One thing that doesn’t come up in testing, practice and extensive preparation for a race weekend is what to do when you end up facing the wrong way on the track on the exit of the first corner, cars flying at you head on.
This is not fun. You brace yourself and shout weird things inside your helmet. ‘Soorbaaat’, which I think translates to ‘sorry about that’, was my first attempt at an apology for causing the mayhem. It reverberated around the helmet of the driver of car number 21 (a certain M. Tisshaw) in the Radical SR1 Cup round one, race one, corner one, and indeed career race number one at Silverstone on Saturday.
Then as the spin takes on a mind of its own and the car fires backwards towards the Copse gravel trap and ultimately the barrier, words much ruder break out, and you wonder if any of the cars who darted left will collect you. One did.
The race weekend action of Autocar's SR1 Cup debut had started long before then, though. Qualifying was the first eye-opening experience of the day. Despite appearances, it’s not as simple as putting in as fast a lap as you possibly can.
It’s a mini race in its own right. The jostling begins in the assembly area where you try to get at the front to have a clear track in front of you.
In the likely event you’re one of the 14 drivers who don't manage to get that front position on track, then you have to make sure you have a clear track in front of you before you start your hot lap. Which means either going for it from the off and getting past the people ahead of you, or holding back to find some room.
Either scenario brings tyres immediately into the equation: you don’t want to push too hard on cold tyres and risk going off, but you still want to make sure the tyres are up to temperature for when you do get the space to start pushing.
You also have to keep an eye on the clock. Twenty minutes sounds plenty in the garage, equating to eight or nine timed laps around the full Silverstone Grand Prix circuit in a Radical SR1, but once you've done a couple of tours to get everything warm and had a couple more that have to be aborted due to traffic or mistakes, time soon goes.
In the SR1 Cup, your best lap in qualifying is your grid position for race one and your second best lap is your grid position for race two, so there’s even more to get done in your 20 minutes. They’re long laps too. Did I mention the pressure was on?