A self-confessed petrolhead took to the racetrack for the first time in his life last weekend – swapping computer simulation for reality.
Sleaford computer programmer Mark Reynolds made his motor racing debut in the Classic Thunder Saloons championship at Snetterton.
He was at the wheel of his modified BMW E36 3 Series, which has a 16-valve DOHC turbocharged Nissan engine under the bonnet. His car was originally built to compete in drifting competitions, which needed addressing to make it suitable for circuit racing.
Mark’s introduction to saloon car racing was something of a baptism of fire, as he was unfamiliar with the circuit, had never driven the BMW in dry conditions before, and drivers were only allowed 15 minutes practice time.
Nevertheless, he qualified third in class and 13th overall from a grid of 26 cars competing in various Classic Touring Car Racing Club championships, despite his BMW suffering from oversteer.
He and his mechanic Alexander Lebedev cured an electrical problem just in time for race one in which he retained 13th place until Mark decided to drop the pace and ensure a finish after the car started to lose fuel pressure.
He finished 14th and second in class, posting a fastest lap more than two seconds quicker than his qualifying time.
Mark started the following day’s second race in P14, eventually taking the chequered flag in 15th and second in class.
Mark said he was satisfied with his race debut: “A great weekend’s work for the team. We left the event with zero damage or contact with others for the whole weekend, which is always a great way to start your racing career.”
Mark took time out to thank his sponsors Digital Creations (race livery), TLC Autoworx (paint and bodywork), Pitstop UK Ltd Sleaford (garage facilities and workshop access) and his own employer Kylotonn Racing Games.
Mark said: “For a living I make racing games and vehicle simulation software. My job is to programme the vehicle handling and dynamics, so I have a deep interest in cars and racing but had never had the chance to race before.”
Mark also expressed thanks to his wife Lis and daughter Rebecca “who do everything else while we worked hard on the car”.