In the second South-of-the-border outing in an unprecedented 2020 season, the team travelled to Oulton Park to compete for the first time at the Cheshire venue as part of the Gold Cup weekend, held on the fast and flowing International Circuit.
Saturday's cloudy but dry test sessions were far more about circuit familiarisation then testing the car setup or exploring the limits. The 'open' nature of the two half-hour sessions meant that the team's formula ford 1600 car shared the circuit with much slower and much faster machinery all at the same time. Nevertheless, Jordan made the most of the track time, running for the full extent of both session to be as prepared as possible for Monday's qualifying and race.
Taking to the circuit on another fine and sunny day for qualifying, Gronkowski lead the field out onto the track. After some initial pressure from the drivers immediately behind, he soon began to build his pace and quickly headed the timesheets. At the end of the session, the team claimed their first pole position of the 2020 season by over 1.5 seconds from the driver behind.
Of the other Scottish 'Renegade Cup' drivers to make the trip south, Neil Broome lined-up 5th on the grid, 3.2 seconds off Gronkowski's pace. Steve Barlow suffered technical issues meaning he was unable to set a time and looked forward to a fun race coming from the back of the pack.
"It's quite mind-blowing to be that far ahead.' Said Jordan. 'Obviously the majority of drivers we are up against this weekend are in the heritage formula ford class, with older machinery to ours, but even considering that, the car advantage doesn't equate to that much time. The fastest guys are in cars identical to our old '90 chassis, so we have experience of that and know how fast those 'old' cars can still be. The only other barometer we have is Neil, who like us is in contemporary equipment, and we're quite a chunk ahead of him too. So overall I think we put together a strong performance and can be very proud of ourselves - especially considering this was really the first time we've had a chance to push the car on a track which neither of us had even seen in the flesh before we arrived on Friday night."
The Gold Cup event mandated a rolling start for all races, meaning that the pressure was somewhat reduced on Gronkowski as the lights went green. A clean getaway and opening few corners allowed him to start building a gap untroubled. His relentless efforts to keep extending the lead continued for the whole 20-minte race. By the flag, the team were almost 13 seconds clear of the chasing pack, taking a comfortable win.
"That was a quiet but really fun race!' Said Jordan. 'Obviously we knew after qualifying that we had some good pace in the car so the opening lap was just about being neat and tidy to break the slipstream and after that I just tried to settle into a rhythm - really still learning about the track and the limits every lap and putting that knowledge into the memory banks for future.'
'In the second half of the race the rear end started to get a little nervy around the fast corners and when you're going 100mph+ the last thing you need is the feeling that the rear might break away, so I started leaving a little margin to avoid doing anything silly. That's definitely useful information for our setup notes though and something for us to focus on development-wise.'
"...enjoying the atmosphere and then getting to drive this incredibly challenging and rewarding circuit is very special."
'Overall, this has been a fantastic experience - to be here with dad over the three days just enjoying the atmosphere and then getting to drive this incredibly challenging and rewarding circuit is very special. A huge thank you to all of our official sponsors and #MyRaceSpace members, who make trips like this possible in these uncertain times and also to everyone involved in the Heritage Formula Ford Championship and the Gold Cup for welcoming us so warmly! Given the amazing history of the Gold Cup event itself, it also means a lot to me personally to now have a 'Gold Cup Race Winner' trophy in our collection."