Andrew Caird 2015 BRSCC Mazda MX-5 SuperCup
SURREY-based racing driver Andrew Caird is halfway through his inaugural year racing in the BRSCC Mazda MX-5 SuperCup, one of the most competitive and closely fought race series in the country.
It features full grids containing arguably some of the UK’s top club level drivers, including past champions from other formulas and former British Touring Car Championship race winner Paul O’Neill. The wheel-to-wheel, bumperto- bumper action is played out at Britain’s premier motorsport venues in an exciting 19-round championship. So far, a combination of technical problems and good old-fashioned bad luck have dogged Andrew’s season. As a result he is currently sitting 21st, about midpoint, in the 40-strong championship table.
A promising start to his 2015 campaign at Silverstone was scuppered when running sixth, he got caught up in an unfortunate racing incident and was forced to retire. However the pace he showed at the home of British motorsport, gave room for optimism. He said: “Getting up to sixth place showed what I was hoping for, and since then, whilst I’m no longer a racing rookie I’m still on a very steep learning curve.”
It was a driver error that cost the amiable Canadian another potential top ten finish at the following rounds, supporting the prestigious British GT championship at Rockingham. With this in mind he called upon the driver coaching talents of 2014 BRSCC SuperCup Champion Abbie Eaton and admits that her knowledge and patience has been of huge benefit. Andrew said: “I think I’m developing as a driver, especially with help from Abbie and the car’s owner mechanical knowledge. “There is a big difference between Mk1 and Mk3 and learning the car prep and maintenance is all part of becoming a better racer.” He said: “I didn’t know quite what to expect from Castle Combe last time out, it was a track that was new to me and I didn’t have any time for proper testing prior to the event due to family commitments. Even so, I had enough confidence to throw it at the corners and know it would stick but the circuit certainly had its secrets and there was one particular bend that I never quite got right.”
“I missed practice due to a combination of a technical issue with the car which delayed my start and a red flag that ended the session early. The result was that I was still learning the track during qualifying.” He continued: “If you had told me at the beginning of the season that I’d be finishing races in 16th or 17th out of 30-odd cars I’d say ‘Okay it’s a transition year, I think that’s where I should be’, but following the top ten pace I showed at Silverstone my hopes and expectations haveSteve Andrew, but I’m still lacking in my been raised a little bit.
“Having said that, I’m not upset with the results so far, I know that we have had an issue with the car – it’s been down on power since Rockingham – and we believe it’s now fixed so hopefully I should be a lot more competitive at the next round.”
With six races completed, and circuits like Snetterton, Cadwell Park, Croft and Donington to come, the 43-year-old from Laleham near Staines is aiming to get his season back on track.
Looking forward to his next outing he said: “Snetterton is another circuit that I don’t really know. I last went there on a track day about seven or eight years ago. So realistically I’m looking to finish somewhere between 10th and 15th and if I break into the top ten then that would exceed my expectations.”
He added: “By the end of the season my aim is to consistently be in the top ten or thereabouts. But to be honest, I am more concerned about my pace and continued development as a driver than I am about results.”
Last year Andrew spent his first season of motor racing competing in the BRSCC’s sister MX-5 Championship for older Mk1 cars. He got bitten by the bug but found progress in the popular one-make series frustrating when he saw a big difference in performance between supposedly equal cars. He said: “It was irritating because you would come out of a corner with equal speed and yet by the end of the straight the other guy had gained three car lengths.
“I was hoping that the SuperCup field would be as competitive and close, but driver ability would be more of a factor. I tested a Mk3 at Donington towards the end of 2014 and I really liked the way the car handled and I immediately felt comfortable in it. The extra power, weight and sticky tyres make it less forgiving. It’s a lot more sensitive to chassis adjustment too and that’s taking me some time to get to grips with.
“My old car feels agricultural in comparison, mostly due to the lack of power steering and road tyres. It’s been a big jump to move to the SuperCup but I still have my Mk1 race car and plan to compete in both race series when I can afford to.”
He added philosophically: “ I am serious about my racing but realistic. I know it will take hard work and time to progress through the rankings. And although I’ve been through a rookie year I’m still a novice, in a new car in a new series.
“The first three Supercup races have been very much a learning experience and it will take a couple more before I feel completely comfortable with the car. I’m really enjoying my racing at the moment and hope to continue for a long time to come.”
You can follow his exploits on Motors TV and on the BRSCC website at www.mx5supercup.co.uk
Plus you can also follow Andrew on twitter @andrewcaird