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Jul 13, 2012

ATL's Race for Charity

Milton Keynes-based Aero Tec Laboratories Ltd (ATL) organised a successful Charity kart race at Daytona Milton Keynes on Monday 9th July. ATL’s extensive customer base includes every Formula 1 and British Touring Car team, as well as most of the Le Mans 24hr field - so here was an opportunity for the teams’ often un-sung engineering ‘heroes’ to do battle on track!

The competing teams gave generously to ‘Carers Milton Keynes’, a local charity that gives outstanding support to family Carers of all ages – be they young Carers or parents of children with a physical or learning disability, or even elderly Carers.

Alongside two 90 minute endurance races for the motorsport teams, a series of time trials were also held on Daytona’s Junior circuit for 32 young Carers associated with the Carers Milton Keynes charity. Trophies were given out to the fastest drivers and to the most improved driver. In addition, several F1 teams had generously donated signed F1 caps and teamwear to give out as prizes for the young Carers taking part. For many of the children, this was their first taste of motorsport and, judging by the smiles on their faces, an enjoyable time was had by all – even those that were initially petrified by the very sight of a go-kart!

The adult kart race featured 30 teams, including many of ATL’s Formula 1 and OEM customers, Demon Tweeks, Race Tech magazine and some of ATL’s leading suppliers. 5 ATL staff teams also took part. After a 20-minute qualifying session, Richardson Racing emerged at the top of the timing sheets, and would therefore take pole position for both endurance races.

Rain clouds loomed overhead for most of Race 1, although light rain only fell for 5 minutes half way through the race. Having avoided trouble throughout the wet stage of the race, one of the ATL team drivers ran out of talent once the track had dried up again – destroying a tyre barrier and coming to a halt on the wrong side of the tyre wall! The red flags came out so that the barrier could be rebuilt – fortunately, only the driver’s pride was hurt. Rain failed to hinder Richardson Racing in any way, as they enjoyed a dominant lights-to-flag victory, having lapped the entire field. Red Bull Racing finished second and Force India came in third.

For Race 2, to quash any claims of performance disparity between the karts (the field being mainly composed of engineers, after all!) the karts were reversed from their race 1 finishing positions. From the start, Race 2 was an altogether closer affair, with the leading 7 teams all finishing on the same lap. Toro Rosso, who had flown all the way from Italy specifically for the event, put in a sterling effort to finish in third place. Force India found themselves one step higher on the podium this time around, gaining second place, while Mercedes AMG F1 achieved victory – finishing just 1.9 seconds ahead after 90 minutes of racing! In fact, the first 5 finishers all ended the race within 6 seconds of each other – positions 3, 4 and 5 being decided on the penultimate corner, with Toro Rosso coming out on top, after a very determined drive.

The event’s final finishing positions were determined by taking an aggregate of the two race results. A tie for first place meant that qualifying times had to be used determine who was victorious. The winners were Mercedes AMG F1, with Force India in second place, and local boys Red Bull Racing in third.

ATL would like to extend its gratitude to all of the teams who took part and who donated so generously to the Carers Milton Keynes charity. ATL would also like to thank the staff at Daytona Milton Keynes for hosting such a successful event – and for being so patient and understanding with the young Carers, many of whom were terrified of racing at first! The ATL F1 Karting Challenge has now been an annual fixture for more than 10 years and Daytona has put on an excellent event every time.



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