2014 – 2015 Scholarship winner Tom Grootens season included winning
Rookie of The Year. Congratulations Tom!
In reverse order….
PRE FINAL ROUND Hampton Downs
And here it is, the last event for my run in the scholarship car. Its a little sad that its coming to an end but i have to look at what i have taken away from the opportunity. I’m really looking forward to this last event, it’s going to be a good finale. I am able to make practice on Friday so hopefully get my head in the game early on. Car is all prepared from P & S Autamotive and should be good to go, again, no excuses. If your interested in the scholarship for next season come to Hampton downs this weekend for a chat and see what its all about.
Wish me luck
Had a great weekend at Pukekohe last weekend. Saturday was hard work. Straight into qualifying on Saturday morning is always a challenge when you miss practice on Friday. None the less we got out there and I qualified 12th. First race was a little frustrating but the car was feeling better than qualifying. Due to a spin I placed 16th. On the reverse grid I started 13th and ended up 3rd, pretty happy with the result there. I started 12th in the fast final and held that position for most of the race until a made a little mistake and dropped to 13th. Overall was a great weekend and even due to the many mistakes I think it was my best overall result for the season. Still so much to learn and improve on that’s for sure. See you at Hampton for the last event!
This will be the first and only round at Pukekohe for the season. Really looking forward to it and hoping I can have a clean weekend with no mechanical problems and no silly mistakes. Peter and Graham Ball from P & S Automotive have re-built the engine after the mechanical problems at Hampton Downs. Prior to the new year I went to Pukekohe for a practice, and just as well because I have not driven there since the new (not so new anymore) chicane was put in and I cannot attend practice on Friday. So hoping i can improve on the last few results and make this the best event yet. Wish me luck.
Hampton Downs F5000 festival
Post F5000 Festival
What a great opportunity and privilege to be a part of the F5000 festival at Hampton Downs over the weekend. Unfortunately for me the weekend was full of technical struggles. I managed to make a reasonable time during practise on Friday which gave me something to build on but come qualifying the car decided to fade away. Loaded the car up on the trailer and off to P & S Automotive where Peter Ball was available to have a look at the problem. We replaced the battery that was looking worse for wear and ran a few checks, seemed to be running fine. In the first race on Saturday morning, lap 3, the engine decided to drop compression and loose power. After some help and an inspection by Kayne Barry she was back to the workshop where Peter and Graham Ball were ready to go with another engine. The problem was a blown exhaust valve, so off came the old head and replaced it with another. After 3-4 hours it was back up and running. Sunday morning I found myself in last, 23rd on the grid for the slow final. The car felt really good and I ended up finishing in 5th place. Then the afternoon 16 lap all in race happened, and for me only another 3 laps. The car started smoking, so came into the pits and discovered a lot of oil coming out of the breather. Back to the workshop we go. On the bright side, I still had a great weekend and was a great learning experience where I’ve learnt a lot more about the BMW E30 engine, what “that’s motorsport” is all about and worked with some great people along the way. Thank you very much Peter and Graham Ball, once again, legends.
The countdown is almost up. After a long wait since the last event in Palmy, were almost back into it, to the spot of my first race. This event is going to be tough. Hampton Downs must be the most driven track for the majority of the competitors so I’m sure the confidence levels will be up. I’ve been working on a number of things in preparation for this event and am hoping to see the improvement in my results. I no longer have any stripes on my back windscreen, there’s only 3 more events to go, so there’s no excuses, have to go for it. Wish me luck!
Another awesome event down and another steep learning curve. Last minute scrutineering made for a stressful start, with a few problems that needed to be fixed. Thanks to Peter and Graham Ball from P & S Automotive dropped everything and made it happen, once again. Manfeild’s grid happens to be big enough for the whole E30 group which made for interesting racing all weekend. Qualifying was hectic with 37 cars on track and very wet. I didn’t get a very good qualifying lap due to the amount of traffic, but i think most people had the same problem. First race was also very wet. I started 18th on the grid and was able to make up a number of places to finish 11th. My lap time saw me in 9th, so for the reverse grid come Sunday morning i was on grid 36. When there are that many cars you are really a long way away from the start line. For the most part, the race went well, I tagged along with a few fast guys behind me and got pulled through a number of spots, until the last lap where unfortunately i ran out of room on the 2nd to last corner and came unstuck on the grass. Had a bit of a spin (some cheeky comments flying around about me mowing the lawns or something) but stayed off the wall and no harm done. Because of a bad result in that, i was 23rd on the grid for the final race. Made up a few places and ended up in 19th. I still feel i am improving at every event, and already can’t wait for the next meeting at Hampton in the new year.
Manfeild, pre raceNext up round 3, taking us to Manfeild, which happens to fall on the month of Movember. I am hoping to see some fine pieces of moustachery in support of changing the face of Men’s health. Click the link if you would like to sponsor me & Team Dad’s Pies. (http://nz.movember.com/mospace). Manfeild is a new venue for me so it could be interesting. I have heard good things about the track and am very excited for the weekend ahead. Regular gym sessions and studying the Manfeild circuit on paper have been the main ways of preparation for the event this weekend, hopefully it helps. Thank you Peter Ball from P & S Automotive who has once again prepared the car for the event. That’s all for now, see you in Manfeild with your Mo’s. I’ll bring the pies. TG
Taupo, post race
Well, that was a lot of fun. The weather played its part, the atmosphere was humming and the competition was tough. I feel that I’m gaining more and more confidence from every race and seem to be getting a little quicker. Saturday was a big day, I qualified 10th, in the first qualifying session for the day, first race finished 11th, and 9th in the 2nd, which also happened to be the last race of the day. The long day really identified the mental and physical requirements to be competitive. For the final race on Sunday, I found myself sitting on Pole for the ‘not as fast final’. I had a good start, broke away from the pack and held about a .5 – 1 second lead for the better part of the race. Trying to focus on what’s ahead instead of continuously looking behind. Soon enough Greg Mikkelsen tracked me down and squeezed passed, just as it started to rain. We had a really good battle, I wasn’t going to give it to him that easy, so I fought back, got side by side a few times, with a few minor knocks here and there, but wasn’t able to regain control, and Greg took the win. Was a very exciting race a great experience. All in all, another great weekend and still feel so lucky to get the opportunity.
Thanks again to Peter from P & S Automotive for the help over the weekend, and to everyone who was there to support.
Taupo Pre Race:
Still reminiscing over the first event but even more excited about the next. I think the initial nerves have somewhat disappeared, but have now been replaced, as I know what I’m in for. It will be good to get to know the Taupo track on Friday practice, was lucky enough to convince the old man to give me the day off. Going to be a great experience being involved in such a big event and looking forward to watching the supertourers. See you all there.
Hope you all had a good weekend
Icebreaker Post event:
First race/event down and what a fantastic group of people and series to be involved in. Bit of a shame about the weather but regardless it was a great time. Learnt a hell of a lot in the first race. I started 14th on the grid for race 1. After a not so good start the race was red flagged, so had another chance. I got a much better start in the re-start but soon enough was spat out the back. It all happens very quickly. I was taking a cautious approach to the first race and leaving a lot of racing room. The last thing I wanted to do was cause a scene. Race 2 went a lot better, even though it was wet. Was 5th on the grid for the reverse grid race, again had a bad start, but was able to make up a few places and come 2nd. I was lucky enough to make it into the ‘fast’ final and started 18th on the grid. Very intense race, slowly lost a few places due to my own little mistakes but was a lot of fun and some close racing. All in all a successful weekend. Thanks to Peter and Graeme Ball from P & S Automotive for helping me out all weekend, legends. Bring on Taupo.
The E30 Scholarship driver was selected on the 30th of August at Hampton Downs. Driving legends Greg Murphy and Mike Eady put the finalists through their paces and helped us select the Scholarship Driver. Well done to all applicants and thank you for being part of the day. We hope you got a lot out of the day and will join the Series and come racing!
The inaugural 2014 – 2015 BMW Race Series Scholarship Driver selected was Tom Grooten from Auckland. Congratulations!!
Tom is 25, lives on the Hibiscus coast of Auckland and is the marketing/branding ambassador for Dads Pies. Prior to hearing about the scholarship, he had just purchased his first race car – a Toyota starlet Rally car and Tom comes from a pretty experienced motorsport background. He’s got an exciting year of racing ahead of him, where he’ll learn a lot about race craft and setups.