The fifth round of Norwegian GT was held at Vaalerbanen beginning of August. This is sort of like my home track in the championship and I really like it there. It was the second time the championship visited Vaalerbanen this season, so naturally I was eager to see how much I would be able to cut off my laptimes coming back.
As always when I am racing (knock on wood) the sun was up and conditions mint. We’re constantly working to improve the car and had a few new things we wanted to put to test. Unfortunately we arrived late Friday and just got a few minutes shake down in free practice, luckily enough to know everything was okay!
For Saturday morning qualifying we had some new tyres, supposedly softer, to see if we could find some extra tenths around the small track. It turned out the tyres didn’t suit the car, or maybe the driver, so quali time was rather disappointing. We had an okay race 1, coming from P4 and ending P3, but I wasn’t too happy with my driving.
As I am writing this, I am actually on a plane on my way to race at Circuit Paul Ricard in the Nissan GT-R Nismo GT3
Sunday we had two races, and being back on our usual rubber I was confident we could improve our performance. Race 2 had a good start, and I got into a very good fight with a Camaro – a fight I got the upper hand with once my tyres were up to temperature. Another P3 and far more happy with everything! When we got to Parc Ferme smoke was coming out of my right front wheel and since I am used to my brakes getting very, very hot I suspected some burning brake dust. It was quickly resolved and no damage done. Race 3 I ended up racing in a vacuum after avoiding some complications in the first corners and therefore not being able to catch the rest. P4 was the end result.
Two podiums and some new experience gained during what turned out to be a very good weekend for us. I am currently third in the Norwegian GT championship and it looks like a podium is well within reach! It is two more race weekends left, but I will only be able to do one of them. Why? I’ve got great news.
As I am writing this, I am actually on a plane on my way to Marseille, France to race at Circuit Paul Ricard! And not in any car, but in the Nissan GT-R Nismo GT3! Probably every day since I tested in the Nismo at Portimao in January this year I have dreamt about getting to race one. And when Nova Race offered me an opportunity to race the fifth round of Italian GT with them, I jumped right at it!
The race weekend is closing up now and I have free practices this Friday. Saturday is qualifying and Race 1, and Sunday is Race 2. They are both sprint races, 48 minutes with driver change, and the grid is more or less like you see in other GT series. I am sharing with Luca Magnoni, and he has gently assured me there is no pressure. Well, there sure is some self-inflicted pressure! And I am excited, honoured, eager, happy – did I mention excited? – to finally go into battle with Godzilla!
I’ll be back with every detail of the Nismo GT3 Paul Ricard experience over the weekend. Cheer me on…
(Please comment, share and contact me, one of the nicest things about this is meeting fellow nutheads! Find me on Twitter @AnnaRathe, Facebook TeamAnnaGTR and Instagram @anna_rathe)