out of the corners making it difficult to get a run up on people and overtake. Laura did finish a respectful 18th in the end but it wasn’t the result she had hoped for at the beginning of the weekend, and she left the circuit disappointed but confident and more driven than ever to get it right for the next race at Silverstone at the end of the month.
Laura would like to thank Team Hard and Tony Gillham for all their hard work and efforts throughout the weekend, “I know we didn’t get the result we had all hoped for but the team work really hard and I know that I will come very soon”.

Mean time, Laura has been back out testing karts and is looking to compete in a one off event in the KF European Championships (somewhere hot hopefully)

Until next time

Rockingham Round 2 of the VW Cup Championship 2015

Rockingham Round 2 of the VW Cup Championship 2015

VW Cup, Round 1 at Oulton Park

Oulton Park, Round 1

If it wasn’t the driving of the young Laura Tillett that caught the attention of the GT crowd throughout the weekend at Oulton park, it was most certainly her sporty black and green Golf GTI car with a the massive decal of her eyes covering the rear wing.

Laura improved each time she hit the track, knocking seconds off her time until she was putting in competitive times within the pack.
Laura was nervous before qualifying, unknown to where she would come up against her competitors. Unfortunately Laura had missed a gear causing the gear shifter between 3rd and 4th gear to brake at the crucial point of the qualifying session leaving her unable to finish the session and having to settle with 20th position on the grid of 27 drivers.

Race one started off well with Laura having a really good start off the line and making a good number of places up. This wasn’t for long though as a red flag was issued on the first lap which mean’t that the race would be stopped and all the cars would be put back to their original positions. The second start wasn’t as lucky for Laura but throughout the race she made a huge improvement in her times and confidence in the car and ended up finishing one place ahead of where she started.

Race two was another jump forward for Laura as she was now competing for a top 15 position. One mistake where Laura went to overtake the 14th placed car she locked up the rear of the car and slid to a stop, this pushed her back two places and as much as she was catching the pack up again, it wasn’t enough to retain her position, leaving her to finish 17th.

Race three and Laura was starting back in 20th position due to the problem in qualifying. A good start but with the racing being very close Laura struggled to overtake but was gradually coming through the grid making up a couple of places at a time. A really good drive and it was looking like she would be in the top ten as she caught up the front pack. Unable to find that final bit of pace before the end of the race, Laura finished a fantastic 13th place.

Laura really enjoyed her first race in the VW Cup and looks forward to her next round at Rockingham on the 2nd-3rd of May. Laura would also like to thank Team Hard for all their efforts and all of her team mates for all their help and advice.

2015 Volkswagen Cup Championship

Signed with Team Hard for the 2015 Volkswagen Cup, Laura is very excited to be back out in the car again and to be competing for a full series.
“This will be a different experience from driving the single seaters, I am very much looking forward to racing in saloons with Team Hard.”
Laura’s first test in the car will be on Monday 16th March for the media day at Silverstone and her first race will be on the 4th-6th of April at Oulton Park.

Follow Laura’s VW experience via Twitter @tillettlaura

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MRF Challenge, Final round at Chennai India

Laura’s goals were set right from the moment of landing in India for the last and final round, she was determined to finish on a high in the MRF Championship. Laura improved massively throughout but felt that her results up till now hadn’t shown her true potential in the championship.

From the moment of leaving the pit lane, Laura had improved tremendously from last year when she raced at the Chennai circuit, so much so that Laura times were looking positive for a good result.

Unable to get everything out of the qualifying, Laura qualified 10th place which wasn’t the result she had hoped for but it was still a reasonablely decent starting place for the races.
Race one, and a huge pileup on the start line caused chaos throughout the grid and with Laura’s car being one for the seven involved and rear damaged took Laura out the race.

Race two, Laura’s start was good enough for her to miss some very near accidents and race easily in the top ten. Unfortunately not long into the race, Freddie Hunt late braking down the inside of Laura t-boned the rear left of the car, elevating it up and over. Laura’s car continued to roll until the car was back upright but this had damaged all four corners and Laura was unable to finish the race. “I was lucky to walk away without a scratch. I wasn’t sure what people were thinking after this point, whether I would even go back out for races three and four. Well let’s just say, no one can stop me racing, ever!”

After the guys from MRF worked through the night to get the car back together, both Laura and car were up and ready for a shakedown early Sunday morning.
Race three, and after the team had worked so hard to get the car back on track, Laura was determined  to prove her strength by not letting this big crash shake her up.
“I had great start that put me in a great position and back on pace. It was a great confidence boost and I am sure people did not expect me to achieve this so quickly.”

Finishing 8th for race three, this meant Laura would start 8th for race four. Although she didn’t make any finishing places, her start was good which gave her the chance to keep up with the front pack and even close to overtaking the Championship winner Toby Sowery. “It was great to leave on a high for the team, and myself, especially after the weekend we’d had. I was up there on the times and had the best car race to date. Next time I will get that podium for sure!”

Laura would like to thank the MRF for another amazing championship year and a big thank you to all those responsible for getting her back out of the track for Sunday.

For any onboard or clips from the Chennai race, keep tuned to the website or the Veho website where they will be uploading a highlight video from the weekend.

Thank you to Veho for lending me some amazing equipment for Chennai.

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MRF Challenge, Bahrain 2014

Laura was already into the second round of the MRF Challenge which was held at the Bahrain circuit and supporting the WEC (World Endrance Championship).
With Bahrain being one of Laura’s favourite circuit’s to drive and the outstanding atmosphere that the WEC had brought along, Laura had already set herself a goal to achieve a higher finishing result than last years top eight.
With little practice Laura saw herself in the top ten for both of the sessions and when qualifying came around Laura easily jumped into 10th position, her best car qualifying position to date.
Race one, Laura had a great race, keeping out of trouble and making up enough places to equal her best result from last year, finishing 8th.  The second race was a little more challenging for Laura as she struggled with a faulty tyre and it dropped her back to 12th where she maintained her position throughout the race.
Different day, Laura set her sights to improve her results, so when the carnage of race three began, she knew this was going to be a tough race. With many drivers crashing and coming off Laura had managed to get a reasonable start, but when Laura saw an opening, as another driver left the door open, she pushed hard and wasn’t able to stop the car in time and caught the rear of the other driver, damaging her front left and retiring her from the race.
Starting at the back for race four, it was a go hard or go home situation and she drove consistently to have her best finishing result, 7th.

Laura would like to thank her team and the MRF for another fantastic race, which she enjoys competing in. “looking forward to hopefully getting back out in the car for Chennai in January”

8 months later, Laura drives again

For the beginning of 2014 Laura competed in the last round of the MRF Challenge, a championship that she really enjoyed competing in over the winter period.Once the last lap was completed at the Chennai Circuit, Laura could only hope that she would be back out in the car very soon after. Unfortunately she struggled to find the budget to race this year until her luck changed and she would be able to compete again in the MRF Challenge.This year the championship races will be held in Qatar (night race), Bahrain and Chennai.Excited to be out in the car again Laura couldn’t wait to get to Qatar to start racing.

A difficult but fun circuit to drive, and with Laura being out of the car for almost 8 month, it took her a little time to get back into the swing of throwing the car around. Laura improved every time she got out in the car but an incident with another driver in qualifying saw Laura only completing 3 laps and damage to the car. Able to repair the front left of the car Laura then had to start the races from the back. Four great starts and pushing to make places, it just wasn’t Laura’s weekend, with her just missing out on the top ten every time.

The fourth and final race put Laura up there with the competitive times, and a great start pushed Laura up to the top ten. Within the first lap a driver came from nowhere to try and make an impossible move on Laura, hitting the side of her car and taking her out of the position. Laura carried on and even with the competitive times, the huge Qatar Circuit made it difficult for her to catch the pack back up.

“It wasn’t the best weekend for results but the times were looking good in the end, I am more ready then ever to push for that top five result in Bahrain”. “Driving at night was a very different experience which I would love to do again”.

Laura is now preparing for the next round at Bahrain and will be pushing to achieve that top result.

“I would like to thank the MRF Challenge and JA Motorsport for what is always an amazing championship and atmosphere”.

Citroen and Benefit’s Fast and Fabulous Event

Benefit and Citroen event 2014

Benefit and Citroen Laura recently took part in the event held by Citroen cars and Benefit make-up, to promote beauty behind the wheel. Laura adds “two of my favourite things, cars and make-up, sounds like a great combination”. Laura has been determined to promote herself as a driver who is where she is on solely on talent and not because she has the female edge for marketing, but lets face it, if you got it, flaunt it! This was great for Laura to show a different side to advertising and marketing, hopefully this will create the awareness she needs to grab a sponsor over her male competitors.

“Thank you to Citroen and Benefit for such an amazing and fun day.”

Final round of the MRF Challenge in Chennai

With almost a month since her last outing in the MRF car, Laura was excited to get back out again in Chennai. With nerves and excitement Laura worked hard over the break to prepare for her last time out in the MRF championship.

The Chennai circuit proved slightly challenging due to its differences from the other tracks of the series, but with four 45min sessions Laura had ample time to learn the difficult track.

History repeating itself when Laura spent three of the four sessions chasing a gear box problem. Just as in Delhi, the box had trouble shifting up but was later fixed after the third session.
With a working box Laura could now focus on the racing and work her way back through the grid, knowing she couldn’t settle for anything out of the top ten.
Laura received a strong 13th and 9th in the first two races but a problem had been brought to her attention as she struggled to tow up to people on the straight, this was also showing a big problem off the line as the engine didn’t seem to have the gumption like the others.
With the problem out of her hands Laura pushed on and continued to learn from the experience.

Laura’s third race was looking promising as she pulled her was back through the field, unfortunately  luck didn’t last long as her fire extinguisher went off in the tub, affecting her vision. Laura saw no option but to pull into the pits and retired from the race.
Sunday approached and with Laura’s last two chances in the car, she didn’t want to waste a lap.
Receiving another promising 10th in the fourth race, Laura’s last race was now a “go hard or go home” moment.
Looking like she was going to receive another top ten finish Laura pushed a little too hard, slipping wide off the circuit into a pothole causing the rear wishbone bolt to snap, Laura pulled into the pits gutted it was over but extremely happy to have been able to race.

Laura would like to give her thanks to the MRF challenge, JA Motorsport, Mr Anand, Danny King (engineer) and all the help of her mechanics, Ginge, Milky and JJ.
She would also like to thank everyone involved in the Championship for making it an amazing series and of her sponsors that have helped throughout.

 

Third Round of the MRF

With all the racing compacted into two days, it was looking to be a full and hectic weekend. This did not effect Laura’s performance as she receieved some of her best results in the MRF Challenge.

Laura was seeing some promising times during practise but due to a difficult qualifying she was positioned 14th for race one. After a great start in the first race, Laura found herself picking off drivers and competing in the top ten to finish a well driven 10th.
Starting 10th the second race, Laura was determined to improve her results yet again. She was now consistently competing in the top ten and still pushing. Seeing a glimpse of 7th place, Laura went for a move but out broke herself trying to avoid another competitor, losing her a position. Another great drive saw Laura finishing 8th.

With two good results under her belt, Laura was confident to move further up the grid.
Unfortunately due to tyre difficulty in the third race Laura had lost rear grip causing her to spin in turn 6. The spin fuelled Laura’s determination to catch the pack up and even though she was competitive enough to make up lost ground, Laura really struggled with the car set up and wasn’t able to finish in the top ten.

For the fourth race Laura was back in 14th, and a tyre change meant her confidence was strong again. A bad start didn’t give her the advantage she was hoping for and a battle was making it difficult for her to come through. Lining up another driver for overtaking, unfortunately she wasn’t prepared for her competitor to brake early, and with the car not quite in the right position Laura hit the front left enabling her to finish the race.

All around, it was a great improvement for Laura and we look to expect some great things at the next round of the MRF Challenge.