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Our motorsport sponsorship – Brands Hatch report

8th October 2014

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Design Inc sponsored rookie racer Andrew Caird had a weekend of ups and downs when he competed in one of the UK’s most popular race series at the iconic Brands Hatch circuit in Kent. In his short but eventful racing career, Andrew has quickly discovered that driver skill is only part of the equation;  both the mechanical set-up of his Mazda MX-5 race car and other drivers’ actions are big factors in how the races go.

The 43-year-old from Laleham near Staines had a frustrating weekend when he didn’t perform to the high standards he sets himself. However, after competing in three meetings of the 2014 British Racing and Sports Car Club’s MX-5 Championship, Andrew feels his racing is definitely improving. He said: “It has been going very well. I came into this year with no expectations and immediately in my first race came sixth at Silverstone. I followed it up with another top ten result at Cadwell Park in Lincolnshire. I’d already raced at Brands Hatch with the 750 Motor Club so I had some experience at this circuit which I hoped would be an advantage.”

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The Design Inc sponsored MX5

Andrew’s dramas on the 1.2mile Kent circuit started during a test session, when the car developed a problem. Andrew, who hails originally from Canada, said: “In my quest to go faster I have had great support from Will and John Chappell of Concorde Motorsport.

Steven Andrew and his team have also been unbelievable support at the circuits, taking me in and working hard to improve the performance of both the car and myself.”
Andrew added: “My employer DST Global Solutions, which provides software for financial institutions, takes a very keen interest in my racing and kindly agreed to support me for this season. My other sponsor, Design Inc is an award-winning creative agency. Not only are they local to me but the directors take a very keen interest in motorsport. Moreover they also have a lot of experience in motorsport marketing.”

The car took to the baking hot track on Saturday morning sporting a fresh paint job and Andrew said: “I arrived at Brands Hatch with new livery, new engine parts, new suspension geometry, new stickers.”

“Between testing and the first practice session my focus was on the engine. It was tapping but I was assured by the guys at Concorde Motorsport that it would go away once it had bedded in. Sure enough the car was soon sweet. I had to put my trust in those men who had been racing a long time and had the experience.” Andrew, who used to be a semiprofessional cyclist, challenged himself to complete a qualifying lap in less than one minute, against his fastest rivals who were clocking up times of 58 and 59 seconds.

After double checking all the car’s settings he still felt something was amiss as the one-minute barrier continued to elude him. He qualified 16th in his group and said in disappointment: “I knew there was something wrong with the car but I couldn’t put my finger on it. On closer inspection we discovered one of the shock absorbers had failed so we replaced it and also changed the tyres which were struggling in the heat.”

After the first of the two 20-minute championship races on Sunday, Andrew recalled how it didn’t quite go to plan: “The car handled great. I had a brilliant start, worked my way up to sixth by lap 12 and was very happy with what I was doing. It was all very close racing. I was pretty confident I’d be on for a trophy but unfortunately I got taken out at high speed at Paddock Hill Bend by someone who was driving a bit over zealously shall we say.”

“A racing incident perhaps but the impact sent me careering through the gravel and when I came back onto the track I’d picked up a massive vibration which got worse as the race went on. I got caught by a couple of other guys and finished 14th, not a great result. It was a bit surreal going through Paddock Hill Bend lap after lap seeing my bumper in the gravel with my sponsors’ logos up in the air! At least anyone standing there could see the Design Inc logo staring up at them!”

Between races the bumper was reapplied, the car’s mystery vibration disappeared after the wheels were rebalanced.

In the second race he rose through the ranks from 16th to 8th by carrying more speed through the corners than previously but had his progress checked by others. He had another clash with the same driver, lost momentum and later missed a gear shift during a battle – which all contributed to his eventual 11th place. Andrew said: “All in all I was very happy with Race 2, the car was behaving well and it was close action. It does say something for the whole race series when just fractions of second separate cars as they cross the finish line.” As an added bonus the organisers arranged an extra non-championship race for the 44 Mazda drivers on the Saturday evening, which Andrew enjoyed: “The fun race was brilliant and I finished 14th. I have since looked at the in-car video footage and I cannot believe how close the racing was, it was fabulous.”

Summing up his weekend, a philosophical Andrew said: “I am frustrated with myself for causing one of the suspension problems, and then being taken off quite upset me although I was glad to see that driver was later excluded from the results for his actions – because it’s all about safety really. Race 2 and the bonus race were such close competition that it was fantastic. It’s my rookie season so I know I’m going to have ups and downs, it’s not always going to work out for me but I’ll get there.”

In car cam race video

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