Alex swapped his 400bhp Euro NASCAR for a 68 bhp Citroen C1 at the weekend to contest the first Rockingham 24-Hour race in the ASR Citroen C1.
A project which started 8 months earlier when Alex and his Father Ian purchased a 5 year old Citroen C1 road car and then converted it in to a fully fledged race car, ended with a top 20 finish in the car’s first race.
The C1 Racing Club introduced the race series for the 1st gen Citroen C1 cars in 2017 but in 2018 they decided to run the first 24-hour race at the Rockingham Motor Speedway in Corby.
The attraction of a 24 Hour race in the UK and especially, with identical cars attracted a record entry list including both professional and amateur drivers.
Alex Sedgwick Racing (ASR) entered car 390 and Alex headed the team of drivers made up of JCW Mini Challenge drivers Scott Jeffs & Ryan Dignan and school friend Callum Cripps.
The race weekend kicked off with qualifying on Friday evening broken into two sessions, daylight qualifying and night qualifying. All drivers had to drive three laps in both sessions to qualify for the race. Qualifying did not go as well as hoped and the team qualified in 21st place in the daylight session with a fastest time of 1:54.297. The night saw an improvement with the team setting the 18th fastest time.
Saturday’s race saw the ASR car line up on the 11th row of the grid with Alex at the wheel as the 49 cars took the rolling start. Alex would stay in the car for the next two hours and, as the first hour was completed the ASR car was in 13th place overall. Due to a safety car Alex pitted after just over two hours and handed the car over to Callum. As the other teams then undertook their first pit stops the ASR car was up to 4th place overall.
An unfortunate puncture during the night when Scott was in the car resulted in an unscheduled pit stop, which dropped the car down the leader board to 20th place. A strong fight back by Ryan saw the car move back up to 15th place and then due to some untimely safety cars, back down to 20th.
As the clock counted down towards the 16th hour and with Callum back in the car, he unfortunately out braked himself going into turn 2 and made contact with the wall damaging the RF corner of the car. He was, however, able to get the car back on the track and immediately headed for the pits were some emergency reshaping off the front wing to clear the tyre got the car back out on the track. This delay, however, dropped the car down to 25th and now the focus for all the drivers was, first to finish, but at least get back into the top twenty.
All the drivers pushed as hard as they could and hour-by-hour they slowly reduced the gap to the cars in front. As the 23rd hour approached the car was in 22nd place overall one lap behind the 21st place car and a further 27 seconds off the 20th placed car.
With two new front tyres and full tank of fuel Alex took over the car for the final run to the flag with less than 90 minutes of the race remaining. Alex had just one aim, catch as many cars in front as he could. As the laps ticked off and the clock got closer to the 24th hour he had significantly reduced the gap to the next car. Using all his skill and race craft as he crossed the line after 24 hours of racing he had caught and passed both cars in front him and crossed the line in 20th place, setting the cars fastest lap of the race on the last lap.
So a car, which 10 months previously had been driving around urban roads, had just finished a 24-hour race without missing a beat and put a huge smile on the faces of everyone involved.
And what must be a record, everyone of the Citroen C1s which started the race, finished the race!
Now, time for some changes and upgrades to the car from the lessons learnt, before the next C1 race at Snetterton and this time the podium is the target!