First race for the Semi-Lightweight E-Type!
Almost 4 years after first arriving at SNG Barratt, the Semi Lightweight E-Type finally took to the track for the Donnington Historic Festival over the weekend – competing in the Jaguar Classic Challenge. The build-up to the race weekend posed many challenges for our partners Tom Barclay Racing, who did an amazing job preparing the car and spent many long nights getting the car ready to race. The event followed a traditional qualifying/race format with the former consisting of 30 minutes track time at 9am followed by a 1 hour race at midday. Our car was to run in the second class of entrants – behind the full lightweight spec cars that have wide angle heads and a few other mods (giving them 50 or 60 more horsepower and possibly less weight).
The driving over the weekend was shared between Julian Barratt and Tom Barclay and it was Tom who took to the track first in qualifying – with the aim of ensuring the car was running OK before handing over to Julian for the final 15 mins of running. However, when Tom returned to the pitlane, he revealed that the top of the gearstick had broken off – leaving only a short stump sticking out of the tunnel for Julian to operate the gears! Despite this and and many years out of the cockpit, they managed to get around and set a time good enough for 9th on the grid overall and 1st in the car class.
The gearstick dramas of qualifying meant that the buildup to the race itself was somewhat frantic as a makeshift replacement was made. Our car was the source of much interest amongst spectators in the paddock as it was touch-and-go as to whether we would be on the grid at all. With minutes to spare, the slightly shorter-than-original gearstick was fitted along with much tape around the tunnel and we were going racing. The race itself was a slightly fraught affair with Julian driving the first session that included some overtaking, some trips through the gravel and running as high as a lofty 4th overall at one stage – right amongst some of the much faster full lightweight cars.
A safety car period around the 30-minute mark was the opportunity to change driver and Tom took the wheel to finish off the race. His session also included some tight battles and a spin before eventually bringing the car home in one piece for 7th place overall – 1st in our class. Overall, a good first outing in the E-type and we have certainly learned more about a few parts we can work on in the future.