2013 Caterham Superlight R300 Championship Brands Hatch GP round: Ollie Taylor’s Second Race - The inside story

Despite a horrendous crash at high speed in race one with a hard impact to the left rear of the R300, Ollie Taylor’s car was repaired such that in race two he could drive from the back to what was eventually third place with his rival Terry Langley (who also started from the back) being left in seventh. Rather than the standard type of race report, this update provides the full inside story as to how this was achieved.

The Accident

In the early stages of the first race on the Saturday morning, the Ollie Taylor R300 was involved in a series of high speed accidents that involved the three DPR Motorsport cars of Taylor, Hayes and Mitchell for which Terry Langley received a race exclusion. Late Saturday afternoon the bright yellow Brook Bros sponsored R300 of Ollie Taylor appeared mortally wounded following a high speed 80mph impact with the Hayes car that had destroyed the left rear corner together with most of the rear suspension. Of greater concern was that Ollie Taylor had been referred to hospital for an MRI scan.

The DPR response

Given the extent of damage the official Caterham solution would be to remove the damaged basket and replace with a new part. For many reasons this was not a practical option to have the car ready for the next race on Sunday afternoon. In these situations the regulations allow for emergency race repairs to be carried out subject to the oversight of the scrutineer.

By late evening on the Saturday the rear suspension had been stripped and a new section of basket obtained from a damaged chassis at the DPR workshop. At 6 a.m. on the Sunday morning the car was on the repair jig of Auto Repair Services (ARS) based in Crawley. David Rowe (DPR) and Gordon Sawyer (ARS) used the bodyshop equipment to pull out the damaged part of the basket and weld in a new section where the damage was terminal. The jig was used to ensure that all suspension mounting points were accurate to +/- 1mm.

6 a.m Sunday. The Ollie Taylor car on a full repair jig at the Mercedes approved repair centre operated by Auto Repair Services, Crawley

Early Sunday morning it was confirmed that Ollie Taylor was cleared to race and work was in progress to sub-assemble the rear suspension. By 10 a.m the repaired car returned to Brands Hatch to have the rear suspension completely replaced and by mid-day the car had also been cleared as fit to race by the scrutineer. The car was then rolled on to the DPR flat floor where it was fully set up and corner weighted.

Both Ollie Taylor and his championship rival Terry Langley had to start at the back of the grid in race two. Initially it was Terry Langley that was at the front of the charge through the pack. However towards the end of the race Langley’s progress stalled and it was Ollie Taylor who crossed the line first, eventually gaining 3rd place with Terry Langley left in 7th. Despite the damage to his car, following the repair, Ollie Taylor was able to achieve consistent lap times equal to the fastest on the track.

Our thanks go to Gordon Sawyer of Auto Repair Services, Crawley. Without his help it would not have been possible to get Ollie Taylor’s car back on track in a state that could achieve a podium place result ahead of Terry Langley and so strengthen Ollie Taylor’s lead in the championship.