Round 5 of the British Drift Championship was always going to be a little bit special. Not only was the round held at the historic Silverstone circuit as part of the Trax show, it was also the first leg of the Team Need For Speed European tour with Darren McNamara and Fredric Aasbo competing as guest drivers.
The weekend began with Rod, Edward Sandstrom and myself arriving at Silverstone on Saturday afternoon to watch the Silverstone paddock start the transformation into the Trax show.
Giving a great opportunity for a look behind the scenes and a look at the early arrival show cars.
… and for Rod to perform the Trainer test uninterrupted.
It was also an opportunity to meet with the Trax and BDC management.
As the afternoon progressed the BDC competitors started arriving and the BDC paddock started taking shape.
Team SATS, Team Falken. all the big guns of the BDC were there ready to battle with the guys from Formula D.
As night fell the cars were pushed back to the awnings for a few hours reprise before the rigors of competition.
Arriving on site early Sunday morning, we were unfortunately greeted with sporadic heavy rain showers mixed in with a fine mist of drizzle.
The drivers briefing provided a welcome but short lived respite from the weather.
As first practice opened the weather had not relented and the field went out onto the rain soaked Silverstone.
The track was more like a ice rink! The famous high-speed entries and massive smokey turns of Silverstone were just a memory. Tentative handbrake initiations followed by 'walking on eggshells' throttle control was the order of the day.
To quote Phil Morrison "I have 720hp but you only need 20 out there today"
Unfortunately the treacherous conditions persisted right up to qualifying.
Just as you thought rain and drizzle were relenting and the course was starting to dry. Another wave of rain came in keeping the track as slick as a greased weasel.
Nobody was exempt from the tricky conditions …
… with at least one spin recorded from every driver, it was testament to just how tricky the conditions were.
Championship leader Matt Carter had a couple of spins but eventually qualified 6th.
With a 'banker' run in the bag the gloves came off and the crazy entries began.
The great thing about having a team of Speedhunters on site is the ability to capture the same moment in time from multiple angles. Rod catches the determination in Phil Morrison's eyes as he pitches the car backwards towards the clipping point. The move didn't exactly come off as planned but the preceeding runs were good enough to be awarded highest qualifier.
Currently 2nd in the championship, Mark Luney came so close to a perfect backwards entry only to be denied at the last second, spinning and scoring a zero for the run. Mark had to make do with 7th highest qualifier.
It was of course the competition debut of the MCN Sport AE86, D-Mac piloted the car to 5th place in qualifying. Pretty respectable for a first outing.
Fredric Aasbo's final run was insanity personified. Throwing the car at what looked to be an impossible angle, he guided it towards the clipping point facing completely the wrong way. Just when everybody thought they had witnessed the impossible the greasy conditions had the last laugh, Fredric span just after the apex. But just like Phil Morrison his strong preceding runs were good enough to be second highest qualifier.
After the qualifying session the Autograph session was held in the pit garages.
As you can imagine the two guest drivers were a popular choice for autograph hunters.
As the autograph session finished, the big orange ball in the sky made a very welcome appearance and in doing so made the forecast for the main event look very promising. We will be back with the action from the top sixteen in part two.